Plugin Profile: Design Upgrade for LearnDash

When it comes to must-have plugins for LearnDash, there’s a pretty short list of plugins that can add value to every LearnDash site. Our Uncanny Toolkit for LearnDash is probably one (at well over 20,000 installs), and the Design Upgrade for LearnDash plugin from Escape Creative is another.

The Design Upgrade plugin (by LearnDash guru Dave Warfel) solves a very common need: how do you rebrand and restyle LearnDash elements without knowing much about CSS or having to get deep into LearnDash code? It takes the challenge of restyling potentially hundreds of elements and adds controls to a UI that make everything intuitive.

And it all works really, really well. The free version of the plugin, available at, has over 7,000 active installs and every one of his 36 reviews garnered 5-stars. It gets even more impressive: at the time of writing this article, the plugin had a single ticket over a 2 month period in the support forum. Imagine that, on a plugin running on over 7,000 LearnDash sites, a single user reported a single problem within a 60 day span.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can do with the free version of the plugin.

Design Upgrade for LearnDash

The free version of Design Upgrade for LearnDash adds a lot of value to sites on its own. Even just activating it, before configuring anything, you’ll start to see more consistency and improvements across LearnDash-related buttons, fonts, focus mode, user profiles and more. The styling changes aren’t just for LearnDash either, even in the free version there are some overrides for third party plugins to better align them with LearnDash styles. (That includes some modules, though not all,  in our Uncanny Toolkit plugin.)

Here’s an example of how the free Design Upgrade plugin can change the look & feel of LearnDash elements:

Free Design Upgrade for LearnDash

Design Upgrade Pro for LearnDash

The Pro version of the plugin is where things start to get really interesting.  After all, that’s where support for most of our Uncanny Owl plugins is included!

Dave’s plugin adds support for Uncanny Groups so that buttons, borders and other styles are made more consistent with the styles it applies to other LearnDash elements. Tin Canny support was added recently and includes over 12 design options for customizing front end reports to fit the branding of your LearnDash site. Design Upgrade Pro adds border width, shadow and colour changes to the containers, tables, tabs and charts. All options are available through the WordPress Customizer, so making changes is easy using an interface you already know.

Of course, the Pro version isn’t just about our plugins. Here are some other highlights of what it can do with the core LearnDash plugin:

  • Show or hide course and profile elements
  • Customize course content tables
  • Style the progress bar and buttons
  • Restyle the the course grid, navigation widget, focus mode elements and more

Or, better yet, here’s a video from Escape Creative outlining more of what’s available in Pro:

Who is it for?

The Design Upgrade for LearnDash plugin is really for any LearnDash user, but we think it’s especially useful to novices that aren’t yet that comfortable adding CSS themselves. For developers it can save time too, but it’s the WordPress newbies that are likely to feel most empowered to have an easy to manage the look & feel of LearnDash courses and related elements on their sites.

And as a quick side note, Dave has a pretty great site at that’s full of LearnDash tips and tutorials.

This is not a sponsored post but there are affiliate links in this article. We do just really like Dave’s plugin and the work he does with LearnDash.

author avatar
Ryan Moore Director
Ryan Moore (MA, PMP, BCom) is the Cofounder and Director of Uncanny Owl, creators of Uncanny Automator and a suite of popular add-ons for LearnDash. Since 2013, Ryan has helped thousands of companies add elearning and automation capabilities to their WordPress websites.
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