A website can be built in a hundred different ways. But the reason most websites look almost the same aesthetically is that of design patterns. How confusing would it be if everyone suddenly started to go crazy with design ideas on the web? Every website would be so different that we would have a hard time finding a balance between the design and content. As a result, concepts like “masonry”, “standard”, and “grid” have been born.
Most of all, these concepts are in particular very popular amongst WordPress bloggers. Because WordPress uses elements/components to display most of its content, having a choice of display types is helpful for unique purposes and situations. A listings type of a website will want to use a grid layout to make navigation easier. But a blogger who writes about food might prefer to use the standard layout because it feels familiar to the reader.
If you’re in the market for grid themes or templates, make sure to check our some of our other lists of grid-related content:
Grid themes are in particular famous amongst photographers, portfolio owners, and creative design artists. These creative people like to use the web as a means of promoting and publishing their work. Their need for simplicity and minimal design comes from the distinct emphasis that goes towards the creative work itself. As a result of this need, many grid themes rely on minimal design principles that strip away clutter or other annoying web elements. As you will see in the following roundup, designers have unique understanding and ideas about the “grid layout” and portray it in numerous unique and genuine ways.
Shapely (Most Popular)
Portum is a powerful and flexible free WordPress business website theme. Built to simplify your life, Portum lets businesses set up shop online in the blink of an eye. Coding experience is unnecessary to make the most of Portum. With the WP Customizer, building your own sections is easy and fast. Market your content to a wide global audience with Portum. Provide social proof with built-in testimonials. Bring business through the door thanks to the sleek Google Maps API integration. Add any functionality your industry needs with ample plugin compatibility. Convenient shortcodes let you deploy pricing tables for your services in a flash. Introduce flexible rate schemes with different tiers and options at your leisure. Portum can adapt to suit the needs of any niche, market or industry. Bring your business to Portum today, and start making the right impression!
Gridbox is a popular three-column grid based theme from ThemeZee. With 5,000+ active users and a stellar 4.5 out of 5 rating, this theme is perfect for bloggers and magazines. The simple grid layout works incredibly well for blogs with a direct focus on publishing content. Also, Gridbox ships with multiple grid alignment options, perfect for magazines and editorial sites. Furthermore, the simplicity of Gridbox lies in its minimal UI.
The massive footer consists of six widgetized areas, within which you can input widgets for tags, categories, archives, and relevant content. As a ThemeZee production, the Gridbox theme is naturally responsive and includes a theme customizer. All ThemeZee themes are compatible with localization (translation) and use a clean codebase with modern front-end syntax. Finally, it’s proven to work with all major browsers and includes an SEO-based structure.
Fluid Baseline Grid
DizzySoft is a group of developers who specialize in WordPress, Marketing, and Digital Success. Their Fluid Baseline Grid theme is an ideal starting point for building a grid-layout blog. The name Fluid implies a minimalistic approach towards readability. Instead of including featured images or colorful buttons, you can focus on writing the best blog posts in your niche. Fluid theme uses the best practices in typography and color alignment to further improve the readability of your blog posts.
The SG Grid is a child-theme of another popular theme known as SG Window. Due to this theme’s usage of Flexbox, you can customize the grid of your site to be based on one or multiple columns. Furthermore, you can switch off the sidebar and go full-width grid layout altogether. The header and the bottom of the SG Grid theme are fully widgetized, so you can place widget content in either location. Because it’s a theme using mostly raw design, you can improve its appearance by adding new UI/UX elements. The addition of Live Customizer includes customization options for logo images, navigation menus, fonts, and colors. It does have a mobile design.
Gridsby from Modern Themes is a remarkable grid theme for gallery-based content production. Already at more than 6,000+ users, the Gridsby caters to photographers and graphic designers who seek professionalism in their designs. You have to remember that free themes come at the expense of someone’s valuable time. Fortunately, the peeps at Modern Themes use their free themes as a means of marketing their Pro products. As a result, Gridsby feels more like a premium theme, with dynamic jQuery animations and high-quality user interface elements.
