A quick pondering, especially for those that use WordPress, why would you choose to use a pre-made WP theme instead of creating a design yourself? On the flip side, why would you NOT use a pre-made design? I’ve been thinking about this lately when going through blogs I read, I see the exact same theme more than 3x, it’s a touch odd to me. Love to get your point of view!

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posted on August 4th 2009 at 10:08PM CST

I was never one for premades. In fact that’s one of the biggest reasons I didn’t want to use WP at first. I didn’t want my blog to look like everyone else’s. I’m not familiar with WP and knew it would be difficult to come up with something on my own. I was right. Lol.

So there’s my reason for not using them. I like to be different. When people visit my website I’d like them to feel like they’re seeing something different.

C
posted on August 5th 2009 at 12:29AM CST

I don’t use wp, but I have and I think (for me) it was simply easier to tweak a theme to deal with all the php and miscellaneous code. It intimidates me and I’d just not rather even bother.

Sarah
posted on August 5th 2009 at 2:35AM CST

When I used WordPress, I used and edited premade themes to get used to the feel of the theming structure. Once I mastered it, I scrapped the premades and made my own theme. I now use Textpattern, and use my own theme for that.

I don’t like using premade themes. I can design and code websites, so I feel the work should be my own. I guess some people use premades because they either have little or no web design experience or they’re not bothered.

Caity
posted on August 5th 2009 at 10:05AM CST

I am capable of making my own WordPress themes, but I feel that they are not good enough and I always get bored of them after a few days. My design skills need work and I don’t often have the time or patience to sit down and learn more concepts.

Premade themes can be great if they are customizable and you can easily make them into your own. I am using a premade theme right now that comes with a number of skins and psd’s so you can alter them and change it into your own website. I feel it looks more professional than something I could make and I like how it looks.

Good question.

Erin
posted on August 5th 2009 at 11:00AM CST

I don’t like premades because I’m a very picky person. I’ve seen some really nice ones out there, but I like to arrange things so that they suit me best and I’ve never seen a perfect premade layout that I’d like. It’s one of the reasons I avoid livejournal and other such blogging sites. I like to have complete control and fiddle with things myself. Even if it may look to others like I do use premades because my recent layouts have all been so simple, I spend a lot of time arranging things how I like them.

Also, it’s kind of a pride thing.

posted on August 5th 2009 at 2:08PM CST

So far it seems like most everyone is in agreement that we like the creativity of our own designs, rather than pre-made “themes” or designs. I can see where starting with a theme and “tweaking” it can be helpful to learn the code.

When I moved from EE to WP, I used the WP Codex to help me re-create my design from top to bottom. I think my own personal “issue” (I really like quotes today huh!) is that I can almost always immediately tell when a site is using a WP theme, regardless of any customizations. Which brings me to Lisa Marie’s comment in that I also want any visitors (those who aren’t reading via RSS) to not think, “Ahh she’s using WP”, just by the LOOK of the site. I hope that makes sense?

Also, I think that it’s easier to learn any type of CMS or blogging software is to go from ground up. Tweaking a design slightly isn’t really helping you LEARN the software. I think doing it the “hard” way really immerses you in the new template system of whatever software you use.

Caitlin
posted on August 5th 2009 at 2:54PM CST

I use premades, but I always attempt to find ones that I haven’t seen used on 8000 sites before. I especially do not use any that are on blogs that I frequent. I don’t know code, and I’ve never been that good at tweaking themes to fit my tastes, and I’m REALLY not that great at designing graphics (It’s very very hit or miss.) so pre made themes are pretty much my only option.

I would LOVE to be able to learn and retain the knowledge required to make my own themes, but I really just don’t… care? It’s not something that’s super important to me right now.

Jenn
posted on August 5th 2009 at 3:13PM CST

I refuse to use pre-mades for jenn.nu. jenn is my baby, my personal site, my “everything” on the internet, hah. So I want to put my own creativity and energy into its design!

For some of my other sites, such as my product review blog, I’ll sometimes use pre-mades, simply in the interest of saving time, but I still tweak the hell out of them to make them more personal.

posted on August 5th 2009 at 3:50PM CST

I’m perfectly capable of making my own designs, and usually I’m pretty happy with them. But lately I’ve been using tweaked/customized premades on Lianhua because my job makes me absolutely sick of looking at HTML and CSS. I sit and futz with it for hours on end at work, and when I get home it always seems that the last thing I want to do is futz with it more — especially without the benefit of being paid to do it.

Maybe when things slow down at work a little (HAH like that’s ever going to happen, this is what I get for working for a web company!) I’ll be up to making my own theme again. I have some ideas floating around and scribbled down in various places, but just no desire/motivation to work on them at all.

