Beyond Standard WordPress Theme Framework Features: Total Layout & Design Control

Over the past few years WordPress theme frameworks have changed dramatically. Together with the available child themes and design presets there is no easier or faster way to create unique websites or blogs. Choosing fonts, adding custom CSS, enable/disable a variety of different functions: there is no need to touch the code anymore.

Today, we have listed 14 clean and feature rich WordPress theme frameworks packed with options to give you complete control over your design and layout. Smart design architecture, SEO-tuned theme markup, professional support and many more features to deliver premium websites geared toward any purpose.

If you are after a highly customizable blog design or just a starter theme for your next client project, one of these frameworks will definately suit your needs.

No. Name Child
Support &
Showcase Price
1. Elemental Check Check Check $60-$150
2. Standard Check Check Check $49-$99
3. Builder Check Check Check $97-$497
4. Xtreme One Check Check Check $80
5. DaVinci Check $79-$279
6. Platform Pro Check $95-$175
7. Thesis Check Check $87-$164
8. StartBox Check Check $75
9. Genesis Check Check Check $60-$250
10. Canvas Check Check Check $70-$150
11. Headway Check Check $87-$164
12. Catalyst Check Check Check $97-$174
13. RichWP Check Check Check $127
14. Base Check Check $49-$299


A clean & powerful blog framework for WordPress packed with options for customizable layouts, typography, navigation, widgets, page templates and more. Everyday bloggers can jump right in, configure their options and launch a professional blog. Developers and WordPress consultants using the multi-copy Elemental can rapidly build client sites in a variety of styles and deliver premium websites geared toward any purpose.

Elemental WordPress Theme Framework


The Standard Theme is a personal and professional blogging theme built with industry standards in mind. Make this theme the starting point for your next blog project. Don’t waste time searching for plugins that play nice together when Standard already does. An intuitive and sleek Admin Panel enables you to customize nearly everything on the front end.

Proper use of title tags and meta data were obvious so Standard took it a step further: Built-in pagination, breadcrumbs, validated code and more provides maximum exposure to search engines. Built-in page templates for advanced content presentation.

Standard WordPress Theme Framework

Builder WordPress Theme Framework

The power of Builder starts in the layout editor. Choose from the building blocks of a great web site by inserting modules: images, navigation, content area (with or without sidebars), widget bars, HTML areas, and a footer. Complete flexibility without code. Builder lets you choose between basic or advanced SEO options. You control how you want to be found.

Child themes provide structure, typography, and a range of color palettes to get you started. With a variety of colors and styles to choose from, you’re sure to find an option for every project. If you want to change the background, try a different font, or match the theme to the colors of your brand, Style Manager can help you do it fast and without touching the code.

Xtreme WordPress Theme Framework

Xtreme One is WordPress Theme Framework that allows fixed, fluid and flexible layouts. It is multi site, widget and localization ready. Xtreme One supports featured images, gravatars, threaded comments, your own uploaded background images as well as the new WordPress 3.0 menus with additional functionality.

Xtreme One combines and compresses all the stylesheets and JavaScripts. This reduces the number of requests to the web server and delivers your content faster. An extensive documentation, a knowledgebase and an informational FAQ page for a quick overview available for all users.


WP-DaVinci is a simple, elegant and flexible WordPress theme built to work with you rather than against you. Whether you’re creating a simple blog, a business website or an online magazine, WP-DaVinci is loaded with ingenious, little optional features that make it a snap to create your own online masterpiece.

DaVinci is WordPress 3.0+ compatible and has tons of features including – menu management, built-in styles, article slider, multiple page and post layouts, multiple banner ad locations, built-in author page, footer widgets, etc.

DaVinci WordPress Theme Framework

Platform Pro

Plaform Pro allows you to customize your site by dragging and dropping sections of content around your site. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to look pro. Select each of your 5 layout options on a page-by-page basis. PlatformPro has your community covered with BuddyPress Networking and bbPress Forums.

This theme has tons of options! It also supports widgets, plugins and custom CSS. Design is fundamental on the web, that’s why this theme pays attention to details that create a ‘pro’ impression. Platform Pro is a great theme to reach or find new customers through the full-featured marketing framework and SEO-tuned theme markup.

Platform Pro WordPress Theme Framework

Thesis WordPress Theme Framework

Thesis is a search engine optimized WordPress theme with options galore for serious online publishers. Simply put, Thesis is powerful. It has a remarkably efficient HTML + CSS + PHP framework and easy-to-use controls that you can use to fine-tune each and every page of your site with a tactical precision. The days of worrying about your in-site SEO are over—with Thesis, your strategy is “just add killer content.”

Thesis contains a futureproof customization system that allows you to produce unique designs without having to touch any core code. Over 35k people rely on the airtight SEO, incredible design flexibility, and fast loading times that Thesis provides.


StartBox comes with an incredibly easy-to-use, modular settings page. For users, this means a quick and painless setup for your website, for theme authors this means an incredible new level of control for your themes. Theme Authors can add and remove options at will with our easy-to-use Options API. No complex programming required.

StartBox gives you several controls for how content should appear on your homepage and interior pages. Specify page layout, where to display post navigation, what meta information to include and more.

Startbox WordPress Theme Framework


The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis is Search Engine Optimized. State of the art code and smart design architecture make it easy for search engines to see what you’ve got. With automatic updates to the Genesis Framework, you never have to think about it again. Your code will always be up to date and fully optimized.

You want sleek, professional design — without paying a fortune for it. The way your site looks can be instantly updated by what’s called a child theme, while all of the SEO benefits and the core Genesis functionality remain untouched.

