I’ve had several people ask how I created my blog theme here, who I paid, etc. And I’ve decided to reveal my “big secret” – it took me 20 minutes to customize my blog theme. I’m serious, granted it took me at least 20 minutes to choose my base theme but after that I spent the same amount of time customizing it and it was done. So – do you want to know how to do it?
- Choose your base theme. This was definitely the hardest part for me, I selected at least 15 themes from the WordPress.com database and eventually settled on Clean Home by Mid Mo Design. It’s a free theme but it had a simple design and one killer feature I was looking for – a background separate from the main content background. This is how I’ve got the grey logo behind everything, and white behind my text.
- Choose your colour scheme. If you’re not 100% confident on your ability to choose colours then try to stick to a neutral theme. This is why my blog is grey and white with just a hint of blue. I originally had my heart set on purple (it’s my favourite color) – but decided that it might be “too girly” and possibly drive some visitors away from my blog. I like to use Adobe Kuler to play around with the colors and see how they look.
- Create a tileable background or choose a background colour. This was the second hardest part. I actually created my header first as I wasn’t sure about the colors so I did quite a bit of playing around there. If you’re going to make a tileable background I would recommend opening photoshop, making a square canvas and going from there. Check out the dimensions of the image WordPress will want you to upload. In my case it was not a square, so I had to tile the image across the width myself. If you want to keep things dead simple then simply choose a background colour. You can find all of this in Admin->Appearance->Background.
- Create a header. Check out the dimensions WordPress wants for the header in Admin->Appearance->Header and open a canvas that size in photoshop. Play around with the fonts but keep things in black and white until you’ve decided on the font and spacing – then feel free to go a little nuts with the colors.
- Create a favicon. The Favicon is the little box you see next to the post title in your tab/window headline. I simply scaled down the background logo, (to 15x15px) and added some color but you could choose something else. Upload your choice in Admin->Settings->General and voila! Your own Favicon.
I will confess to having used Photoshop for many years and a little experience with design. If you’re in doubt then keep it really simple and just pick one key color and keep the rest in shades of that and/or grey.
Do you have any questions about blog design?