WordPress Design Themes – Designer Tips
WordPress blogs are all the rage these days. No wonder that there are over 17 million using this platform out there. It's because they offer the best plugins and widgets. They do everything you can think of that can be done on the web. Most are free. (From here out I am referring to the blog platform that is from WordPress.org (WP)).
You can find themes that go with WP from many websites. Many are free and some are for a fee. I have tried several and like Genesis framework and their child themes, but have found that most of them can be customized.
Once you download a theme, check out the WP-admin and see if they offer the ability to customize any of the elements within it. Some will have areas to upload a designed header, or change the background.
One of the best ways to change any theme is to access the EDITOR. Normally the STYLE.CSS will pop up. That is what controls the entire look of the theme. If you look in the CSS coding you can see color codes, where you can change them if you know the six digit color code. Doing this can make what's a commonly used themes into an exclusive look just for you.
What I like to do is first design the header. Make sure you design it according to the dimensions specified within the theme documentation or in the style.css. I then pull the colors of the rest of the page from the header, so it's cohesive and matches well. Normally it's good to have two or three different colors that compliments each other used within the design.
You can scroll down on the CSS and see all the elements. It's best not to change any of the coding if you do not know CSS, but it's okay to change any of those six digit color codes. You can change things like hyper links, visited and hover, headers (h1, h2, h3, etc), search bar, and color codes of different areas of the blog. Most themes have these wellmarked.
If you do not quite know your way around the stylesheet, look up CSS coding (there are many free tutorials about this) and try to find out what terms control each area. A good theme although will have these areas noted with the forward slash "/" followed by asterisks "***" and may say BODY or PRIMARY NAV or SUB NAV. If you're still not sure, just change a color and go look at a published page to see what area was changed.
Most importantly, experiment with different color schemes to find the perfect one for your blog. Need to know color codes, you can find websites that give these by just doing a search.
By Lori Ramsey