The Future of Themes: Designing for the Block Editor and Beyond

When designing WordPress themes, one of the biggest challenges stems from a core component of WordPress itself: the ability for site owners to change, modify, and build new content themselves. This simple yet powerful capability was a driving force behind the adoption and popularity of WordPress, but theme designers are faced with a difficult task: designing for content and functionality that doesn’t yet exist.

As content and functionality become even more modular thanks to advances like the block editor, and as we look ahead to the adoption of Full Site Editing, theme designers will have to accommodate even more flexible ways of visualizing and presenting the information. How do we anticipate and accommodate the needs of a constantly evolving website while providing visual solutions that are clean, thoughtful, and consistent?

We will walk through the entire design thinking process as it relates to themes, and you’ll leave with a thorough checklist of steps and tools for designing themes that support WordPress core functionality, custom templates and content, common plugins, and an array of standard and custom Gutenberg blocks. This process is useful both for custom theme builds, and designing themes for sale as a product.