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  1. #1
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    As a designer, should I learn how to develop themes?

    Hello everyone! I apologize in advance for any repetitiveness. I will try to make this brief.

    I am a graphic design student right now and have a solid understanding of HTML and CSS with some JS. I am running into possible work where the projects entail creating sites for clients that obviously want to be able to update their sites on their own. We all know the solution for that...

    Problem is: I feel like learning php and wordpress is a huge mountain to climb and a possible waste of time for someone like me. I am a senior by the way and time is of the essence. I don't believe i will pursue a freelance career in doing WP development/design but at the same time I want to complete good work to build a portfolio and get some sites under my belt.

    Thank you very much, I appreciate any feedback on this problem.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot robinInTexas's Avatar
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    I would suggest starting out by hacking/modifying an existing theme and playing around with some plugins.

    The Hello Dolly is a simple plugin that will help get started learning how plugins work.

    The Twenty Ten theme might be a good starting point.

    If you want to just get stuff done, you can roll the dice inexpensively at fiverr.com. If you hit one out of two, you've got $50 worth of work done for $10
    Robin
    Find out how to get More Money at this URL

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot TexasBob's Avatar
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    I generally end up learning only a little more than I need to solve my clients problems and then extending what I know as I go along.

    So before I started doing a lot of WP work (which is most of what I do lately), I learned how to setup a wp site. At that point I just customized other folks themes. Then I learned to do themeing myself, and found some more work doing PSD-WP conversion. Now that I've been doing a lot of themeing, I'm learning how to do more complex things like create plugins, and I forsee even more work doing that.

    FWIW, wp is really, really easy to theme compared to Drupal or Joomla, and I find that there is a big call for it where I live. If you already have a real understanding of html/css/javascript, then getting a basic understanding of php and how to create a wp template shouldn't be that big a process. I recommend the lynda tutorials for this stuff.

    But it all comes down to how much of a need you foresee for this stuff. I do a lot of work for designers who can't or don't want to code a site, and they are happy and make money without having to learn this stuff.

    But at the same time, I have okay design chops but find the money and volume of work for development a lot more attractive. Its all a very personal kind of decision. I am a lot more employable as a WP dev than as a designer, but that might just be a comment on my design chops

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast cluongo's Avatar
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    The good thing about Wordpress is you can get by with BASIC php knowledge. To convert an HTML/CSS theme to Wordpress basically requires you to replace some of your static HTML content with dynamic PHP that is already created for you.

    Trust me, learning the basics of Wordpress on it's own is very easy. Theming a basic HTML/CSS theme for Wordpress is also easier then it seems. I believe its a skill well worth your time to learn. Whats the worst that happens? You learn a little PHP, learn how to use Wordpress, gain some knowledge on how you can make a website more dynamic. Which is VERY helpful.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Member liquidair's Avatar
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    If you already know html and CSS then I would suggest that more time invested in a basic knowledge of WP would be a good investment.

    Dave.


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