As a disclaimer, this entire post is written purely from the perspective of a developer. I’m not a designer, I’ve never claimed to be, I never will claim to be, and any type of design that I do is usually based around principles and foundations and guidelines that I’ve read and followed elsewhere on the web.
With that said, there’s been interesting conversations around some of the more popular design types as of late – some that are already retired, some that are still around, and some that are still beginning to emerge.
This includes trends such as Skeumorphic Design, Flat Design, and Material Design. And the reason I bring them up is because, at some point or another, we’ve seen these take their place (or beginning to take place) within the context of WordPress themes.
WordPress Theme Design
I know, some people will argue that design should be timeless. There are times that I find this to be true, but – for whatever reason – I seem to find this more true of things in the real world (or offline) than I do with things that are online.
Secondly, if there is a given popular trend that’s being set by a large technology company or that’s begin pushed by a major design firm, then odds are that it’s going to be adopted by people who follow, respect, and want to adopt said trends.
After all, it rarely hurts to listen to the experts, right?
The thing is, if you’ve been around the web long enough, then you know that these trends come and go – it’s the same thing that we see happening with clothes that we’ve worn throughout the decades and the same thing that we’ve seen with hairstyles that we’ve had.
There are going to be periods of time where we look at back at WordPress themes and think “What were we thinking?” and there are going to be times where we look at WordPress themes and think “Man, that looks really good.”
But I don’t know if there will ever be a time where we look at a WordPress theme and and claim that it has a timeless design. Sure, some have lasted a long time – I mean look at Kubrick – and some will likely persist longer than others (personally, I really like Twentyfifteen).
Though I wonder if we’re ever going to see a theme (or a suite of themes) that won’t have to be retired at some point simply because they’ve become a bit dated.
I’m especially curious on your take on this if you’re a designer.