Angel
posted on August 5th 2009 at 4:01PM CST

I absolutely abhor using premades and I dislike the fact that I’ve been using two for the past few months. It’s ridiculous. There’s always some flaw in them and it’s just not a wonderful as using my own theme. I can’t wait to have my new theme up and coded.

posted on August 5th 2009 at 7:37PM CST

I use pre-mades because I don’t really have a clue how to make my own. I really want to learn, and have even tried a few times, but I cannot find a tutorial that can teach me! I am not good at self-learning, especially computer related things, but many of the tutorials online are outdated. I do know a little regarding PHP and CSS through tweaking pre-mades, but nowhere near enough to create my own themes.

posted on August 5th 2009 at 11:13PM CST

I was pondering this while regretting the decision to, you know, WALK today heh, that I really am not liking the term “theme”. All websites are generally made of CSS, XHTML (hopefully), and some graphic design. Throw in some WordPress templating and it’s suddenly a theme.

I can totally understand having problems with the graphic design part, but the actual coding is fairly easy. It doesn’t take a lot of XHTML/CSS to whip up something fancy/pretty/etc.

When it comes to WP specifically, most everything is contained in four files. Header, Index, Sidebar, and Footer. I sense I am rambling here so I am going to quit while ahead lol but it may be something for me to consider considering how fast I “converted” from EE’s system to WP to whip up a tiny tutorial for kicks.

Brent
posted on August 6th 2009 at 12:12AM CST

I was never one for premades either. I think some people really just don’t care about what it looks like, and try to focus more on their content. I love creating something from start to finish, so I’d never use a premade theme.

P.A.
posted on August 6th 2009 at 2:22AM CST

I don’t use premades because I love love love to DESIGN!!!! I love the challenge and satisfaction of conquering WP as well (which has never been intuitive to me). I loop it and import just what I need.

I also love to create original layouts that incorporate all of the useful necessary items of a site in unusual but still user-friendly ways.

Yeah, I love to design :P

Damita
posted on August 6th 2009 at 5:10AM CST

I use pre-made because I haven’t had chance to give making a wordpress theme ago (I think I did it once but there was already a template), I really need to learn PHP as I will need it for next year of uni :)

I do want to give it ago, just don’t know how or where to start, I love yours btw!

Terri
posted on August 6th 2009 at 6:47AM CST

I’m the same as Caity – I like making my own, but I often feel I can’t get the ‘right look’, or I get bored very quickly with it and then can’t be bothered making another. It’s either that, or I just don’t have the time.

posted on August 6th 2009 at 1:40PM CST

lol I don’t know if I am going to be able to keep up with the comments!

Hmm from what I gather some of you associate creating a design or “theme” with having to know how to code PHP. I guess it’s really again, two seperate parts. Design and Coding (graphic design, XHTML, CSS), and then the WP template system.

It also brings up another question to me, what brings you to a blog in the first place? The content or design? Personally the design sucks me in first, then the content. Naturally the content has to be good to KEEP visitors, especially in our day of the glorious RSS Feed lol, but just to get you to stick around to READ the content in the first place, I am all about the shiny.

Leslie
posted on August 6th 2009 at 10:30PM CST

I use pre-mades as a base and personalize them for myself. I’m not good enough with WordPress to code my own sites.

C
posted on August 7th 2009 at 8:28AM CST

Oh, I think I understand the seperation of design/coding but for me, WordPress doesn’t seperate them well enough. I also think EE does a lot of stuff out of the box that WordPress requires plug-ins for which I just can’t be bothered about. I guess some if it is that I’m too lazy to learn another system and because EE does what I want it to in a way that is organic for me, I ALWAYS go back to it.

posted on August 7th 2009 at 5:36PM CST

@C, I agree, EE does a lot of stuff out of box that I wish WP would do and vice versa. I do miss the member module, the easy template system/weblog system. However WP is a lot more “friendly” in terms of the user/fan base, most of what I want to do is out there, via plugins, heck stuff I didn’t even know I wanted to do, there’s a plugin for it lol.

@Damita that is FANTASTIC!! If you need any help or advice lemme know!

@Leslie, I know I repeat myself, but I swear it’s two different “issues”. Graphic design / CSS / XHTML and THEN WordPress itself. WordPress doesn’t do design and design doesn’t automatically work with WP. I hope that makes sense?

Damita
posted on August 7th 2009 at 10:59AM CST

I managed to make my own wordpress layout :) Ha ha, I tried today, its half done so far but I am pleased all because of your post!

Kristina Brookr
posted on August 9th 2009 at 12:48AM CST

When designing for custmets, I do so from scratch uless they ate on a tight budget. Fort on site I use a premade because I never have to complete my own theme.

Kristina Brooke
posted on August 9th 2009 at 10:10AM CST

Forgive my many typos in my previous cooment. Learning to type on a iTouch. I was trying to say that I design for a living so when it comes to my site I use premades that I tweak. I started a design from scratch for myself but never seem to have time to finish.

Simon
posted on August 15th 2009 at 4:54AM CST

I have always designed my own themes for my website. Photogabble has had a good few douzen over the past few years. However I like my current one too much to overhaul it with a new one – the past year I have simply made it better (in my eyes).

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