Can you recommend a Wordpress theme designer?
May 27, 2015 5:42 PM   Subscribe

I run a website (link in my profile) about an old computer game series and I'm changing it from HTML to Wordpress. I need a one-of-a-kind Wordpress theme.

I can do all the work of copy pasting the content over, I just need the look of the site updated. It's badly outdated, very Web 1.0, heavily based in JavaScript (which I don't code in; the original site owner made it that way). The color scheme in general is fine but I'd like it to look more modern (okay, like Metafilter's modern theme vs the original theme) and be flexible for more layouts (mobile, etc.) I have an idea of how I want it laid out already, with a left side menu of games and then other links in the header.

I would like a new site logo to go along with the theme. I'm worried I'll get someone on a place like Fiverr that plagiarizes half the logo from other sources, so I'd like a recommendation from someone you know is legit. (Not saying I'd actually shop ON Fiverr, just that I'm worried I'll find someone who works like those folks.) I'd be delighted if the Wordpress theme designer also made the logo so it all goes together.

The site makes just enough ad money to cover its hosting (i.e. about $100 a year) so anything I pay will be out of pocket. Do you think $200 is a sufficient budget for a OOAK theme and logo? If not, can you give a ballpark of what you'd expect to pay?
posted by IndigoRain to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I hate to disappoint, but you'd be looking at at least 3 up 10 times that for a custom-designed theme and logo from a decent designer who does good work, depending on the scale of the site.

I'd strongly recommend going with a free theme from someone like Anders Noren or a paid theme from a good theme house like Array (two of my favorite theme houses these days). There are, of course, literally thousands of other choices out there, that, while not 1-of-a-kind, will be far less hassle than trying to get a custom one created for the lowest possible budget.

That would leave the $200 for a logo, which would probably be plenty.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:25 PM on May 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

(Example: I charge $150 an hour, generally, for Wordpress stuff, which is mid-high rates for that kind of stuff. A completely custom theme from scratch, depending on the complexity and requirements, would run at a very minimum 10 to 15 hours or so of chargeable work.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:29 PM on May 27, 2015

Response by poster: I would happily accept premium theme websites as long as the seller will tell me how to make a change if I can't figure it out. (Remove a sidebar, etc.) That said, I'm fluent in HTML and CSS and am usually happy to experiment.

Also I still need logo designer recommendations.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:46 PM on May 27, 2015

I'm in the middle of a redesign of my fairly large blog. In the process of gathering quotes for the design, I got quoted $3000-$6000 for the project, and I know other bloggers who've paid upwards of 10k for their redesigns. No one quoted by the hour but for other hourly work I've hired out for, $75/hr seems to be pretty typical. So no, $200 probably won't get you a custom website. However, it sounds like your needs are fairly modest and any number of pre-built themes might work, since you don't need any e-commerce functionality or anything like that. In addition to the sites mentioned by stavros, you can browse themeforest, which has a huge number of free and premium themes. If you know HTML and CSS you're probably golden on most customizing, and if you go with a larger, well-supported theme like Avada or X theme you'll have access to lots of support docs, tutorials, and can file a ticket if you have problems.

What kind of logo are you looking for? I found my person through Pinterest--I found a hand-drawn quote I liked, contacted the artist, and commissioned him to make my logo. So if no one here can provide suggestions, that might be one way to approach it. For a gaming website, maybe browse Deviantart and see if you can find some artists there who have the feeling you're going for.

Edited to add: one huge thing this redesign process has taught me is how to be a good client. Meaning, you will have the most success getting a design and logo that you like if you're able to come in with VERY clear directions, be able to articulate your mission, your audience, the mood of the site, provide examples of things you like, things you don't, etc. For an earlier project I treated a graphic designer like a mind-reader and that wasn't successful. Maybe spend some time putting together an inspiration board of logo elements you want and that might help you find success on the first go-round.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 9:21 PM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

For your budget, I'd purchase a theme from somewhere like Elegant Themes or Tesla Themes and then modify it yourself. It should be doable with your skill set! Take advantage of the support forums for the theme you purchased (I can vouch for the support on both of the sites I linked) for more involved modifications. I'm a big fan of the Modular Custom CSS plugin, it has live-preview and has made my life easier many times.
posted by moons in june at 9:31 PM on May 27, 2015

$200 is probably enough to get a custom logo designed. $200 is not even close to enough to get a custom WordPress theme.
posted by toomuchpete at 9:20 AM on May 28, 2015

Paying for design can seem kind of mysterious, so I like to encourage people to think about it this way: What is the value of this design?

Really ask yourself, how much work is this logo going to do? How much money is it going to make for you? Large companies will pay a fortune for a strong identity system that works across all sorts of media and will last for years, decades, or ideally forever. The reason they pay so much is because it will help them build a brand and earn an even larger profit. If the value of a identity is less, then the work doesn't have to do as much heavy lifting, the identity doesn't need to be as robust, and it should cost less.

The thing that comes up when I talk about this to a lot of people is, well, a logo probably won't make them much money or increase readership or anything at all. You should consider that maybe you don't need a logo at all. Maybe just pick a distinctive but not ridiculous typeface and find a wordpress theme. Your site has interesting info for what I expect is a pretty niche audience, and I don't know what effect a logo would have on readership. It might be safer to go without one, a bad logo could potentially turn people off. And, to be brutally honest, for a small, low-paying project that probably won't lead to more future work, it is likely you won't attract the best designers, unfortunately.

I would focus on the site redesign more than the branding for now. Organizing and presenting your content with a focus on better usability is going to be of much higher value to your audience than a pretty icon in the corner. Good luck!
posted by buriednexttoyou at 8:08 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

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