This is the start of a new series of posts I have been intending to do for a while where I will be picking one style of WordPress theme and taking a close look at the current features and trends for that kind of theme. In today's post I'm going to be examining Business / Corporate style WordPress themes.
Clean with Whitespace
A trend I have seen business websites and theme using lately is making the majority of the design white and using a lot of whitespace - padding out the elements. I put this down to larger screen sizes and the fact a lot of sites are going responsive so they can change the amount of whitespace depending on the device it is viewed on. I like this style of design - simple is often better.
Big Photos - Blurring Optional
The next trend is ubiquitous at the moment - using big bold photos for backgrounds and even more common is using them but applying a gausian blur in photoshop and using that instead. You can see why this technique is common at the moment - its easy to achieve and works great as a background because it brings to prominence anything that is laid over the top so you can draw attention to a screenshot, text or other item which is the focus of your homepage.
I can't help but think this one will look very dated next year due to how many sites use it.
Buttons and Font Icons
With the emergence of Font Icons such as Font Awesome and Automattic's own Genericons, it's no surprise we are seeing more and more themes build these in. Coupled with large style buttons which can be used for calls to action and to direct people around the site, these are two really handy features for business theme users.
Event Square Theme
Custom Post Types
Business will typically have a need for more post types - you could use normal WordPress pages for everything but using custom post types for things like Staff, Testimonials, Portfolio and so on allows for greater flexibility in regards to styling these different post types. There is the argument that these custom post types should be built using a plugin rather than a theme's functions.php so if you switch themes you don't lose any functionality.
WPLift's Custom Post Types
You have to be careful when using currently popular design trends in your designs as they can quickly look dated when that particular style falls out of fashion. Having said that, as theme designers you need to create theme designs that will appeal to customers and sell well to justify your time spent creating the theme. One way to do this is by using the latest styles and trends, bearing in mind that a quality timeless design will have more long term appeal and will likely sell more in the long run.
What do you think of the current business theme trends ? What other elements are gaining in popularity ?