ThemeForest Week In Review

It’s been a bit of a mellow week here in the forest but only in terms of blog and forum activity. As always, our amazing authors have been busy pumping out stunning new themes, templates and scripts for just about everything.

So let’s start with this week’s interview with one of ThemeForest’s rising authors, Chris Fay.

Interview With Author Chris Fay (chrisfay)

Chris Fay is one of ThemeForest’s fantastic rising stars with a growing portfolio of really great work. Chris was kind enough to answer a few questions for this week’s interview and here’s what the author had to say.

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Q #1: When creating a new template for ThemeForest, what aspects are top priority and why?

A: “My top priorities would be to deliver something with originality, that’s highly functional, wrapped within a beautiful package. If I can do all three of those things well then I feel great about my design and confident others will too. I’d say my top priority is finding an effective harmony between my own style, the high expectations set by ThemeForest, as well as the demands of our buyers and the market in general.”

Q #2: What tips for success can you share with our readers that you feel have contributed to your success?

A: “Be a sponge and an angry sponge, determined to consume, utilize, and build upon as much information as you can possibly get your spongy little hands on. With so much fantastic content delivered through Envato and its community, as well as other blogs/sites/resources, the tools are all around you to be an amazing designer. All you have to do is harness them with a fury and desire like no other.

Listen to the reviewer’s criticism when your theme is denied and take it seriously without getting offended, focusing on sharpening your skills moving forward instead. Browse through showcase sites noting the designs you really like and try to reproduce the design and structure and don’t copy, but store away the tricks and methods you learn for use in your own designs. Try to one-up your last design with everything you’ve learned and then some.

Finally, be passionate about what you’re doing and give each design everything you’ve got.”

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Q #3: What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

A: “Of the many things I like about theme design, my favorite is probably the freedom to create under my own terms, on my own time. I enjoy the ability to choose color schemes of my taste, layout options, Javascript functionalities, all melded together the way I feel it works best for potential buyers.”

Q #4: Outside web design and development what other interests do you have?

A: “When not designing or coding for ThemeForest or my own consulting business, most of my time is spent with my wife Jennie and our two kids and both are three and under, which does a good job keeping my hands full. I’m in the last semester of a degree in software engineering so that competes for my time as well. I love to read books that consume me for days, whether fiction or the latest guide to some new language or framework and something I wish there was more time for.”

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Q #5: What are three of your favorite features used in websites?

A:

  1. Effective use of model boxes for elements such as login panels and basic forms
  2. Fun use of typography and big text, creative font combinations and colors and I love browsing designs that have nailed it
  3. Social integrations and I love that sites are mashing up all types of content through the various services, making sites much more fun and content rich to view, and fun to create!

Q #6: What are some tips or words of wisdom you would like to share with our readers?

A: “More than anything, be passionate about your work and stay motivated to learn new techniques, styles, and tricks and always strive to create something better than the last. Read everything you can and get your work in front of as many other designers as possible, building from their suggestions and criticisms along the way. ThemeForest has taken me from amateur designer status to a level I never thought I’d reach so quickly, due in part to the great community, excellent resources they provide, and just an all around obsessive dedication to improvement. If you’re new to TF hang in there, the community and staff will help you succeed without a doubt!”

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Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Chris!

Check Out Chris Fay’s Portfolio

Chrisfay-portfolio

Notable Additions to the Forest

Here are eight fantastic new items that have been added to the ThemeForest marketplace over this last week.

[PSD] Picco – The Portfolio Template

Picco - The Portfolio Template

“This is very easily customizable portfolio template.”

[PSD] Ambition PSD Theme

Ambition

“Ambition is a Premium PSD theme. It can be use as a creative or a corporate website.”

[HTML] London Creative + ( Portfolio & Blog Template )

London Creative + ( Portfolio & Blog Template )

“London Creative + comes with fully working contact form, awesome slider for your featured images, nasty spinning slider buttons (never saw them anywhere else, so you can call it unique), 2 message buttons under the slider and PrettyPhoto plugin (better clone of Lightbox).”

[HTML] Coming Soon Under Construction 02 4 Skins

Equinox

“This is a slick and easy to use placeholder for your website. The logo is easy to change with your own and setting up the countdown timer as well as the progress bar is a breeze. The progress bar can automatically calculate (after you input the start and finish dates) the completed percentage or you can hardcode the percentage yourself.”

[WordPress] Archeronne Wordpress Theme

Acheronne

“This theme is great for bloggers and for people who wish to showcase their portfolio. Its a minimal design with a nice modern feel that comes with 5 different colour schemes and the ability to easily create your own.”

