Versatile Themes for Online Magazines

Looking for a sleek and professional design for your online publication? Take a look at these eight themes.

Launching a magazine? At WordPress.com, you can choose from an ever-growing collection of themes. Here are four free and four premium themes to promote a wide variety of content.

Canard

canard

Launched earlier this year, Canard showcases writing and photography in a nicely balanced layout. You can display up to five posts in a grid on your homepage, and if you publish images and use post formats, you’re in luck: image and gallery post formats are beautifully called out on the homepage. You can create up to four custom menus, too: perfect for directing your visitors to different places.

This free theme lends sophistication to Sarah Ascha’s food site, à la Susu: her featured dishes look delicious in her homepage grid, and other custom touches, from the light blue navigation bar to the Calluna font used throughout the site, are subtle and delicate.

Publication

publication

Publication is an awesome free theme that brings your best full-width images to life. At MLB.com affiliate site Call to the Bullpen, each post is accompanied by a full-screen featured image (ideally at 2000px wide and 1500px high). Publication also has two widget areas to display your extras, from a list of your contributors to links to recent podcasts. Whether you’re launching a sports journal or a travel magazine, Publication will cover your needs.

Twenty Fourteen

twenty fourteen

The default theme for 2014, Twenty Fourteen remains a solid pick among bloggers who need a highly functional theme to promote a mix of writing and imagery. Your front page is rich with content: you can feature up to six posts in a grid or a slider, and show off your recent videos, music, quotes, links, and other posts with the unique Twenty Fourteen “ephemera” widget.

At The Stockholm Review of Literature, the featured images add visual touches to the literary publication’s homepage, while their custom menus direct readers to various sections and previous issues of the magazine.

Oyxgen

oxygen

An enduring favorite for online magazines, Oxygen remains a powerful free theme in our Theme Showcase. If you enable its showcase page template on your front page, you can build a sleek slider for up to six sticky posts with featured images, as shown on the theme’s demo site. Or, you can randomize your collection of uploaded headers, as seen on music publication New Slang, which focuses on the musicians and singer-songwriter communities in Texas.

We’ve featured Oxygen in the past — take a peek at how others have made it their own.

Dicot

dicot

Dicot, the first of four premium themes in this list, is super modern and minimal. Designed by DesignOrbital, you can see it in action on Very Joëlle, the fashion site of Canadian lifestyle journalist and stylist Joëlle Paquette. Immediately, you’ll notice two distinct features: Joëlle’s content carousel of featured posts, and her site’s sticky menu — you’ll see a black menu bar appear and “stick” to the top as you scroll down the page.

Dicot also has custom options — post carousel and post list widgets — which Joëlle has used for her “Latest Posts” and “Popular This Week” sidebar sections. Whether your passion is fashion or books or even gardening, Dicot can achieve the right look for you.

Christopher

christopher

Ideal for a magazine or news site, the premium Christopher theme, by SiloCreativo, offers a number of front page layouts. You can showcase a prominent content slider and display posts you want to promote, mixed with other touches.

We love the simple but professional look created at PhotoArtMag, which uses Christopher‘s custom widgets to showcase quotes and categories with flair. The theme’s default Noto Serif font is also clean and readable, which makes browsing enjoyable.

MH Magazine

MH Magazine

Need a theme to accommodate your team’s busy publishing schedule? MH Magazine will get the job done. This premium theme from MH Themes includes a unique homepage template with up to 11 widget areas and an optional sidebar for even more content.

You can see MH Magazine put to excellent use at Occupy My Family, an Atlanta-based destination, events, and activities guide for families. With widgets to highlight what’s happening this week, editorial picks, and recommendations across popular categories, the guide acts as a one-stop site for family fun.

Zuki

zuki

Finally, Zuki, a premium theme from Elmastudio, is minimal yet flexible, allowing you to arrange custom widgets and featured sections on your front page. At Reef Magazine, an “online magazine for creative souls,” you’ll see the top post slider in action, as well as recent posts with different-sized thumbnails to give the page visual variety. With these options, the global Reef team promotes their mix of content — from coffee articles to short stories — in an eye-catching way.

Want more? Browse our free and premium magazine themes, or explore the entire Theme Showcase and narrow your search with the filters at the top.

Buying a premium theme for your site is a one-time purchase. Feel free to preview and customize one in your Customizer (My Sites → Themes → Customize) before buying it.


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17 Comments

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  1. AprilEsutton

    Well timed. I’ve been thinking about a change.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Tomislav Bozickovic

    For months i am in search for a beautiful and very functional news wp template. For months! And still the most versatile and functional is this one .. http://themes.momizat.com/multinews/ … if you think i am wrong, please show me!!

    thnx

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Andrea Zoellner

    Great roundup! I loved seeing Joëlle’s website on here. Montréal represent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lavagal

    I almost switched out of 2013 yesterday! I couldn’t remember how the customizer worked! I have so much going on with my blog, that I wanted to show that it’s more than just an entry and a photo. Great timing for your post. Mahalo!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul Bowler

    Some great themes here. Been thinking about changing mine on my blog for a while, will have to have a closer look at these, they look really good!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Isaac Yuen

    A hearty endorsement for Zuki, which I’ve been using for almost a year now. Its clean and minimalistic design helps push content out front and center, plus the sliders options are great. It’s relatively affordable as a premium theme as well.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Ruth2Day

    I’m going to give twenty-fourteen a look, thanks for highlighting these

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jeff Branch

    Zuni is the best. The front page options alone make it a great theme.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kiri

    Great roundup. With so much traffic now coming from mobile it would be great to hear how these perform in this space also.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Suzy Hazelwood

    As a creator/editor of a literary magazine on WordPress I’ve yet to be impressed with most of your ‘magazine’ themes. I believe WordPress is the best place for that kind of magazine, but I wish I had a better choice. If I did I may well be persuaded to buy a theme, which I’ve not done – yet.

    A lot of your magazine themes have very tiny fonts, so not sure how they would look when the font is altered and also appear very cluttered to me. Often the post is presented as a ‘squeezed in’ size, almost as if the post is an after thought. This doesn’t make good reading, especially on a tablet or phone, which a lot of readers prefer now.

    I’m currently using the Museum theme. It’s clutter free, fairly impressive and easy to read on any device. The only one in this list I’m impressed with Zuki. Maybe you could think of creating more like that theme?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Don Charisma

    Thanks for the rundown, very helpful🙂

    I recently updated my ancient theme to Gazette which is very very similar to Canard, in fact Canard was my second choice. The reason being that the Canard menu and header is centralised and I prefer the Gazette layout, which I found more visually pleasing for how I wanted to present my blog.

    Cheers

    Don Charisma

    Liked by 2 people

  12. bonnie

    Hi there! My name is Issa and I’m a new blogger. Can anyone give me any pointers on what theme would work best? Any suggestions on what I should include in the “about me?” Thank you!

    Like

  13. Titik Asa

    For me, The Expound is the best. I still use The Expound for my blog till now.
    Best regards,

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Chiradeep Patra

    After lot of test & trails I found MOTIF theme to be very professional and elegant for my kind of Webzine: https://candlesonline.wordpress.com

    Great information and great post as usual in the news section of WP.

    Thanks for sharing Cheri.

    Liked by 2 people

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