The Pinterest-style grid layout outputs your latest blog posts in a gallery-based presentation. Whenever a visitor clicks on an image, a jQuery animation opens a modal window with the post contents. As a result, the reader never has to leave the main page and can enjoy reading posts instantly. The menu of Gridsby is left-sidebar positioned and is capable of rendering extensive navigation menus, whilst keeping things separated from one another.
Firstly, the Gridalicious theme stands out with a superb and immaculate design presence. Secondly, it is maintained by Catch Themes, who are known for their precision-based theme development experience. In addition to cleanliness, this theme’s responsive design is lightning fast and automatically adjusts itself for screens of all sizes. The codebase consists of HTML5 and CSS3, which is plugged into the Live Customizer so that you can edit your website in real-time. It is translation ready, and the recommended version of WordPress is 4.5+.
One of the key features that WordPress bloggers praise about Catch Themes is the Theme Customizer. It takes only a few clicks to get your desired result, and as soon as you hit the publish button the site reflects your newly configured options. Most notably, the Gridalicious theme includes a grid featured posts slider. You can add as many featured posts as you like.
The GridBulletin theme is unlikely to win design awards anytime soon, but nonetheless is a grid theme and because of its free price tag, deserves an honorable mention. Sometimes, a theme like GridBulletin can become your “skeleton” framework upon which you add additional layers of design. Due to its simplistic nature, some of the content areas feel like they have too much text added to them. But, because everything has a grid element added to it, you can strip certain widgets away from the pages and leave only the essentials, such as the posts container.
- Mobile-friendly grid design.
- Sidebar, archive and footer uses a grid structure.
- Customizable header, background and logo.
- Includes a full-width template for pages.
- Dropdown based navigation.
Don’t let other theme designs spoil your senses. The Codium Grid might look simple, but this powerful theme is using only the best HTML and CSS features to give you a W3C compliant design. Codium Grid can easily take your photography blog to the next level. With a superb and clean layout, this is the theme to get for growing photographers. A word of advice on using WP grid themes, always reconfigure your media library by using a plugin like “Thumbnail Resizer”. It’s fairly common for WordPress grid themes to have unique dimensions for grid columns and containers, so if you experience issues with images not showing up properly you have to do an automated resize.
As we said earlier, ultimately the decision of which theme to choose is up to you personally. WordPress themes that go back a few years might not have that glimmering spark of new themes, but their code structure is so minimal that you can add new features with little effort. As for Gridster Lite, this theme exemplifies the qualities of a professional grid design from a professional design company. Theme Furnace specializes in premium theme development. And if you feel that the Gridster Lite demo feels authentic for suitable for your needs, then go ahead and purchase the pro version because you won’t regret that decision. Unique to the Gridster theme is a sticky sidebar on the left side of your site. You can insert your brand logo, add nav menus, and even throw in a couple of widgets.
Review websites are all the rage these days. It’s a lucrative business path that WP developers have made easy to make. Every product, every idea, every concept can be reviewed. And you can rest assured that people are searching for reviews all day long. The ReviewZine from IsleThemes is probably your best bet in terms of free themes. For a review website, readability and content presentation are the two most important qualities. First of all, if you write your reviews on a poorly designed layout, then you are not doing a great job at instilling trust.
Whereas if your blog posts are hard to read and use too many external widgets, it becomes hard for readers to understand your review. As a result, the ReviewZine bridges both content readability and custom product review tools to give you an extra edge over your competitors. You can also use your dearest plugins with ReviewZine, it’s compatible with Contact Form 7, SiteOrigin Builder, JetPack, WPML (for translation), and numerous Gallery Plugins.
HousePress is a top-quality grid theme which separates elements with considerable distance. In turn, your posts are separated from the sidebar and vice-versa. It feels so much easier to navigate from one part of the website to the next. The Phantom Themes developers use mostly Bootstrap to craft their beautiful WordPress themes. Even independent areas of your blog, like the comments section, are optimized for grid displays, with each comment being separated in its container. With a little bit of customization, which shouldn’t be hard with the Customizer, you can alter HousePress to connect with your long-term objectives.
