While the design of the admin dashboard and the back-end of WordPress has improved dramatically in recent updates, moving from a heavy use of beveling and embossing in an attempt to create a sense of depth, through to embracing the current trend for flat user interfaces, there is still more you can do to make the admin area your own.
In today’s post we will take a look at some of the best WordPress admin themes out there to show you what can be done by choosing an off the shelf admin theme for your site’s dashboard.
WordPress Admin Themes
As well as transforming the front end of your WordPress website with a theme, you can also do the same to the back-end admin dashboard of your site by making use of an admin theme.
While fewer people are going to see the admin dashboard and back-end pages of your website than the front, if you are running a multi author blog then there can be some benefits of giving this part of your site a makeover.
Also if you are creating sites for clients, being able to put your own personal touch on the admin area can decrease the chances of your clients forgetting about you after handing over the website, while also increasing the like hood of them getting back in touch for more work or referring your services to others.
Adding custom logos and a bespoke look and feel for the WordPress UI might even be a requirement from some clients. This makes it’s worth being aware of the different options out there that can help you to quickly implement such a request.
The benefits of changing the appearance of the admin area of a WordPress site includes:
- Make it more visually appealing
- Add your own branding
- Simplify the interface by remodelling the dashboard
- Include additional features and functionality
- Match the front end design with the back-end design for a consistent user experience
By installing one of these admin themes you can create your own color schemes, edit the colors of the individual aspects of the dashboard area, add your own logo and branding, and also give the login page a custom look and feel.
To help you find the right WordPress admin theme for your project, here are some of the best options:
Forest gives you lots of options for customizing the dashboard of your website, from selecting from over 400 Google fonts, through to using the color picker to find any color you want.
You can also upload any background image of your choice, helping you custom-brand the admin area on your WordPress site. Six free background images are included to help you get started until you find or create the perfect one for your website.
With Forest you can also give the WordPress login screen a refresh and add your own custom logo for a consistent back-end user experience. There are two color schemes to choose from: default light and dark flat; alternatively you can choose your own colors using the color picker.
While the new flat UI for WordPress that was released with version 3.8 of WordPress has taken some of the wind out of this admin themes sails, it’s still a good value choice for anyone who wants to add their own background images and tinker with the fonts used on the dashboard and its menus.
While the flat UI trend is showing no sign of slowing down, with Apple, Google, and Microsoft all fully embracing this approach to design wholeheartedly for their apps and operating systems, and despite WordPress already adopting a flat UI for the dashboard, this admin theme takes things to the next level and combines the minimal trend with the flat aesthetic to great effect.
The result is very slick and pared back look that belies the overstuffed admin dashboard of WordPress and its plethora of menus, sub menus, and menu items.
Although you still get access to the same set of options and menus as you would with the default WordPress admin theme, the user experience feels a lot lighter and less overbearing. The overall look might be a little too plain for some, but if you do value the less is more approach then Micropanel 2 is a good choice.
Although it’s been possible to change the colors of the WordPress admin dashboard since the release of version 3.9, this theme allows you to go further and rebrand the back-end using your own colors.
By using the colour pickers, or by entering the colours codes, you can choose the specific colours for the individual aspects of the dashboard, such as the selected area’s colours, link colours, button settings, and upload a custom dashboard logo.
These options all combine to make Retina Press a good option for white labelling the WordPress dashboard and replacing the WP branding with your own, or that of your clients. For those administrating their site on the next generation of high quality retina displays, this theme will also make the dashboard pop and stand out on the high-resolution screens.
This admin theme takes the flat UI concept and runs with it in order to give your WordPress admin area a clean and modern look.
Once this theme is installed, you will get the opportunity to remove any WordPress branding from the login page and the dashboard area, and replace it with your own, or that of your client. This can help set a consistent look and feel for the entire site.
By making your front end theme of choice match the color used in the back-end, you can prevent that jarring feeling new WordPress users experience when logging in to their site for the first time, and witness the disconnect between the two sides of their website.
Other features of the Rebrand WordPress Admin Theme include a retina ready design and a responsive layout for small screen devices.
This is free WordPress admin theme that has been built on the popular Twitter Bootstrap for a fully responsive layout. This means that not only does your dashboard get a makeover, but it will also works just as well on a range of screen sizes.
While the Bootstrap Admin theme doesn’t yet offer rebranding of the admin area on a WordPress site, it does deliver a clean user experience. However, since the switch to a flat UI by default, from WordPress version 3.8, this theme doesn’t have the wow factor it would’ve had in the past, when used with earlier versions of WordPress.
However, if you want to give your admin area a new look for a free, this plugin is a good choice.
While the WordPress admin interface does currently have a fairly modern and clean look and feel, there is no doubt that these admin themes can improve it, while also giving you the option to rebrand the dashboard.
Branding the dashboard might be a requirement from a client, or just something you prefer to do in order to create a consistent look that stretches from the visitors facing, front end of the website, right around to the back-end, admin user facing dashboard.
If you do decide to give your WordPress dashboard a makeover, these admin themes are easy to use and give you plenty of scope for getting the right look and feel for your website.