Avada Theme Customization Specialists

Best Overall WordPress Themes: Jonathan Atkinson at CR3ATIV

Best Overall WordPress Themes: Jonathan Atkinson at CR3ATIV

Jonathan Atkinson from CR3ATIV is our pick for best all around WordPress theme author

Recently, I was building my own WordPress personal blog theme. It’s one of those “when I get to it” projects that I never seem to get to. I wanted to base it on Google Material Design standards, which I really like. I didn’t want to create a crude facsimile of Material Design — I wanted the theme to truly represent methods cited in the Material Design guidelines. While there are a number of projects out there that attempt to follow material design, I didn’t find any I thought would be better than one I started from scratch.

Rare - Google material Design WordPress Theme by Jonathon Atkinson

Rare – Google material Design WordPress Theme by Jonathan Atkinson

Then a funny thing happened: I came across a Twitter post from someone I didn’t know named Jonathan Atkinson, announcing the release of a new theme called Rare. It claimed, like so many others out there, to be a Google Material Design standards WordPress theme. And I have to tell you, my immediate reaction was skepticism.

I was skeptical mainly because I had not found a theme that was even close to GMD standards. Moreover, Rare was being sold on ThemeForest, which I have problems with because of the large number of horribly coded themes sold on their service — themes that hurt my head as a WordPress developer and hosting engineer.

With low expectations, I followed the link over to the web site at CR3ATIV and checked out the Rare theme demo.

I can’t tell you how surprised I was — in a seriously good way.

Rare was not your average overblown, code-obese, plugin infested, re-copied theme I have come to expect on ThemeForest. Yes, it had good looks. Yes, it really did follow closely with material design standards. Moreover, the source code revealed that this was very unlike most Themeforest themes today. I saw immediate signs that this theme followed thoughtful and intelligent coding standards. And skepticism suddenly turned to hope. Could this be a theme author that really knows how to build excellence into a premium WordPress theme?

I had to find out for myself. So, for no other reason than to delve deeper into how it was built, I bought a copy and began a thorough top-to-bottom review of the theme. Angels began singing, the air and the land was clean again, there was no crime, and bullies had suddenly vanished from the earth.

Okay, there were no singing angels and the world is still pretty much the same, but let me tell you: I discovered that Rare is an extremely well-built WordPress theme. It is one of the best I have run across in a very long time. It got me excited enough to check out the rest of Jonathan Atkinson’s nineteen theme offerings, and I was equally pleased with those. I’m glad I finally discovered CR3ATIV and all of these great WordPress themes because, God knows, I have been searching.

Jonathan Atkinson understands how to create themes that follow very important design principles.

  1. The purpose of a WordPress theme is to provide a vehicle for presentation.
  2. The purpose of a WordPress plugin is to provide modules for functionality.
  3. Plugins and themes should never be crudely cobbled together, such as bundling plugins inside the actual theme itself.
  4. A good theme should provide a simple set of base options that can be added to; not everyone wants or needs every possible feature from the starting gate.
  5. Good themes pay close attention to performance and SEO optimizations out of the box.

Jonathan’s themes cover all five of those measures (and others) better than any I have seen in recent memory. He proves you can create a WordPress theme that can be tailored for specific genres (such as business, agency, portfolio, storefront, publishing, and more), that can also follow excellent coding and design standards while providing needed functionality with stunning results that rival any in the industry.

Jonathan Atkinson builds quick loading themes.

Yes, Jonathan’s themes are eye-catching, and easy to customize into something uniquely beautiful. And yes, his themes follow the right design and coding standards. But one of the most critically important differences between Jonathan’s themes and just about every other comparable theme is how fast they load.

Essential 2 WordPress Theme by Jonathon Atkinson

Essential 2 WordPress Theme by Jonathan Atkinson

Tested against very popular themes like Enfold and Avada, with comparable home page demo coming in at just over 1.8MB in size, Jonathan’s themes loaded nearly three times as fast. That’s right, I said nearly three times as fast at 2.1 seconds! And when run on our base shared 512MB Precision Managed Hosted Package, with our normal proprietary server and site performance optimizations, his Essentials 2 theme (at 1.7MB) loaded, on average, in 0.478 seconds. That’s blistering speed for a any WordPress theme, much less one with this level of features.

Jonathan’s themes are that good.

Luckily, there are people like us who have created and customized, maintained, optimized, and rescued themes of all stripes for many years. And we know what to look for in a great theme and a theme author. How often Theme Surgeons has officially recommend a theme author — or even a theme, for that matter — is telling: We never have. Not once.

That is why I am really excited about recommending Jonathan Atkinson’s WordPress themes. And just in case you were wondering, I am working on moving my existing blog over to the Rare theme. I no longer see any sense at all in building my own after discovering Jonathan’s.

To be sure, there are other good theme authors out there. But, increasingly, good theme authors are getting lost in a sea of horrible offerings. That’s why I am so pleased to recommend a great theme author like Jonathan at CR3ATIV; one I know you will be happy with. And no matter what type of business or organization you own or design for, Jonathan is sure to have just the right theme for you. In fact, the biggest problem I have with Jonathan’s theme’s is that I think he should probably be charging more for them than he currently does.


Theme Surgeons LLC did not receive compensation for this review and recommendation. 

John is the founder of Theme Surgeons LLC. He began using and developing on WordPress in 2004 when version 1.2 was first released. He has over 15 years of experience developing web applications and managed hosting experience for WordPress. He is also a writer and historian.