I’m not going to lie, there are many free WordPress portfolio themes that look pretty much identical. However, I’ve searched high and low for free themes that stand out both aesthetically and functionally. I also couldn’t help myself and threw in two portfolio templates from Elegant Themes because I want them and want you to have them as a consolation prize.
Intrigued but not quite sure what I’m talking about? A ‘portfolio’ website theme is any pre-built template that is made in a way to show case your work front and center. It is common for these kind of portfolios to be very image heavy and geared for photographers. Don’t be fooled by the shiny pictures, portfolio websites can be an excellent way for just about anyone to display their work in a pleasing fashion. A portfolio website can make a professional and visually interesting digital resume.
Strengths: Beautiful, Unusually colorful, HTML5, Responsive (will automatically adjust to fit the size of your screen), Completely customizable (fonts, background image etc.)
Weaknesses: You have to sign up for an account with Graph Paper Press (which may come with hidden fees) to download it.
Strengths: Clean look, Responsive Layout, Search in the toolbar. Has a magazine like feel so would be good for showcasing written work.
Weaknesses: The image layout on the homepage is fixed. It can look cluttered with two menu bars and small text.
Strengths: Simple geometric layout with clear focus on the images, Optimized for mobile browsing, Customizable background and header
Weaknesses: Limited customization of page layouts, Big image on homepage is only available with the blog enabled.
Strengths: Business themed, Slider on homepage, Custom Theme options, Responsive website
Weaknesses: Limited design options.
Strengths: Automated Slider, Super easy to experiment with background colors, Contact form and Shortcodes included.
Weaknesses: You have to make an account with Themes Kingdom to download the theme. No theme support from WordPress.
Strengths: Minimalist design, Surprising round thumbnail images, easy to use and edit.
Weaknesses: Limited layout, troubles with upgrading to Version 2.0
For all of the above themes you can download theme through the WordPress website unless stated otherwise. The next two themes are the icing on the cake (in my opinion) and can be downloaded through Elegant Themes.
Top Pick #1 Nimble:
Unlike some free themes out there, no corners were cut in the creation of the Nimble theme. The design is both dynamic and simple while being surprisingly beautiful. What stands out the most to me is the simple animation in both the homepage slider and in the navigation throughout the website. The Nimble portfolio theme is one of the 87 WordPress themes that are included when you sign up for Elegant Themes. When you sign up, you pay a one time fee of $69 and get access to any and all of the premium WordPress Theme (for a whopping $0.79 per theme).
Top Pick #2 Origin:
The Origin Theme is also available as part of the Elegant Themes package. The simplistic design is very striking and puts most of the emphasis on the images featured on the home page. This would be a good choice for either an artist or writer with short stories with illustrations. This website also has interactive elements that make it almost impossible not to want to click on on the different images. The Demo features a horizontal nav bar which I find to be clunky but customization is always possible.
It is always surprising how many quality free portfolio WordPress themes and Elegant Themes there are that are available to use. With a little customization your work can be featured on a professional, beautiful and unique website. If you are unsure how to make the first step, we have a free tutorial on how to create a website with WordPress in 8 easy steps. If you have any questions or think I missed out on a good theme let me know in the comments below.