This new WordPress theme is most definitely going to attract thousands of users eventually. The distraction-less design combined with a clean structure is oozing of success. So, the grid is using a three-column which doesn’t include a sidebar for the homepage or archives. Given the nature of Oncanvas, it feels like the perfect choice for personal bloggers. As you can see in the snapshot of the demo, one of the first widgets is on the homepage is about introducing yourself. In technical terms, it is a widgetized WordPress area with two widget areas. One for left side, and one for right. In this area you can insert anything you like. Be it recent posts, social media buttons, or simply copy the concept from the demo.
The blog posts stick to traditional WordPress concepts and use the content+sidebar layout. However, keep in mind that Oncanvas prefers to use full-width featured images. You can modify this, but previous experience with WordPress coding is required. Either way, once readers scroll past the featured image the rest of the content looks breahtaking. Furthermore, on mobile devices everything flows together naturally.
NovaPress uses its grid for purposes other than photography. The main intention for NovaPress is for it to be used on viral websites built with WordPress. As a new and evolving theme, it doesn’t yet provide the sophistication of sites like BuzzFeed, but it makes up for it in its minimal and clean design. As most viral websites use grid layouts, so does NovaPress. And because it’s quintessential for viral blogs to have infinite content loading, the NovaPress integrates infinite scrolling as well.
The grid display of content includes only an image and post title, which boosts overall performance by a significant margin. As for making money with NovaPress, you can include banner ads (or HTML snippets) in pre-determined content areas. Some examples are a banner ad above content, below content, but also in sidebar widget area.
Opening an online store without the right tools isn’t easy. You can try and customize a theme for your needs, but often you struggle to tie everything together. So, you need to get yourself an eCommerce optimized theme. And luckily for those of you who love grid design, you can give Abacus a shot. This grid-based theme is a WooCommerce-first product, with impeccable features and design that’s ready to deliver you sales. Abacus uses things like category widgets that you can place on the homepage and even custom banner areas for adding special promotions.
Due to the intricate nature of eCommerce sites, the homepage is typically a place to highlight your product categories and business details. So, the widget for adding category images comes in handy. But so does a Trending Products widget which can be placed as a separate component on your store’s forefront. And if you have sold some units of your products already, why not show to your potential customers what others are saying by adding a reviews widget.
We were seriously awestruck to find out how fast the Napoli theme loads! The process of loading the homepage and loading blog posts is pretty much instantaneous. ThemeZee knows how to optimize their themes for impressive results. And we are impressed indeed! The design of Napoli feels familiar, perhaps because of the traditional grid display. Napoli’s theme category is “food magazines”. We didn’t see any specific food post types in the demo, but as you know, the WordPress plugin directory is full of plugins that can add those features seamlessly. The red colors strike a chord of balance between technical elements and your blog content.
The Pro version of Napoli adds new features and plugins. For features, you get in-depth customization tools and prioritized email support. For plugins, the Pro version adds mega menu, social sharing, related posts, breadcrumbs, custom widgets bundle, and the official ThemeZee Toolkit. Because it’s free to download anyway, why don’t you take it for a spin for a few weeks or days and see how you feel about Napoli becoming your main theme overall.
Framer Lite uses such a lovely design, it absolutely feels like a premium theme! Granted, this is the Lite version of Framer, and anyone with a keen interest can upgrade to the Pro version at any given time. Would we recommend to upgrade? Most definitely! Theme Furnace builds some of the best WordPress themes in both free and premium markets. Their work is constantly featured not only on sites like ours but also editorial magazines all across the world. This lightweight beauty is perfect for a portfolio situation, whether you’re a designer, photographer, or a freelancer.
The intro slider spans across the page naturally, providing you with an opportunity to properly introduce yourself as an artist. Furthermore, with included WooCommrce support you can even generate revenue from your work. So, as you can see, the Framer theme is based on serious concepts for serious artists. The grid posts display is four columns big, and only shows the featured image for posts. (Although, once readers hover over the image a title of the post appears.) All in all, a grid portfolio website is most often going to be focusing on the art aspects, rather than text. The AJAX’ified codebase of Framer loads posts/pages asynchronously, rather than refreshing the page.