You get unlimited support. Unlimited updates. Unlimited websites. There’s no “Developer Option” here. One low price entitles you to unlimited support, updates, and domains you can build on.

Genesis WordPress Theme Framework


Every element of Canvas is highly customizable through the options panel, so you can make the design, layout and typography exactly like you want. If you are after a highly customizable blog design or just a starter theme for your next client project, then Canvas will most definitely work for you. Packed with 100+ options, it allows you to make your blog look exactly like you want.

Canvas features a Magazine and Business page template, both with javascript sliders so now you can easily setup your homepage to act as a magazine or business theme. You can change any text on your site to the font of your liking, and also use the awesome Google Font to go beyond those standard web-safe fonts.

Canvas WordPress Theme Framework

Headway WordPress Theme Framework

Headway is both flexible and powerful. It has the ability to work with or without your own HTML, CSS and PHP. You can build your entire site with no code if you want. The exclusive Headway Visual Editor gives you true “what you see is what you get” designing experience. The first time you activate Headway, the Quick Start Wizard guides you smoothly through the set up and design process. Just follow the steps to choose your layout, colors, and more.

With Headway You can sculpt your design into anything you want. You’re not restricted by someone else’s ideas about columns or content layouts. Unlike most other themes, Headway doesn’t tie you to an admin page, it allows you to build your site live and see the changes take place right on the page you are working on.

Expert and professional support comes with your purchase of Headway. You also get the access to Headway user community, a friendly place to get advice and help others with all aspects of Headway. The support team is lead by Chris Howard, a 20-year support veteran.


Catalyst gives you the power and flexibility to create a site that’s uniquely yours with over 600 custom options at your fingertips. Catalyst speaks fluent SEO, so you can be certain that your site will get noticed. If you want total control over your website, but don’t want to have to become an expert web programmer in the process, Catalyst is perfect for you.

Catalyst has plenty of room for expansion with space for Custom CSS, Custom Functions, Custom Layouts, Custom Widgets and Custom Hooks Galore. It comes with no-hassle license that allows you to use Catalyst on an unlimited number of sites for yourself and your clients.

Catalyst WordPress Theme Framework


The RichWP WordPress Theme Framework is a Premium Web-Site Design System that streamlines the process of WordPress-based Web site development. RichWP is easy to use and gives you full control over your design and layout. Your results will be fast, SEO-friendly, professional-looking Web sites of any kind.

The FrameWork alone is high end blogging theme. Together with the available Child Themes and Design Presets there is no easier or faster way to create 100% unique and professional-looking blogs, magazines, portfolios, galleries, business or affiliate Web sites. No coding knowledge necessary.

RichWP WordPress Theme Framework


Base is a minimally-styled, feature rich theme framework built specifically to power child themes. It includes an application framework, a theme options framework and a robust set of options for customizing your site. Choose fonts, add custom CSS, enable apps, tracking code, and a variety of different customization options all without touching a single line of code.

Base includes an application framework for adding “apps” to the theme. These “apps” include things like Slideshows, Category Columns, Magazine Layouts, Sliders, Video Galleries, etc. Select from a variety of header images, upload you own header image and select background colors.

Base WordPress Theme Framework

Published by

Paulius Rasytinis

Telecom engineer, passionate about technologies, web developing and cooking. I celebrate every new WP feature, give warm applause to every theme release. My enthusiasm occasionally loses the battle against various undesirable internal and external stimulus, such as moodiness, false advertising, etc. I invented a character called Suspicious Mind to deal with the following occurrences. Find me on Google+

18 thoughts on “Beyond Standard WordPress Theme Framework Features: Total Layout & Design Control”

  1. Pingback: Beyond Standard WordPress Theme Framework Features: Total Layout & Design Control – | WordPress News
  2. Yeah, framework has surely changed how the WordPress powered blogs run this days. It is quite simple to have a unique blog design these day — we even no need to do the coding at all. I have try Socrates framework and plan to try Genesis Framework in near future.

  3. Great job Paulius. I hate to admit that I haven’t worked with a WP framework yet but what I really need to explore is a Framework that has strong support for using WP as a flexible full-blown CMS, supporting multiple content areas. I would love to see a post focused on this.

    Thx, Glenn

    1. Thanks Glenn 🙂 I think I understand your concern. Framework can cost up to $500, depending on your personal needs, so it makes it not an easy decision to choose one of many. Headway definitely supports multiple content areas and I’m sure that other Frameworks also have lots of features to surprise you, just keep exploring and I will try to provide readers with as many information as I can get.

      1. Thanks for your quick response Paulius! That helps. Headway seems to have a reasonable way to start with 2 sites and then scale up. I’ll dig into it further this week.

        Thx again,

  4. Thanks, although I’d like to have some subjective opinion and maybe more criteria to the frameworks. It would help us in making decision to purchase one.

    1. Unfortunately, it’s just a basic line-up this time. Take into consideration that these are the first steps of this blog. I hope, that someday it will evolve from roundups and showcases to more in-depth articles, based on personal experience and actual tests. Today, I would have to purchase all of those frameworks to make it happen 🙂

    1. Hello and welcome John. I assume I couldn’t find any info about child theme support in your product description. Thank you for clarifying that to me and all of us, I’ve updated the post. Good Luck in improving Standard Theme, it’s a great framework, deserves to be in the list!

  5. Hi Paulius, I enjoyed reading your article here, and I’ve gain knowledge about this topic…I hope more information will come…Thanks for sharing…

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