Some would claim that Parallax has died as a design trend. But we’ve been looking at some free WordPress themes and beg to differ.
Parallax is an effect that you’ve probably seen before with many popular sites utilizing it in places, such as Twitter’s user profiles. It (normally) uses HTML5 and CSS3 to make some elements move in a unique way when the page is scrolling. It’s fair to say that Parallax overuse is not an unknown phenomenon, but when used properly it can be very effective indeed.
Despite experiencing a decline since an initial explosion of use, the idea that Parallax can’t or shouldn’t be used can easily be put to bed by the below 15 themes. What’s more, they’re all free and available for download from the WordPress Theme repository!
Have you noticed a decline in Parallax use? If you think you might know why, we’d be interested to see why in the comments section.
Inkhive, the team behind retina-ready Aldehyde certainly know how to make a pretty theme. Their parallax header is the perfect place for a high-quality image and the theme generally works well. It also features a slider in the header, some amazing CSS3 effects elsewhere in the theme (try the dropdown menus) and social icons, Aldehyde seems especially appropriate for creative projects. It’s free, although a Pro version can also be purchased. Aldehyde is definitely one of the most beautifully animated free WordPress themes there is at all, let alone on this list.
FlyFreeMedia’s Amadeus theme does parallax in a very pretty way indeed, utilizing a full-width image below its bold header. A relatively simple theme, black and white with images used to highlight, it nevertheless has plenty of options in the back end. These include a social media menu, color and font customization and the theme’s editable slider. Of particular note is the sidebar which is very good-looking. There are plenty of other customizable parts of the site through widgets, too. Amadeus would be great for blogs with stand-out featured images and long-form content as its simplicity makes it very readable. Its great sidebar formatting also makes it especially suitable for personal introductions.
Intro, by aThemes, is a business theme for WordPress that has a contemporary look and feel. Its header utilizes a parallax effect alongside a unique “typing” header message. The front page of the theme can be built using theme widgets while there’s plenty of control available on color, typography and widgets.
Overall, the theme would be excellent for a number of uses, with its pretty front page being of particular note.
As “lite” versions of premium themes go, Foodeez isn’t lacking in customization options and features. Although the premium version does add more functionality with plugins like Revolution Slider thrown in, the free version of this dedicated hotel / restaurant looks great and there’s plenty you can do with it.
The parallax section of the theme shows menu options and there is a multitude of different ways to customize the responsive theme with colors, templates and widgets. Built-in reservation features are also available and social media options are prominent on the theme.
At the time of writing, there isn’t dedicated WooCommerce support but SketchThemes have promised that it’ll be included in an update in the very near-future.
All in all, Foodeez – in both its lite and full-fledged forms – indisputably provides one of the best possible platforms to publicize a food or accommodation business.
Zulfikar Nore’s iTek theme is quite something!
As far as the all-important parallax feature goes, the theme features a huge parallax header image. This works a treat with the primary menu in the theme, which also includes a set of social icons.
iTek is packed with other features, functionality and support too, specifically designed for business and eCommerce – meaning WooCommerce integration is possible. Additionally, bbPress integration is included alongside multiple widgetized sections, providing a great degree of flexibility.
It’s hard to imagine any situation in which Oria might not provide an appropriate look for a website. The glassy theme provides a range of ways to customize its beautiful layout through colors and fonts, also allowing the very prominent featuring of social media links through its dedicated menu.
Image-rich, its front page provides a scrollbar of posts above a clean grid layout. Multiple sidebars are available with – of course – a parallax header image on every page. So long as images are optimized properly (naturally important for any theme, but especially this one), Oria also works pretty fast, making it suitable for any business or personal website.
“One of the Finest and Most Beautiful Themes Out there,” say Dellow’s authors, Inkzine. They’re right.
This theme is jam-packed with characteristic animations and its parallax header image works just right to frame any creative magazine site. With an animated slider and plenty of other great features, Dellow enables you to create a brilliant, responsive website.
aThemes’s Moesia is heavy on the Parallax effects yet not in such a way that it looks unprofessional. In fact, it seems a very solid solution for businesses with plenty of customization available.
The theme is fully responsive with everything a business could want, from multiple layouts to social icons and custom header images and colors. Users are able to build a homepage using parallax blocks, each in their own way available for customization with carefully-selected parallax animations to make sure the theme looks great.
Designed with businesses in mind, Cordillera builds a great homepage with parallax included. Lots of customizable features are available in this free version of a premium theme. Video can also be embedded and naturally the pages are all responsive!
All in all, MageeWP have created a good-looking, modern and simple-to-use theme in Cordillera.
A light lite theme (but with options to change the colors!), Advertica by Sketch Themes is easy on the eye and feels great to use.
With a minimalist look, several customizable sections with parallax backgrounds are available on top of a number of other features like shortcodes, responsiveness and an especially good drop-down header menu. The theme’s footer is also widgetized and looks very clean and professional.
The limited use of CSS effects in addition to the parallax means that the theme is multipurpose and could conceivably be adapted to most types of website. Images are not necessarily required except to take advantage of the parallax, although they obviously look good if they are there.
Modern Oblique, by FlyFreeMedia, is a sleek, fast blogging theme.
Designed especially for fashion (but generally suitable for a wide range of blogging topics), its use of diagonals with a parallax feature header make it very attractive. Its responsive nature, combined with a very slick menu and widget area, give it a simple yet perfect finish.
In addition to its parallax image, Oblique’s features include full control over theme colors and fonts.
The premium version of Invert features WooCommerce compatibility, and this is arguably where the theme excels most. Nevertheless, its free version (without the eCommerce support) can look great for any business and there are plenty of features still included.
Invert Lite features multiple page templates and customization available from the theme’s own backend administration panel, calls to action, many widgetized areas, and much more. Social icons are available, making it excellent for businesses getting onto the Web.
It goes without saying that the colored parallax section of the front page looks great and will draw attention to whatever call to action is selected for it. Although it may seem that the theme would excel most in eCommerce, there’s plenty for free users too.
Inkhive’s Freak doesn’t really deserve its name: it’s actually a very pretty theme.
Described as being for “News, Magazine and Personal Websites” it would have to be said that Freak probably most suited to the former two. Although it could serve as a personal blog theme, it feels very clean and its layout lends itself better to magazine sites. Using a variety of transitions and effects in lots of different places makes the theme enjoyable to use. It brings in the parallax effect in its site-wide header image and featured images, which are important to make sure the theme looks its best.
The attention to detail in Freak is particularly noticeable in its aesthetically pleasing drop-down menus and overall it’s a great theme for a number of purposes. It’s probably important to have plenty of high quality images, since these are really what makes it look so fantastic.
The beautifully responsive magazine theme Preus comes with a parallax header and posts slider. These complement its cool, clean posts layout and two bold menus.
Advertized as a magazine theme, Preus could very easily be used to host personal blog content, with plenty of focus on social media links available through the theme. Other theme options are also available. Widgets look good in its sidebar with some excellent typographical choices made by the designer.
Preus can also be translated into multiple languages, with Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese already available.
SketchThemes’s Eptima looks perfect exactly right for corporate websites but would also be well-suited to housing a creative, photograph-heavy portfolio.
In this theme, the parallax section is simply text with calls-to-action, but the effect – combined with the many other transitions and CSS tricks – makes the theme feel very modern. Eptima feels robust, with plenty of different ways to customize the way the site looks with widgets and theme options including a social media menu.
As a lite theme, it also has a paid-for premium version with additional features, but non-paying users are unlikely to be disappointed. There’s a wide range of different things this theme can do, especially if you have your own slider plugin.