Monograph is a straight up blogging and magazine theme with modern design and equally as modern features. Category and widgets titles use focused background colors to separate each section of your blog. The grid of content is two columns wide, and the featured content grid is up to three-columns wide. Inside the blog posts, the design retains a smooth quality. As most magazine sites use some type of a news ticker widget, the ILoveWP team added an “Exclusive” widget right below the logo. The reviewers of Monograph call it clean, easy, and beautiful.
It’s quite fascinating how the grid-style themes have taken off. Traditionally the WordPress blogging systems displays posts in a list format, but a list format isn’t viable for websites with a daily schedule of posts. When you publish two, four, or ten posts per day, they can easily get lost behind walls of additional pages. Whereas a grid layout is flexible for displaying multiple columns of posts with minimal UI requirements. The Palm Beach is a free WordPress grid theme for travel websites. But, as you know, it’s never about a single niche with WordPress.
If you like Palm Beach, and you want to launch a site other than travel, then don’t be afraid to try modifying things to your liking. At the end of the day, it does have a Theme Customizer. As far as the travel theme goes, we can see that Palm Beach would be most ideal for travel websites with reviews or stories. Blog posts are full-width (no sidebar) with a full-width featured images. The combination of both makes for a great platform to tell your best travel stories.
The Phantom Lite creators call this theme as one of the fastest in its category. And the category is business websites. Generally, a theme like Phantom Lite is used for startups, agencies, and professionals who are ready to push their digital business to the next elevation. The grid functionality with Phantom Lite is used to organize components and content widgets.
As you can clearly see in the demo, each widget (like your services) is independent of its counterparts. It makes the design of Phantom Lite appear much larger, hence emphasizing the focus on everything that you decide to include in the homepage. The Pro upgrade of Phantom Lite adds even more amazing tools for editing the design, content, and widgets. In particular, the Pro upgrade adds more than twenty ways of adding a content slider.
Progeny MMXV by AudioThemes is a child-theme of the infamous Twenty Fifteen theme. (The official WordPress theme!) It’s been customized for a clean and concise grid structure, in particular for content categories. Advertised as a music theme, you can adjust Progeny not only for a music blog but any other project that’s sitting on your to-do list. However, there is a reason why Progeny is advertised as a music theme. And that reason consists of three unique features.
First, a custom post type for creating music discographies within categories. You can include cover photos, add album titles, and list tracks. Furthermore, you can add purchase links and even include lyrics of the songs. Second, it’s gigs/events system. Music is all about getting together people into the same venue for a good time. So, what would a music website be like without some sort of an events calendar? This is taken care of with Progeny’s custom gigs system as well. You can thoroughly outline event details to the smallest detail.
Third, music isn’t always just about the songs, because music videos play a big role in the music industry. So, if you want to publish a video library, with the Progeny theme it’s going to be easier than ever before. Just upload your music videos or save yourself bandwidth and upload them from sites like YouTube. It only takes a moment of your time.
Optics is an exquisite free grid theme for photographers of any level of experience. This theme defines what a photography theme needs to be like. As a result of that, with Optics you don’t need to add any written text for your photos (unless you want). Due to the gallery-based nature of this theme, all images are displayed in a lightbox modal, emphasizing only the essence of your photographs. It might not be perfect, but it’s unique and sometimes that is enough to justify a purpose of something. The Pro versions adds new features and tools for adding an eCommerce store, a custom portfolio, and featured content sliders.
Theme Horse is a WordPress theme store with a consistent provision of spectacular themes. The WP Portfolio is not an exception to their successful track record of great theme releases. WP Portfolio is a clean and fully responsive WordPress theme for grid-portfolio purposes. With specific tools included to help photographers, graphics artists and designers to make the best of sharing their work online. The homepage grid separates into four unique columns, with medium-sized photos of your creations. At the left side of the site is a sidebar placement, within which you can place links, additional details of your work, and the site logo as well.
The WP Portfolio surpasses the expectations of a free theme by providing tools for adding a store to your site and is community friendly based on a custom bbPress layout. The WP Portfolio theme’s back-end is based on the Underscores framework, which is also known as a starter theme. Underscores is easy to maintain, and you can find hundreds of tutorials from other WordPress developers who explain how to use it properly.
