Creating your own WordPress theme can be simple or really complicated depending at what you want to achieve and how you do it. For some it is indeed possible to find a free theme that fits their needs perfectly and then the task may only be about changing the logo and a few colors. The disadvantage with this approach is the risk that your site looks similar to several other sites. Further a lot of free themes are not maintained putting your site at risk when major releases of WordPress are made available. There are many websites helping us to find WordPress themes and of course you can use them as starting point and change as much as you like.
Another great way to get started with WordPress is to use simple WordPress themes that have been designed specifically to be easy to change – that are to some extend working as WordPress theme frameworks. Finally there is the option to create your own theme. There are many advantages with this approach – like having a unique look and feel, having complete flexibility of how to design the theme etc. Unfortunately getting a WordPress theme designed and implemented by a web designer can be quite costly, but if you find the right designer the result will be excellent. If your budget is limited and you still want the flexibility and unique look of your own theme there is another and much cheaper solution. Simply use a theme generator to setup a theme as you like it.
This article will give you an overview of the best WordPress theme generators currently available and review Artisteer for WordPress in detail. The idea behind this kind of software is to allow people that are not skilled designers and developers to create themes themselves. This is pretty smart but of course keep in mind that a generated theme will probably no be as unique and awesome as a theme created from scratch by a top professional web designer. Still I think this approach is still worth to consider. Besides the most popular theme generator, Artisteer, I have also found a few other theme generators you can have a look at as well.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you). I recommend that you do your own independent research before purchasing any product or service. This article is not a guideline, a recommendation or endorsement of specific products.
Artisteer has been around for quite some time and support export to several other platforms than WordPress (Joomla, Drupal etc.). It is probably one of the best tools you can own for WordPress if you want to take control of you theme look and feel yourself. For less than $50 you can have an endless number of custom WordPress Themes at your finger tips. Once you start it up you choose the export format you need and in this case we pick WordPress. Other interesting options are in my opinion Joomla and Drupal and HTML page, but it depends mainly on your preference.
You can design the theme you need with great flexibility in this software and it runs on your pc and is really responsive. You should start by using the Suggest Design button. Pressing it will load random theme designs and believe me they are random and you quickly see it is not just a single theme with different colors Artisteer circle through. It is completely different themes that are presented.
Once you have found a theme that is worth adjusting to fit your exact needs you start improving design elements. Below I show you how pressing Suggest Header and Menu have changed these elements.
If the random approach is not preferred for you it is possible to change the design yourself fast and easily. The design is broken up into 10 elements; Colors & Fonts, Layout, Background, Sheet, Header, Menu, Articles, Blocks, Buttons and Footer. Below I show you how the shape of the menu buttons can be changed from a set of pre-sets. The same flexibility is found for any other element of the page layout. Just hovering the mouse over a design setting makes Artisteer apply it as preview – pretty cool actually!
Now it’s important that you understand that when it says ‘random’, you’re not going to end up with a rainbow-colored website with strange backgrounds and fonts. Artisteer has been cleverly programmed with sets of complimentary colors, fonts and layouts.for example when you click ‘suggest colors’, it will pick out a pallet from a list of professionally created sets. The change color theme effect is awesome and you need to try it out yourself.
Another element most of people want to change is the background. In Artisteer you can choose from a list of good looking prebuild backgrounds, but you can also upload your own files, add texture, gradient etc.
The vertical menu can also be adjusted easily and I think the available predefined designs look great.
Artisteer also comes complete with a bunch of stock images that you can use in the header, articles etc. The software allows you to choose an image from the built in categorized collection or you can import your own – just remember that you get the best results with transparent background gif or png format. You can also add Flash effects to give the header a dynamic look and feel
Another nice feature is the Page layout options, which allows you to easily move around your menus (vertical menu) and your columns/sidebars (horizontal menu).
This way you can easily add another sidebar or move it form one side to another.
There are several more options we have not showed here. I recommend you get the trail version and play around with it yourself – it’s fun and very effective at the same time.
Once you’ve got a design you’re happy with, you can preview it in your browser (supports I.E, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari – provided you have them installed) – this is a great way to make sure everything is displaying properly for all users. Below you see the theme loaded in Firefox. As I’m using a trail version for this review the software have written “Trail” all over it.
Then comes the exporting of the theme is just two clicks away – you can choose whether to export as a folder or as a ZIP file. If you want to upload the theme using an FTP client, use the folder option, however if you wish to use WordPress’s theme upload function, you’ll need it in a ZIP. I have tried to export to ZIP and install it as a theme in WordPress. It just worked as with any other theme I have used.
