Once you’ve done it a few times, creating a WordPress theme isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming. You often have to trawl through lots of code adding and modifying bits here and there. I used to choose a simple theme as my starting point, if you choose a complicated theme to start with then you’re just making life more complicated for yourself.
Now people are taking this method further, rather than just using a simple theme as a starting point for creating a new template, there are dedicated ‘framework’ themes which only contain the code necessary for the theme to work. This way you can start with the framework and build your theme around it. Obviously you’re going to be relying a lot on the framework so selecting the best one will be important. I’m going to go through a few WordPress frameworks in this post.
WordPress Starter Theme
You might also want to have a look at what wordpress.org says about frameworks.
I’d be interested to hear which frameworks are popular and the reasons people like and dislike certain frameworks so that in the future I could do a guide on creating a theme with the most popular framework.