WordPress.com now has an official Theme Team, according to Ian Stewart of said team. There’s an impressive manifesto, starting with:
Every WordPress.com user should feel like there’s a theme that fits them perfectly.
My first reaction was that means highly customizable themes, and some of the discussion in comments on Ian’s post supports that.
Ian also mentions “web standards,” which I of course support. I’m hoping that new themes will also adhere to some kind of “WordPress theme standard.” For example, new themes should all the same html tag for post titles. Consistency would make a lot of things easier: changing themes when you have the CSS upgrade; responding to some of the posts in the WordPress.com forums; applying Typekit to WordPress.com blogs.
I’ll follow the work of the theme team with interest. I’m happy with Simpla, as CSS’d and widget’d for this blog, but I could be tempted by a clean, customizable theme.