Best of all, Artisteer takes care of all the tricky coding of making the site look good across all browsers – it displays properly in all major browsers. In fact it also passes official W3C CSS validation with no problems. In other words; no more hours of complex coding and fiddling around to make sure that everything is properly formatted with correct syntax and no errors – it’s all done for you. Artisteer comes in two versions – Home/Academic and Standard. The standard edition exports in all formats (XHTML+CSS, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, ASP.Net, CodeCharge, and DotNEtNuke) and has a full library of images, colors, fonts, textures and gradients, while the Home/Academic version only exports in WordPress and XHTML+CSS and has slightly more limited libraries.
- Artisteer Tips & Tweaks
- Artisteer Introduction (video)
- Dynamic header in Artisteer generated Joomla templates (video)
- Creating WordPress Themes With Artisteer (video)
- Using Artisteer with mojoPortal
- Artisteer Review (video)
- Add Additional Options To The Footer Link Panel In Artisteer Themes
- Creating Photo Objects by Removing Background From Images
Other WordPress Theme Generators
WP Theme Generator (responsive themes can be generated)
Create WordPress themes or html/css templates with this theme generator tool. You can choose from several theme styles to make it fast to get started designing a special look and feel. WP Theme Generator has lots of pre-designed elements you can combine or edit, change layout positions as you wish and upload your own designs. Save or download your created themes whenever you want and they always be updated with the latest WP version and powered with a “full of features” framework. With this generator it is possible to make themes responsive. This makes WP Theme Generator really cool!
The list of available themes to use as starting point is pretty large and I believe you will be able to find what you need.
This is an oline theme generator with drag and drop features. It is free with some features made available but to get the full monty you need to sign up for the premium service.
This online generator creates your own custom unique wordpress themes. Without any need for HTML, JS, PHP or CSS knowledge. In this theme generator you can change the colors, settings, layout, can preview live, click “save” and download your unique WordPress theme Zip-file. Extract, upload, set, and you are done! Supports WordPress 2.1 to 3.0 WordPress themes. With Yahoo UI (grids, tabs and fonts) to support all A-Grade browsers and valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional also supports widgets and Tags.
There used to be some very good ones out there but they seem to have dropped out of favor. This new one offers such conveniences as instant previews, lots of layout, color and gradient settings, custom header graphics and download of individual files as well as a neatly packaged zip. This could be a good starting point for WordPress bloggers who want to play around with colors and layout and do not want to muddy their hands with code. I like the instant gratification and appreciate Yvo’s hard work.
Templatr is a Template Generator, with which you can create an individual design for your Blog online. You need no knowledge of HTML and no special Software. All you need is a Browser, maybe a little creativity and a small idea of how the finished design should look. You can download the finished Template with a simple click. provides you more than 20 layouts, and formatting options for various page elements including pages, header, footer, titles, margin, padding, border, and more for your WordPress blog. It also provides you an upload tool with which you can upload your site graphics. You can download the template on your system once you are complete.
A Desktop based WordPress Theme Generator, Unleash your creative ideas and bring your WordPress sites to life with this free and powerful software.Unleash your creative ideas and bring your WordPress sites to life with this free and powerful software. Generate elegant, modern WordPress theme. Harness the power of WordPress to transform your publishing platform to a success. Make your design decision on fly without any HTML, JS, PHP, or CSS knowledge. Identical experience Create a CSS-based, XHTML 1.0 Transitional-conforming WordPress site.
ThemesPress is a service that allows you to automatically convert your HTML and CSS based design into a WordPress blog theme, allowing you to take full control of the look of your blog without having to know or bother with PHP. Get your design powered by WordPress in minutes! For only $10, it’s a great deal. Before you buy, you can preview your design and make as many edits as you like. After you buy you will still be able to make all the CSS and setting edits you want in the future. Only the HTML will be locked from changes after purchase.
WordPress Theme generator.net is an online layout generator that allows you to design and dynamically generate a personalized wordpress theme for your blog. There is some more functionalities they have to add to make it more powerful and allow you to customize more elements. The theme is widget ready and compatible with the latest WordPress version.
Play around with the tools on the sidebar on the lefthand side of the screen and create a personalized theme for your blog! These tools allow you to change the structure of the layout, header, background color, customize the font, etc. When you are happy with the new format, first click on save & then generate. This will export your theme to a zip file. Simply upload it on your host and activate it within the wordpress admin panel.