There are a lot of choices facing people when looking to purchase or build a new website. How much time do we have to do this? How much money can we afford to spend? How important is it to have a cutting edge design or function vs. how much will we get out of it? All of these are very important questions and deserve serious consideration. For a large company or successful individual, spending the time and money to create an entirely new and unique web property is usually the way to go. It says that your business or endeavor is unique, that you have character and traits that your competition does not and helps to further the brand identity of an organization. But what if you don’t have a big budget, what if your budget is tiny? Are there options for a small budget that can produce big results?
When MovieStages.com approached us about doing a new website for their small Los Angeles based location referral business they needed a fresh and functional design, but were on a limited budget that prohibited extensive rounds of design and revision before moving into development. They needed a solution that would give them the same outcome of an expensive, custom made web magazine but for about 1/4 the cost and that’s when we proposed the idea of WordPress theme customization. WordPress theme customization is the idea of taking a theme that has been painstakingly designed for mass sale and making customization to the look and feel of the theme in order to produce a new design. For the most part, the structure and layout of the website will be the same, but by knowing what elements to change a skilled designer or developer can take a pre-made theme and make it look like a totally unique design. This option saved thousands of dollars in design costs for our client and allowed us to create a beautiful looking site in a very short period of time in order to meet the client’s tight deadline.
Ultimately, as a creative person working in the world of Los Angeles web design there is a point where you have to put aside your ego and desire to build something new and impressive and simply work within the constraints of your client’s budget and limitations. Accepting the situation as it is can go a long way towards inspiring a designer or developer to think outside of the box. Knowing what options are off the table and what options are still available makes the job of producing designs a whole lot easier. In the case of MovieStages.com, when we realized that we had to use a pre-fabricated theme in order to meet our project constraints, we shifted our focus away from trying to figure out a design scheme and started looking for pre-designed themes that would accommodate the needs of our client, and could be customized to reflect their business. It didn’t take much looking before we settled on a highly functional WordPress theme named Periodic, which was designed and built by the awesome and talented Eric Ford of WeArePixel8.
Once we had decided on the theme we wanted to use, the task came to customize it. If you look at the original Periodic theme you’ll notice that it is different in a few big ways from MovieStages.com, and that is very intentional. Like previously stated, even though much of the structure and function of the theme will stay the same (on purpose), by making calculated and strategic adjustments to small parts of the code and imagery you can make big changes. Nobody, except perhaps Eric Ford, would recognize that this is the Periodic theme and anyone viewing the site would assume that it’s a high-end, custom designed website when it reality it’s a high-end theme with customization.
In the end, this worked out to be a great solution. The client got a beautiful website that serves MovieStages.com’s need perfectly, WeArePixel8 sold another copy of their popular theme Periodic, and we were able to create a valuable web property for one of our clients despite the time and budget limitations facing the project. Because we were realistic about this project and identified up front what was off that table, we were able to cut costs and come up with a plan that satisfied the requirements and was still profitable from our end. With WordPress theme customization projects with smaller budgets can still yield big results.