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Let’s build a Portfolio theme, together!

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Being a web designer is something that puts a smile on my face every morning, but being a web designer who gets to choose what he’s going to design next and how, it’s something more. It’s “Eudaimonia“!
That is so true, except when I get to design a Portfolio Theme and here are some good reasons:

a. My portfolio is always outdated.

It’s like when you are a gadget addict, you always want to get the newest gadget. You can’t simply be happy with iPhone 4s because hey, we have iPhone 5 now and even if 4s is a great phone, you need iPhone 5.
Same goes for a web designer too. It is unrelated if I have designed my portfolio a month ago. When I am designing a new WordPress Theme that happens to be a portfolio, I want -no wait- I need a new portfolio for myself.
And what’s the most difficult thing for a web designer to do? Design his own website because he is never happy with the result.

b. Plethora of Portfolio WordPress Themes.

One look at Themeforest or at a different Theme marketplace will convince you that there are thousands of portfolio themes and the best of them are pretty similar to each other. It makes perfect sense, because people are looking for a specific set of features in a portfolio theme. This is making my job 100 times more difficult because I need to find a way for my portfolio to be different from all these portfolios out there, but still keep those characteristics that people want and at the same time, keep the design a bit generic because “hey, it’s a Theme, it’s meant for a lot of people that are going to alter it for their needs”.

What a headache! Why not design a blog or a Car Wash Theme? And then it hit me. An inner voice spoke to me. “Share your designs with our friends, our readers, our members. Start an open discussion”.
Ok, it wasn’t an inner voice, it was Gerasimos but still, that is a great idea.

So here I am, starting a series of posts about the next portfolio WordPress Theme which is going to be a result based on your needs and feedback.

I’m going to start with the homepage that consists of a Slider, portfolio items with filtering mode, services, clients and a footer with some social activities like flickr, twitter & latest post from the blog.
As you will see, I have placed a simple icon on each portfolio item – something like tumblr post types – which lets you know the type of work you’re seeing. I have different icons for photography, illustration/images, links and videos.

Portfolio WordPress Theme

Aesthetically speaking, this mockup is using subtle patterns for background and dividers and subtle textures for different areas of interest.

Regarding typography, I chose a Slab Serif typeface (Arvo) for titles and a sans serif (Lato) for the content and followed 3 simple rules that always win.

  • Limit on fonts & weights usage.
  • Consistency on where you are using them.
  • Contrast

I feel those fonts are adding certain characteristics that i wanted to give in this design like boldness and a bit of fun on titles and clarity on the content, plus I haven’t seen this combination being used so much, so I decided to go with it.
You can find both typefaces in the google fonts directory.
Color wise, I chose neutral colors like creme/beige and gray. Neutral colors are always a  safe choice for portfolios because they just lie in the background, letting the artwork stand out and speak for itself.
You need however a color of high contrast for elements of importance, such as icons, buttons & links. That was orange for me, but as you probably already know, CSSIgniter themes always come with more than enough color combinations.

So, help me build a great portfolio WordPress theme as you want it :)
I would be thrilled to hear your thoughts on this first iteration.

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