classipress childtheme sketchbook

How to design a ClassiPress Childtheme

Here at wpRabbits we try to take the design of ClassiPress to the next level. For 6 years now, we’re doing cool stuff with the classified ad platform for WordPress, and more cool stuff is coming up in 2015, we promise.

All our themes are ClassiPress Childthemes, this means that we don’t touch the original ClassiPress files. The files we modify are in the “Childtheme folder” and overwrite the original when you activate the theme.

But what does it take to design & develop a ClassiPress childtheme? In this post we’ll show you around in the wpRabbits kitchen ;)

Ideas brought to life

Before writing a single line of HTML, CSS or PHP, we always start with some kind of brainstorm. This could be a simple list in an Excel sheet, or a chat over Skype.

We share ideas and discuss them, and just like any other brilliant idea it needs some time to incubate.

After leaving it for a couple days (sometimes even weeks) even better ideas pop up into our heads and we “update” the original idea.

When we’re all convinced that this is the way to go with the new design, Ruben takes it to his little black book, that’s where the magic happens.

The sketchbook, what would you do without it?

Ideas shared during the brainstorm sessions become touchable when Ruben starts drawing out some first drafts.

A sketchbook or even a whiteboard is so handy when it comes to concepts. You can draw, add notes to some elements, stress some elements that need to stand out, …

The second draft is like a wireframe of the most important templates of ClassiPress: homepage, categories, blog (list), blog (single), dashboard, author page, login, etc.

To give you an idea, ClassiPress has over 20 templates that need to be designed AND coded. That’s plenty of work!

Developing a childtheme isn’t just changing the color of a couple of UI elements

Illustrator time!

After the initial brainstorms and first sketches, it’s time to take the drawings to the table and start with a fresh Illustrator file. It takes quite some time, but it’s here where the design comes to life

Here are some of the childthemes of custom projects:

 

Chopchop, from design to html & CSS

The process from idea to design is quite fun actually, but the real work starts when coding needs to be done.

During this phase we work in an online environment so the team (and potential clients) can follow this work in progress.

The benefit of working this way is that bugs are discovered much faster.

As mentioned before, ClassiPress has over 20 templates and that’s where wpRabbits’ themes stand out from other ClassiPress Childthemes: we give all those templates the look & feel of the new design, not just the homepage, category and ad-detail page!

If you would like to learn more on ClassiPress Childtheme development, check out our checklist!

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