Grishma is a simple blog theme which happens to use a highly dynamic grid layout. ThemingPress emphasize their strategy for not using an external framework to build the Grishma theme. Instead, it is their belief that WordPress by itself is sufficient enough to structure beautiful and clean themes. As a result, Grishma is as native to WordPress as they come.
Consequently, the lack of a back-end framework hasn’t stopped ThemingPress to make Grishma full of diverse attributes. Because it’s not confined to the limiting rules of frameworks the Grishma themes feel fast and optimized. Most notably, this theme is secure and reliable as proven by in-depth peer reviews from the WordPress.org community.
Lots of “clean” theme in this roundup, aren’t there? It’s why grid themes continue to grow in popularity. Choosing a grid magazine/blogging theme over a list-style has its benefits. Most noteworthy of those benefits is the cleanliness of content display. Publishers with a high demand of content cannot afford to go crazy with blog design, and rather need to focus on adding unique elements to post types individually. That’s just one of dozens of reasons why grid themes make sense for content-first websites.
The easier it is to understand a website’s layout, the quicker is the process for finding something you enjoy. The way we see it, the CleanBlogg is targeting the professional market. CleanBlog is SEO friendly, uses Bootstrap Framework, is responsive, and by reading the documentation you can learn how easy it is to edit the style of your blog/magazine.
Photos is an attractive WP theme for bloggers specializing in photography and photo sharing. As usual, we encourage that you don’t limit yourself by thinking a theme like Photo isn’t for you. Just because the author implies photo-blogging, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t use Photos for a graphics design portfolio. With this theme comes a responsive design which renders beautifully on all devices. It’s an amazing feeling when you don’t have to spend countless hours of creating a mobile version of your blog. The Photos theme shows different image sizes within its grid layout, hence your website feels fresh and relaxing at the same time.
Sauron is a multi-purpose WordPress theme with a lot of grid elements. At this time the Sauron theme has been downloaded over 100,000 times! People in business, entertainment, and creative industries can use Sauron to construct a professional WordPress website. The theme provides Parallax effects and One-Page scrolling layouts. At its core, it remains as a grid template, so remember that when you start to wireframe your new design using Sauron’s powerful design. Furthermore, you can add an eCommerce shop with WooCommerce, create a social community with BuddyPress, and launch online forums using bbPress.
Clean Box separates the on-page layout from whatever you decide to put in the background. In case you didn’t know, that’s how the grid systems functions. You create independent grid containers within which you can place WordPress content. Then, when you display these grid containers on your website they are separate from each other. Thus, creating a user-friendly theme structure. Even the distance (margin) from one widget to the next is kept at the higher-end, hence giving your widgets a spotlight feeling. Inside posts, the main post photo is smoothly attached to the post container, which helps to portray a fluid design merge. The list of features for Clean Box is quite extensive, so it would be wise to check the official documentation. The key features that we thought were great is Featured Content Display, Custom Grid Content, Social Media Links, and Real-Time Customization.
Maker is a classical style WordPress grid theme for Designers and Photographers. The Maker portfolio theme separates the Blog of your site by giving it a separate page. As a result, you can spotlight your portfolio on the homepage using several column grid layouts. The Designers demo uses a super lightweight color and font configuration. The Photography demo, on the other hand, uses a darker layout/colors. But, once you start using the Customizer you can change everything that doesn’t fit your criteria. The documentation explains how you can upgrade Marker to the Pro version, it also includes suggestions for best plugins to use with Maker theme, and covers basics of template/menu/widget management.
Metro Pirate from ThemeIsle is nothing more than a direct replica of what we commonly call the Metro Design concept. The blog is divided into two sections, the sidebar, and the content area. In the content area, your posts are displayed as Metro-style grid boxes. You can either list your posts with or without a featured image. All depends on the website type you’re running when using a theme like Metro Pirate.
