When designing a website for a client, a designer needs to make many decisions. One decision is whether or not to use a template and just modify it to suit the client’s needs or create the template from scratch. What’s the best choice?
I believe that it is best to create your own. Here are the reasons why: If you design your own, you are more familiar with it. You don’t get lost in an ocean of unfamiliar code and have to spend time searching through it to find something. Also, there could be errors in someone else’s code. Trying to find the error in unfamiliar code is inefficient and time-consuming. It may be better to just make your own.
Integrity is another good reason to create your own. Design it the way you feel works best for the client. This makes it custom and that means you can feel proud of the work you did. Custom work sets you apart from other designers and clients can feel confident that you’ll spend the time treating their project with loving care. Not that there is anything wrong with getting inspired by other designers, but it is beneficial to create your own template rather than modifying a pre-made template.
Sometimes it helps to get a little inspiration that will awaken the design muse within you, a little nudge to get some ideas brewing. Here are some resources I have found to get going:
Inspiration For Design & Layout
The following websites use WordPress, are nicely designed and have great functionality:
Inspiration For Cool Tricks & Added Features
- http://viewportindustries.com/digest (for responsive layout)
- http://www.heymonkeydesign.com (for just all around goodness!)
Resources For Great Templates
If you do decide to base your website design on an existing template and then modify it, here are some good template resources that may be useful:
- “Gridly” by Eleven Themes is a nice grid-based WordPress theme for portfolios: http://www.eleventhemes.com/gridly-theme”/
- “Responsive Theme” by CyberChimps is very popular (with over 1 million downloads!) http://cyberchimps.com/responsive-theme/
Tutorials To Design Your Own Templates
- This is a great beginners Tutorial from Tuts Plus: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/wordpress-theme-development-training-wheels-day-one–wp-22482
- Another Tuts Plus tutorial from static HTML to adding navigation: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/creating-a-wordpress-theme-from-static-html-adding-navigation–wp-34032
- This is a good tutorial for creating a WordPress theme: http://www.wpexplorer.com/create-wordpress-theme-html-1/
- This is a list of tutorials on WordPress, from beginner to creating themes: http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/wordpress-tutorials-designers-1012990
Free Template Sample
“Spacious” by Theme Grill (This one has a nice responsive layout): http://demo.themegrill.com/spacious/
I suggest this one because it is responsive, which is becoming more important these days in order to be viewed correctly on many types of devices (mobile, iPad, etc.). Secondly, I find this layout visually appealing. It is versatile for many kinds of businesses and clients. Also, the code is not very bloated; it has a lot of layout options and a nice slider. Here is an image of this template’s demo:
- This website includes a list of tutorials for creating a WordPress theme: http://rockablethemes.com/wordpress-themes-tutorials/
- Here is a helpful tutorial for creating a portfolio website in WordPress: http://line25.com/tutorials/how-to-build-a-basic-portfolio-wordpress-theme
Here are some sites that list free WordPress templates with responsive design: