Choosing to customise your WordPress theme
What if you find a WordPress theme you like, but it isn’t quite right? The colours don’t suit your artwork or the font is too formal. No worries, most WordPress themes nowadays are highly adaptable so you can easily customise fonts and colours to suit your needs.
I’ll show you exactly how to swap out colours and fonts for you own choices in Section 2: Building your Artist Website, but for now here are a few pointers to keep in mind when planning the look of your site.
Be careful with colour. Most real-life galleries have white walls as they provide the most neutral backdrop to showcase the art. I would suggest that a white or at least a very muted background allows visitors to focus all of their attention on your work. Vibrant patterns might work well for very specific types of art, but in general should be avoided.
To avoid a clash with your work, consider using a neutral palette for the content area and site background. Text should be dark so as to be easily readable against the background; it doesn’t have to be black, but primary colours should be avoided. Some artists think that having a dark background with light text will help them stand out from the crowd; the truth is that the human eye finds this combination tricky to cope with and you may lose visitors.
A great place to use colour is in your page title, header and site navigation. However, make sure the colours you choose compliment the work on show and don’t distract from it.
The shades in your artwork are a good place to start when looking for colours.
Useful tools for finding colours
Try the colour picker over at W3schools.com. Select a basic colour from the hexagon on the left of the screen, then explore more subtle shades with the strip on the right. Once you have found the shade you are looking for make a note of its Hex value. The Hex value is the code that tells browsers which colours to display on your site; it is made up of a hashtag and 6 characters (letters and numbers).
Another handy tool is ColorZilla; it’s a free add-on for the browsers Firefox and Chrome. If you see colours on other websites that you like the look of, you can use ColorZilla to find out the Hex value for them. It’s also useful for finding out the Hex value of colours in your own artwork. I dragged an image of Daren’s artwork into Firefox and used ColorZilla to find out the hex values for the shades she had used in the piece.
A couple more great resources for playing with and selecting web-safe colours:
Make a note of the Hex value of any colours that appeal to you.
Your website should be consistent in terms of fonts. All the main page content should be in one font over the entire site. Make sure it is big enough and clear enough to be read easily.
Fancier fonts should be reserved for very limited text areas, like your site title, headers and navigation.
You should also try and stick to specific sizes. For such a straightforward site, I would suggest 3 different font sizes: 1 for headings, 1 for sub-headings and 1 for the main content (paragraphs of text). Any more than this and your site will start to look disjointed and unprofessional.
Once you’ve spent a bit of time researching colours and fonts, make a note of the hex values of the colours and the names of the fonts you’d like to use. You may find when you implement them on your site that some of the combinations you’ve chosen don’t feel quite right. That’s no problem; you can easily change things around later on, but it’s important to have a starting place!
Putting it all into action
If you’ve worked your way through all 7 of the tutorials for Planning your Artist Website, congratulations! You now have everything you need to make the next stage of actually getting your website online as painless as possible.