Theme4Press is bringing out the Evolve theme as two different versions, the Lite (free) and the Pro version. The free version (Lite) has 30,000+ active installs. The Pro (premium) version extends features and other components into a more creative workflow. The Evolve theme uses two separate header styles which are supported by the beautiful colors of Bootstrap 3. Evolve theme provides you with a neat Parallax slider which can be used to display multiple images per slide, including posts!
Furthermore, because Evolve uses a grid system for most pages/posts, you can speedily modify their appearance or position on the main website. More in-depth features of Evolve are functions like ‘infinite scrolling’, which allows users to scroll content without ever having to load a new page. Another interesting feature is Animate.css support, a professional CSS3 library of animated/interactive effects. With such effects, your site will not fail to attract attention.
The Evolve theme is flexible enough to support BuddyPress, bbPress, and eCommerce stores through the WooCommerce plugin. So, in essence, you can use Evolve for a simple grid website as much as you can use it for a community platform.
The motto of ThemeCot is to be as simple as possible with as little effort as necessary. As a result, their themes are popular amongst bloggers, writers, and those with admiration for simple minimalism. The Keratin theme in this regard couldn’t be any simpler than it already is. The layout of Keratin is primarily understood through three different parts. The first is the header, which includes a logo and your website links. The second and third parts are your post lists (two column grid) and a sidebar.
The only recommendation we have for using Keratin theme is to make the post lists number even. Because Keratin is using two-column grid list, an uneven number would make the UI look crappy. It’s a simple theme, but it can open doors to endless possibilities with the help of useful WordPress plugins.
tdMacro is a WordPress masonry grid theme with an entertaining and stylish design features. First and foremost, the tdMacro is meant to be used for sites that don’t want to be dealing with an extra page load. Instead, your readers can “load more” posts by clicking a button below the currently set limit. Furthermore, the navigation feels smooth and when readers go inside a post to read it, the quality of your overall theme doesn’t dissipate in the clouds.
Rather, the design is of tdMacro is so neatly tied together it is perfect for blogs with small to medium sized publishing schedule. And who can forget about the footer, which consists of four columns and limitless possibilities of putting content inside that part of your site. As a result of being a grid-style theme, the backgorund color of your site beautifully reflects the individual elements like sidebars and content areas.
You probably took note of the fact that many of the free grid themes in this roundup are somewhat focused on content. At least in some form. But, Electa is a more eclectic theme. It’s an elegant combination of elements that fit perfectly for personal portfolios and commercial projects. Artists, in particular, have used Electa to create their photography sites, personal blogs, entertainment sites, and general sites with a portfolio as the main purpose. Alongside an intuitive blocks layout, the Electa theme provides support for SiteOrigin’s website builder for a much quicker designing workflow. Most importantly, Electa caters to the needs of commercial projects/portfolios by allowing you to sell your creative art directly from your site by using WooCommerce.
Sometimes you just have that knowing that the theme you’ve just seen is the one for you. Of course, so many unique factors come into play when we make our decisions this way. The Masonry theme, that’s exactly what it is called, uses a popular grid library setup for its back-end as a grid theme. Suitable for photographers, designers, and bloggers, the intuitive interface of Masonry makes it a suitable theme for nearly any niche on the market. Needless to say that Masonry theme packs your favorite features like responsive design, mobile-first design features, and fully customizable theme environment. As an open-source project, you can contribute and recommend new features through their GitHub page.
The Pictorico is an official theme from Automattic, the founding fathers of WordPress. At first, it was only available for use in the WordPress.com platform but has since been upgraded to be used on self-hosted websites as well. And we have to say, it hasn’t been a disappointing theme to work with. Already with 5,000+ active users, this single-column grid theme is ideal for launching your photo blogging website. Forget about messy text taking up all the space and instead create a colorful collage from your best photos. As with all things WordPress, you can add store functions and other features through the WordPress plugin system.
What is your intention for using a grid WordPress theme? Are you interested in creating a digital portfolio or a more regular job as a photo blogger? There are differences between both, but themes typically don’t assume a single role or a purpose. As a result, you can use BirdSITE for any sort of a photo-related website, given that you enjoy the look/style of a grid layout. With Live Customizer, you can customize colors of text and links, change header text, customize the background of your footer, and even change the navigation menu colors.
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