I’m a hypocrit of sorts

Way back in August 2007 I decided to start my own blog. I have a deep history of using content managed websites from my days of running the nvmax.com website and wanted a place to scribble down my own thoughts about what I was doing. I also wanted to carry on doing reviews for which I had been doing for a long time.

WordPress Blog

The old blog was held together with shoe strings and bubble gum, it was a carved up older theme for which I liked the look of. I’ve never known much PHP so was rather apprehensive about starting to amend and change a theme when I had only started using wordpress. Using wordpress was the first time I had really known what was involved in this thing people called blogging. Browsing the web enabled me to find so many more bloggers, one of which was Matt Brett. I enjoyed reading Matt’s gaming reviews and still do today. Looking and reading Matt’s various posts about wordpress made me more intrigued at how it all worked.

WordPress has come a long way in such a short time, a year has passed since I first started using it and there have been so many noticeable improvements. The interface for the dashboard has changed entirely and even though the differences between 2.6 and 2.7 were so huge, the usability got better with it. There are more plugins than ever before and with the likes of jquery making an ever impressive gut punch into our web world you can do so much more with the front end. It’s now a time for enjoying what wordpress can do, and all though it doesn’t tick every box it certainly covers a lot of them.

I started reading Adii Rockstars blog shortly after Matt Brett’s last year, I can’t exactly remember why I ended up at Adii’s but it may have been after seeing a post about his premium news themes. His premium news theme at the time reminded me so much of nvmax.com that it brought memories flooding back. WordPress as a news theme is tremendous, it is one of its largest uses today.

Fairly recently Adii joined up with Magnus Jepson and Mark Forrester to start WooThemes. They have developed a range of different premium themes which you buy a licence form, of which all a fantastic quality and build. They’ve pulled out all the stops to provide their users with themes which they know they want, some of which have now been used for websites like gomediazine.com.

I’ve learnt a lot about wordpress from Magnus, he seems to hint at what you need to do rather than tell you all the gory details therefore you learn so much more and quicker.

I’M A HYPOCRIT

I am a hypocrit. Why you might be asking. I don’t believe designers should be using a premium theme which they haven’t designed. Yet, I’ve went and done this myself by using the Over Easy Theme. I listed my reasons for using Over Easy in the “why I’m overeasy” post, it was mainly because I was so busy with work and other projects that I couldn’t devote the time I wanted or needed to a new blog design. I am yet to find the perfect life/work balance which I can enjoy the best of both worlds. My old blog theme as I said earlier was held together with shoe strings and bubble gum and the easiest way to fix this was use a premium theme as I trusted the build quality.

I do believe that designers and even some developers should prove their worth as such by working on their own blog (if they have one already).

My overall view is that it would be slightly weird if I was to sit and use a theme designed by Veerle Pieters, Matt Brett or Elliot Jay Stocks rather than doing my own blog with my own unique tastes. I simply do not have the time.

It would be interesting to see what other designers and developers views are?

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Gavin

Lead Interaction Designer at DigitalDWP. Organiser of Industry, The Practical Web Conference..

13 thoughts on “I’m a hypocrit of sorts”

  1. Hello Gavin! Hope you don’t mind my opinion here as I certainly don’t fall within the designer/developer category. However, I do follow several designer’s blogs, and a big reason in that is because of how inspirational I find the site’s design. Matt Brett’s being a prime example (though he does talk about my biggest hobby, gaming, so that’s another reason for visiting the site).

    There are several designer’s sites I’ve come across via Twitter who have been using a theme, and I’ve always thought it’s a very bad form of marketing – especially if you’re a freelancer.

    However, I do sympathise that work prevents such time being spent on personal projects. I’m in the same boat as you, not knowing much about PHP. But for me that was a major incentive in getting my hands dirty with WordPress.

    I hope you do get around to designing your blog some day, as it’s always fun seeing what a designer comes up with when there aren’t the limitations of client requests!

    1. Hey Ash,

      I have been racking my brain for sometime now on how I can make something different. We’re a funny ol bunch us designers, we’re always trying to be better than the last time and if its not better then its not good enough. I’ll be keeping everyone updated on my blog revamp.

      Gavin

  2. Hey Gavin!

    It’s really cool that manage to teach you something about WP 🙂

    As you see with my own site, I also use a modified version of Over Easy, for the same reason as you. I simply don’t want to devote a lot of time to build a uber fantastic theme, when I only do a bit of blogging, and just want to list my portfolio.

    I think the work you do should speak for itself.

  3. I guess my example was a bit of a bad one, since I AM the designer of Over Easy 😉

    Would I use a theme that somebody else made? If I didn’t have the framework from my own themes I would definetly use a theme I like as the base, and then customize the styling like you have done.

    1. Hey Magnus,

      Time is one of the biggest killers for me, most weeks or months are taken up looking after clients that I rarely find time to post never revamp and design my own blog. A hypocritical view for me is that I believe everyone should make time yet I am not doing it myself.

      ho hum.

      Gavin

  4. Hey!

    I’m still on my path to costumize one the WooThemes but I think I can already join discussion ;).

    In my case it’s more an act of laziness but anyway take a look at Magnus personal blog. He is using OverEasy and I don’t see a match between the original and the modified theme.

    I guess it’s a matter of how far you want to go with customizations. If you just want to use it as a framework I don’t think you need to worry about being a hypocrite.

  5. I’m not sure where I stand on this. I think if you’re a designer and you specialize in WordPress themes or CMS implementations then you should have a blog or theme that shows off your work.

    In my case, as Magnus mentioned above, I took an existing theme (actually two themes – Papercut & Fresh News) and mashed the heck out of it. When it was all done I pretty much ended up with a theme that was all my own. I guess I like to see people use premium themes as more of a framework to hang their unique designs on.

    But at the end of the day, it’s all about finding a theme that fits you and works for you.

  6. Interesting post, Gavin 🙂 bit late in the discussion now – but still 😉

    this made me think – I can understand the lack of time – but I have to admit that I couldn’t use any other theme for my site than my own… Somehow I’d feel that would be lazy as well as sending out the wrong message really.
    We never have enough time for our own sites – that is true. I’ve been planning some new themes and a theme switcher for ages and ages now – never enough time. But back when I did finally put WP into place for my own site – I did make time for a weekend to get it done, long hours – no sleep and a bit of a rush – but I’m glad I did 🙂

    saying that – I still really like your site anyway as it is a nice and clean theme 😉
    (though it would be interesting to see what you would do for yourself design-wise:)

    1. Never too late to join a discussion over here, I’m open 24/7.

      A lot of views are very similar and it’s something I used to beat myself up about regularly but when it comes down to it I think freelancers would find it more appropriate to use their own theme. Their websites are full advert where as mine is currently for discussion.

      After writing that post I did however decide to start designing my new blog of which I posted a sneak preview.

      Thanks for getting involved. 🙂

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