Going through my routine this week, I skimmed the latest WordPress theme releases and found a new project that supported the block editor. It even shipped a few custom patterns. While the design was nothing extraordinary, it was a solid theme overall. However, after spending the better part of today writing about it, I did not think I could move forward with the story. Something was bugging me.
It was the same thing I have felt with several others as of late. There were too many missed opportunities. The theme had the foundation, the underlying potential, to be more than it was.
The theme had a commercial “pro” version that users could purchase. However, nearly every pro feature relied on old-school tactics of upselling extra theme options. The one exception was a block-related feature that will be free as part of the Global Styles component likely to ship with WordPress later this year.
Where were the custom block styles? Where could a user snag some unique patterns? Extra nav menus, sidebars, color settings, and typography options are becoming less and less of a value-add for end-users. It is probably safe money right now, and I can understand the comfort of not taking too many chances.
Theme authors need to start shifting gears. Upsells need to come in the form of features that will not be available from stock WordPress. Right now, that means building unique block patterns and styles.
Exploring Pattern Ideas
In the last month, I have been tinkering with custom patterns. While I was in the design and development business for over a decade, what I was able to accomplish with the block editor alone — using no custom code — and a well-rounded block-ready theme is merely scratching the surface. We have far better talent in the