Choosing a portfolio WordPress theme

Selecting an artist website template from WordPress is one of the most important stages in the creative process

Choosing a WordPress theme for your artist website

Now that you’ve got all the basic content for your website planned, it’s time to choose a theme. The theme is the template that will give your site its over-all look, style and structure.

There are a variety of free themes available, but I would always advise investing in a premium portfolio WordPress theme. In general they look more professional, are more customisable (meaning your site will be less generic) and offer a better user experience. And they really don’t cost much at all; you can pick up a very good theme from places like starting at $35.

Go to a list of 25 recommended WordPress themes for artist websites

Please note that if you want to follow the tutorials in Section 2: Building a Artist Website, I’ll be using the Klasik theme from to demonstrate how to build a site like

Where to start


There are so many great WordPress themes available that choosing just one can seem like an overwhelming task. What are the deciding factors? How do you know if the theme will showcase your art well? To narrow down your choice it helps to have a few criteria for the look of your site in place before you begin your search.

To start off with it’s a good idea to look at websites of other artists. Make a note of 3 or 4 sites that you think do a particularly good job so you have an idea of what you’re looking for. What is it you like about them? Make a list of the features that you would most like to emulate on your own site.

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When I was putting together a website for fiber artist Daren Redman I found the sites I looked to for inspiration and best showcased the artwork were:

    • Simple
    • Easy to navigate
    • Slick
    • No bells and whistles
    • Focused


    • Clean
    • Free from distractions
    • Consistent
    • Contemporary
    • Minimalistic



What to consider when searching for a WordPress theme

So you have a list of personal criteria from your research into other artist websites – that’s great. But there are a few other more general pointers to think about when browsing portfolio themes.


Make your art the star of the show

I know I keep harping on this, but I think it’s the number one consideration: as an artist, it’s important that the main focus of your site is your art. Therefore you don’t want a theme that will outshine your work. You don’t need complicated functionality that requires a hefty manual to implement. Keep it clean. Keep it simple. Everything about the WordPress theme you choose should support your artwork.

Do you want your own logo?

Make sure the theme you choose allows you to upload and replace the default header image with one of your own; it won’t always be necessary to do this, but it’s an advantage to have the option in case you decide you want a custom logo to strengthen your brand. When considering WordPress portfolio themes on the vendor’s website there will be a list of features; look for something that says ‘custom header’ or ‘custom logo’.

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Where do you want the navigation?

Make a decision about your navigation. The main site navigation is the menu that gives visitors options for which pages they want to visit. Do you want vertical navigation (in the sidebar) or horizontal navigation (in the header). This will effect which themes you consider.

Do you need added functionality?

What other functionality do you need? If you have social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter it makes sense to link to them. Does the theme make it easy to add attractive social media buttons to your pages? Do you have or are you intending to start a mailing list? If so you’ll need somewhere to put a sign-up form. Make sure the theme offers sidebar functionality.

Click here to see 25 of my favourite WordPress themes to use as a foundation for artist websites.



Where do I find WordPress themes?

There are numerous online companies that provide high-quality, reasonably-priced portfolio style themes for WordPress that are specifically designed for artists and creatives.

Here are the ones that I’ve previously bought themes from and can personally recommend:


Go to 25 great wordpress themes for artists

Go to Chapter 7: Planning the colours and fonts for your site >>>

<<< Go back to Chapter 5: Preparing text and images for your site

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