Every now and then, most bloggers get dissatisfied with their theme – the visual part of their blog that makes it look the way it does. Last year, I purchased a theme for the first time – the Pixel Happy theme from StudioPress. I mostly like this them, with one glaring exception. See the white part that the text is on? And the dark aqua border? That’s an image. I tried to change the sides of the image to match the colors I want, but as I’m not very good with photo editing software, and I’m using what I can get for free (aka Piknik), I’m not confident that the border edges are the exact same size nor are they the size I want. So I need to figure out how to separate that so I can have a different colored background from the body area, and put a proper border on there. It would certainly make future edits much easier, and I’ve have the option of a patterned background.
Overall, though, I do like the theme. It had pretty much everything I wanted in a theme, so I bought it. And I’ve been mostly happy with it. But lately, I’d been getting bored. So I went to the StudioPress website to look at what child themes were available, and they had some new ones. I ended up buying the Vintage theme.
This one also had elements that I liked and disliked. I liked the headings in the sidebar, I liked that the header had a little flair to it and that, as an image, I was able to edit it to put my blog title on it. Also, the background and body area are properly separated, so I was able to get rid of the chevron stripes (ugh) and put something else in there. I didn’t like that I was having a hard time with bullets in the sidebars, mainly with my BlogHer ad. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the bullets to indent properly without affecting other sidebar widgets that I didn’t want to indent.
Then I got experimenting. I went to Pattern Cooler and COLOURlovers to play around with patterns and color schemes. I came up with a few that I kinda liked, and tried them out, mostly on my Twitter profile since it’s a quick and easy change there. And I was MEH about all of them.
So, I decided to do some research. I went blog surfing, fast and furious, to see what I liked. I perused the portfolios of design sites to see what struck my fancy. And I realized a few things: I like simpler designs. I like a lightly patterned background, maybe a texture, but something subtle. I like headers with mostly text in them, simple but not plain and maybe with a few embellishments. I like color schemes that use a contrasting accent color. Basically, I like clean, simple but not plain.
I tried, with my limited design skillz, to come up with something on my own. Here’s where I’m at today:
I have 2 shades of the same color, but no contrasting accent color. I have a very plain header, but it’s along the idea of what I want. I don’t have a contrasting accent color. I’m having a hard time with that one – what color, and how do I integrate it into my theme so that it looks decent and not jarring?
That’s where I’m at with the theme. I mostly like what I have so far, but I’d like to find a way to spice it up just a bit. And separate the background from the body so I can edit it properly.
How did you decide which theme to use and what customizations you wanted?