Want to design a popular WordPress Theme? Then you better take a look at what Chris Pearson is doing. He knows the secret of designing a popular theme.
Chris is arguably the most popular and successful WordPress Theme designer in the short history of blogging. Press Row, Cutline, The Copyblogger Theme, Neo-Classical, and now Thesis, have all struck a resounding chord with the WordPress community. It’s impossible to find a blogger that hasn’t run across at least 1 of these 5 themes and admired them.
What’s his secret? Why are his simple-looking themes more successful than others? Can any theme designer duplicate his success?
The Pearson Principle
Yep. They can, you can, anyone can. I’ve reduced Chris Pearson’s Theme design ethos to a simple maxim that can be adopted and used by anyone. I’ll call it the Pearson Principle. Here it is.
Bloggers want powerfully simple design on an equally robust framework.
That’s it. Give a blogger what he wants and your WordPress Theme Design will be talked about, downloaded, and wildly successful. It’ll also help a lot of people out which, trust me, is really what it means to be successful. Unfortunately, while it’s simple enough to state, it’s not that easy to do. There’re 2 big snags in that statement: powerfully simple design and the equally robust framework.
Powerfully Simple Design
Powerfully simple design is really, really hard to do. Like, crazy hard. Fail at it and you have something that looks like it was designed in Microsoft Word or maybe a wire-frame of a future project. Though if you succeed you’ve made something timeless. Bloggers want to see themselves in a WordPress Theme. A good simple design makes room for them to project their self into the design, their future plans. A powerfully simple design tells them they have no other choice but to make their home there.
An Equally Robust Framework
And the framework supporting this design needs to be equally robust. What I mean by framework is a little slippery though. To get at what I mean by framework think of an actual framework, like for a house. Or better yet, think of the 3 Little Pigs. Chris Pearson’s themes are built out of brick and bloggers can tell right away. Over time, Chris has added some decoration and extra rooms to his brick house, sure, but he went and made the walls 6 feet thick.
Want to know more? Study Chris Pearson’s masterworks in blog theme design. Study how these themes have been presented to the blogging community. And finally, study Chris’ community, the bloggers that use his themes. You’ll be a better theme designer for it.