[WordPress] The Furniture Store – WordPress eCommerce Shop

The Furniture Store

“Designed especially for online shops The Furniture Store features a plugin free localized ecommerce system, a membership area, creating and saving a wishlist, an informative customer service area, unique ‘Shop by…’ widgets, lots of independent widget ready areas and sooo much more!”

[Javascript] Ajaxy

Ajaxy

“Ajaxy is an unobtrusive, degradable and accessible Ajax integration solution. Ajaxy helps you to produce entire Ajax-driven websites, similar in functionality to Facebook and Google Mail.”

[Misc] Hellicious

Hellicious

“Complete blog and showcase easy to manage via admin panel.”

More Great ThemeForest Items

These are some seriously great templates, themes and scripts but don’t forget that there’s lots more! View them here!

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Blog Review

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This week’s fantastic blog posts.

Web Roundup

There’s a tremendous amount of information on the web and it’s not always easy to find the cream of the crop. Here are some great tutorials and articles from around the web that are definitely worth checking out.

Easy Website Updates with PageLime

Easy Website Updates with PageLime

PageLime makes the process of editing static websites laughably easy. There are times when a full CMS like WordPress is far too complicated when only simple edits are required – not to mention the fact that a static template must first be modified accordingly to work with WordPress. Wouldn’t it be easier if your current static website could instantly be integrated with a service, without requiring hours of conversion time? This is where PageLime comes in.

In today’s video tutorial, we’ll go through the process of purchasing a site template on ThemeForest, and then integrating that specific template with PageLime, resulting in a website which is super easy to update…even for your mom.

7amp

7AMP – Creating a Development Environment

Running a local development web server is one of the best ways of learning AJAX; reading up on it is one thing, but being able to pass the raw data back and forth between a browser and a server is really the only way to truly understand what is happening at a fundamental level. To create the dynamic and interactive apps and sites that we’ve come to know and love, you need a development server.

On Windows systems we really have only a few decent options available; we can use Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS), which is usually bundled with Ultimate or Business versions of Windows, or we can use Apache, the extremely popular open-source alternative. Remember when Microsoft enjoyed a 90% market share of the browser market? Apache is the MS of the web server world and at some points in its illustrious history has enjoyed almost total domination in its respective field.

CodingWebDesign

Coding a Web Design for Speed and Quality

The beauty of being a web designer is creating a detailed, creative, and original web design in Photoshop, without having to (for the most part) think about how it will be coded.

During the design phase, it’s all about the look, and either the coding can be taken care of later, or be outsourced to a developer.

Either way, not thinking about the development usability or functionality is a great way for a designer to not feel limited in the design process.

This is a great way of thinking, and can lead to the best designs. However, once it does need to be coded, we as designers are in a tricky spot.

In this article, you’ll find a few simple tips that can help designers learn basic XHTML/CSS conversion efficiently for a quick-loading website that is accurate to the original PSD.

ComingSoonPages

Designing “Coming Soon” Pages

Deciding what to do once you’ve purchased a domain but haven’t yet launched the website is always a bit of a conundrum. Leaving up your domain registrar or Web host’s generic page seems unprofessional, especially if you’re trying to drum up advance press for your new project. At the same time, you don’t want to spend too much time on a temporary page when you really should be working on the website itself.

The best thing to do is create a simple “Coming soon” page to notify visitors of what will eventually be there. Good “Coming soon” pages come in two basic varieties: the informational design, which simply tells visitors what will be there after launch; and the page that invites early visitors to sign up for updates or even to request a beta (or alpha) invitation. Below are some great examples of each, followed by some best practices for creating your own “Coming soon” page. You definitely won’t see among these the generic “Under construction” page (with the cute construction graphic) that used to litter the Web.

CreativeWebDesign

10 Fantastic and Creative Web Design Styles

When designing a website, there are a number of different styles you can adopt to get the message of a brand across effectively to customers, users or readers. The important thing to consider is to pick a style that matches the brand you are designing for. Also, there’s no reason why you need to stick to one particular style. Multiple different styles can merge together perfectly fine as you’ll spot in some of the examples below.

Here is a look at ten of the most creative styles in use in web design today with examples of some of the best websites that utilise them.

BeautifulCode

What Beautiful HTML Code Looks Like

I can’t help but view source on every nice looking website I see. It’s like if you had x-ray glasses that allowed you to see any person you ever saw in their underwear at will. How could you not? It’s just so tempting to see if a beautiful website is built with beautiful code as well, or if its beauty if only skin-deep. Code? Beautiful? Sure. After all, Code is Poetry. This is just HTML, so it can’t be quite as intricate and elegant as a dynamic language, but it still bears the brush strokes of its creator.

It gets me to thinking, what makes beautiful code? In HTML, it comes down to craftsmanship. Let’s take a look at some markup written they way markup should be written and see how beautiful it can be.


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