Looking for theme which doesn't require visual composer (or similar)

I have worked for many years on a corporate site using the theme 3clicks. It is a page-heavy site, though with quite a few custom post types and other taxonomies. I am not a developer but I have become pretty familiar with Wordpress and using custom markup, css and shortcodes to create the layouts I want, to include lists of linked posts, and so on.

The 3clicks theme is now showing its age and I’d like to upgrade to a new theme – but I don’t want to be stuck with a theme that wants me to use Visual Composer or one of its competitors. I find these awkward and slow, and hard to justify to colleagues who are already familiar with Wordpress. Of course I can disable Visual Composer in any theme I buy, but then I am stuck having to hand-code each layout without the benefits of any support from the theme.

So, what I want is a theme that enables me to design page layouts by adding elements using shortcodes, and then use the theme to customise the appearance of these shortcodes globally. In the past, most themes included this functionality, but in recent years, all the high-end themes seem to assume I will use a visual layout tool and don’t provide any support if I don’t.

Can anyone help with a recommendation? Or better still, a way to filter those themes that don’t use VC?


Did you ever find a good solution to this? I am also using 3 Clicks and with the latest Wordpress updates it’s no longer supported, some items can no longer even be edited (sidebars).