Creating and Creating a Great Zen Theme for WordPress

Hisako Doose


Zen theme design is about creating a WordPress theme that has the functionality, structure and features that you need. It’s not just about building an attractive site, but also designing a great experience for users.

Be clear about your purpose and message.

Before you start to create your Zen theme, it’s important to think about the purpose and message of your theme.

The reason I created my theme was because I wanted to help people create beautiful websites that are easy for anyone to use. In order for this to happen, it needs to be clear what the message of the site is. Also important is what kind of person will be using this site: Is it a business owner? Someone who wants their own blog? Or maybe just someone who likes having fun with websites!

Do research and decide what kind of theme you want to create.

Before you get started, it’s important to do some research and decide what kind of theme you want to create. This will help you decide on the features that will be included in your theme and how much time and money it will take. Here are some things to consider:

  • Research other themes that are available. Check out what’s out there on ThemeForest or other websites where people sell premium WordPress themes. See if any of these have similar functionality as what you have in mind for your own Zen Theme creation. The more variety there is available for sale, the better chance someone else has already created something similar–and often times they’ll point out how their version differs from others so that prospective buyers can make an informed decision about which one they like best (or if they should create their own).
  • Decide how far along do want get with this project? Do I just want something simple enough for me not worry too much about updates but still look nice on all devices without being overly complicated? Or am I willing enough technical knowledge
  • Consider whether or not making money off this theme would be worth all the effort required

Choose the best technical tools to build your theme with.

You should choose the best technical tools to build your theme with. The right tool will make it easier for you to create a theme and also ensure that it’s high-quality.

Here are some of the most popular tools used by developers:

  • Gulp – A task runner that automates common development tasks such as minification, compilation of SASS/CSS files, linting code etc…
  • NPM – Node Package Manager (NPM) helps in managing dependencies between projects or packages within NodeJS ecosystem

Build a prototype that is functional and works as expected.

  • Build a prototype that is functional and works as expected.
  • The prototype should be easy to use.
  • The prototype should be easy to change and update.
  • The prototype should be able to test the design without any problems.
  • The prototype has to be maintainable by anyone on your team, so it doesn’t take up too much time during development cycles or after launch when bugs need fixing or features need adding in order for the theme/plugin/applications or whatever else you’re building off of this Zen Framework Theme Framework (ZF2) based CMS platform with custom modules developed specifically for WordPress developers who want something better than Genesis but don’t want all of the bloat associated with WooCommerce (because we’re not talking about eCommerce here).

Decide on a development workflow.

Now that we’re ready to get started on our theme, we need to decide how we want to develop it. There are a few options:

  • Developing locally. This is the easiest way and requires no additional software or servers. You can just use your favorite text editor (e.g., Sublime Text 3) and create files in whatever folder structure makes sense for your project. Then run PHPUnit tests from the command line and see them fail until everything works perfectly!
  • Using a remote server provider like Heroku or AWS Elastic Beanstalk. This allows you do things like push code into git repositories hosted by these services or deploy new versions of them easily using their APIs

Create a plan for testing the theme in different browsers, devices and screen sizes.

Before you can start testing your theme on different browsers, devices and screen sizes, you’ll need to create a plan for testing. There are many tools that you can use for this purpose:

  • BrowserStack or SauceLabs – These services allow you to test your site in multiple browsers (including mobile) from one place. If there is something wrong with the design of your site, they will let you know which browser causes problems so that you can fix them before publishing.
  • Responsinator – This tool allows users to test their themes across various screen sizes without having physical devices available at hand.

The Zen Theme Design process is a great way to start building your own WordPress theme, or improving an existing one!

The Zen Theme Design process is a great way to start building your own WordPress theme, or improving an existing one!

In this article we’re going to take you through the steps of creating a Zen theme from scratch, so that you can understand how all the pieces fit together.


Now that you know the Zen Theme Design process, it’s time to get started! We hope this article has given you some insight into how we create our themes at If you want more information or want help getting started creating your own theme then please check out our documentation page:

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