I’ve been looking for a new theme for my blog for months, and found nothing that matched my fairly simple, yet exacting, requirements, so I thought I’d try and build my own.
Now given my rather patchy knowledge of HTML and CSS, and my non-existent knowledge of WordPress I knew this would be tricky – but I didn’t realise quite how tricky.
I tend to read most websites and articles using either Reeder or Instapaper, and that clean, typographically focussed style was what I wanted to realise for my theme.
I started building an HTML prototype and quickly found a number of errm ‘gaps’ in my coding knowledge. My good friend, great designer, and all round splendid chap Richard Wiggins very patiently helped me fill those gaps and get my prototype to the stage where it was time to make it into a WordPress theme.
It’s fair to say I had rather underestimated what would be involved in making my design into a WordPress theme. “I just have to drop a few tags into the right place” I thought to myself. If only it was that easy.
WordPress does have some simple standard tags and elements you can use within a theme, but all are completely non-customisable, and in many places rather bloody stupid. All of the documentation on WordPress.org assumes a much higher level of knowledge than I possess, and again is limited and full of gaps.
All of which led to many moments of despair and pathetic whimpering. But, slowly, and surely I bent WordPress to my will and finally emerged victorious.
Having conquered the beast that is WordPress it was time to revisit the design which still wasn’t quite ‘right’. It was the selection of the wonderful Meta typeface family that finally made it work; specifically the combination of Meta Web Pro for the body and Meta Condensed for the headings.
It was great fun working remotely with Richard whose IM messages of “Make it blue! Make it blue!” transformed key elements of the design. Of course it was even more fun working over a beer or several in his local pub; beer being something I owe Richard rather a lot of now.
Richard then took over and finalised the design adding the real polish including the lovely navigation arrows you see to the sides of your screen, unless you are on an iPhone then they magically appear at the bottom. Which is because Richard also applied his responsive web design magic to my humble design adding yet another layer of shizzle.
If it hadn’t been for Richard’s help and encouragement this redesign would never have seen the light of day. He’s a brilliant designer – hire him NOW.
There are still a few old posts I need to tidy up but I’m very happy to be able to launch my new design.