on May 14, 2006
A few days about I mentioned that Cineris has started a new blog. It now has a name, and the author is going through the process of picking out a visual theme for the site. This is always tough. Since you shouldn’t change the theme of your site very often, this is a bit like picking out an outfit to wear for the next couple of years.
There are hundreds – maybe even thousands by now – of WordPress themes. Generally I divide themes into two broad categories:
For this site I’m actually using a very modified version of the WordPress Default Theme. It looked simple and I liked it, and I thought, “I’ll just put some dice at the top and I’ll be done!”
I’ve been tinkering with it ever since. I thought all I wanted from a theme was easy to read and mildly attractive, but as I used the site I realized there were all sorts of things I wanted the site to do. I wanted a little icon for each category. (If this has been a group blog, I would have made this an icon for the author. I HATE reading a group blog and not knowing who I’m reading until I get to the end of the post!) I wanted a broad horizontal bar to seperate one post from the next. I wanted to put all the post info (who wrote it, when it was written, what category it’s filed under, etc) to be contained within that bar, so that isn’t mixed up with the interesting content, but so that its available.
At first I had a calender, but I realized it was sort of useless. It’s not like I’m doing current events here. I’m writing about years-old anime and videogames, so who cares when it was written? For the most part you could swap the posts between any two months and it wouldn’t change a thing. Try that on a political blog!
I’ve made so many changes that I think I’ve replaced just about every aspect of the original theme. Every time I think the look is “done” I manage to come up with a few more adjustments. I actually think this steady evolution is better than trying to find the perfect theme right off the shelf. If I had to start over, I’d take the same approach: Find something simple and easy on the eyes, and tinker with it until I have something that fits the needs of the site.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.