You might have too much space above and below your slider… maybe tighten it up a bit? I’d also add more style to the slider… darker and slightly bigger drop shadow? I’ll let you figure that out, but see if you can jazz it up!
Maybe play with the header nav?
I don’t know, maybe I would contact support again for clarification? Maybe there is something other than just the design that is wrong?
The dark is great, but the light needs a weee bit more weight up top… keep it the light version but maybe a bit darker? Something needs to be darker up there…
Sweet dude, I’d probably already have pulled the trigger on submitting it, but then I’d probably be on my way to my first rejection! But not with this theme me thinks!
My only comment is I’m torn whether or not the outline/drop shadow on your H tags is readable, I would try lighter or something, if even juuuust a hair!
It’s very flat and blah if you want honesty You need to do something that pops. Usually you should do your own thing, but in this case I’d advise you to take a look at other templates for inspiration! Get some contrast and depth going!
I’ve said this before, but a logo can really set the tone! That TIP -Template font is pretty horrible for themeforest – people want trendy here and that font looks like it’s from an old hardware store sign or something
Maybe put more into few things. Look at your batch of buttons – so they are all the same and all you did was apply a different color to them. I’d say some of the buttons need to look more drastically different to give real choice, not just the same button all the colors of the rainbow.
To me the layout looks like you found a whole bunch of icons, boxes, and gallery styles and dumped them onto a page – you need a meaning full and fresh layout/graphic treatment, then add the icon and button choices inspired by that treatment rather than random graphic elements.
You have the html framework, etc. done for this – you have to re-skin it and give all areas contrast and pop!
Looking at your color choices, you haven’t used black, so use a black background and get rid of the web 2.0 angled tile. Dealing with a layout on top of black will naturally force you to rethink your approach, plus black is an easy color to make everything slick and Darth Vader I know my first layout will be black to make it easy on myself!
Good luck, fixing this layout will make you push your design farther than you thought!
I think debugging for IE 7 is a way more valuable use of time than defending why it isn’t working. We know the values of upgrading a browser, but joe-public “just wants it to work” and if it doesn’t it is just a theme that doesn’t work! I think we can tell someone complaining about IE6 where to go, but 7 is still recent in the whole scheme of things!
So using an available WP Framework is less desirable than doing it yourself. Doing it yourself will make you the expert at your theme and you’ll be able to support it better. I build a ton of Wordpress CMS sites with the Magic Fields plugin (a cms life saver!), but creating a stand alone theme is new territory for me. Right now I’m trying to hunt down what the essential skills to building a feature rich theme and what RELIABLE resources will allow me to learn build those and do it securely.
I think I’ve found two to start…This is a no brainer from Wordpress.org http://codex.wordpress.org/Designing_Themes_for_Public_Release And from comments I see on other forums, this is a great tutorial for getting a start on creating a custom settings page: http://www.chipbennett.net/2011/02/17/incorporating-the-settings-api-in-wordpress-themes/4/
I guess what I’m after is the breakdown of essential skills. I imagine I could buy a theme and break it down myself but haven’t done so.
I’ll settle for any stories of going from n00b to Elite Author when it comes to theme design!
Personally I wouldn’t go so far as saying the background is out dated – I see what you are going for. My only comment on background is I’d stop the top left background from scrolling, keep it up there top left!
Your design is minimalistic and totally hinges on the perfection of your typography and spacing, that’s 100% of your hook so just keep refining! Personally I’d say it would be a relief to only have to refine text vs site wide graphic elements! Hopefully you just have to play with your CSS (unless you are packaging your PSD as well. I’d suggest working backwards with your CSS and then match the PSD in that case, but that’s just me! Whatever works!)
I would take the “Latest Works” and the footer layouts and start again with the rest – I do that sort of thing all the time with my regular client work, starting from scratch and looking to the old file as a “what not to do” is a great way to go!
I would say if your PSD didn’t take 5 going on 10hrs of thought and self reworks, question if you’ve done all you can.
But what do I know! I’m new here too, this is just how I roll with my own client work!
I’ve been a designer for 14 years but am ramping up for my first submissions to Themeforest (I should be asking your for advice! , so feel free to take this with a grain of salt, but I think you have a good framework but need to give yourself a leg up with a few basic items.
- It might be me, but for my regular client work, if I get an awesome logo to work with, I can kick out a site mockup for instant client approval in less than 5 hours. If the logo sucks and doesn’t inspire me or is an odd shape that is hard to place it can derail my creativity right there! Think about giving yourself some self-inspiration and redesign your Evolve logo – keep the gear idea but maybe can the rainbow colors?
- a lot of the images in the slider seem out of focus other than the 34 Street sign, that might not be doing your design justice right there – photography can make or break first impressions!
- Get new icons… ha ha, just get new icons Especially watch how Our Work and Downloads have box type icons, but Vacancies has an icon seemingly half the height. Visually this creates what almost looks like an alignment issue (if the strings on the hanging sign popped a bit more or were darker it might add more weight to that icon to balance out the row, but maybe not worth it)
So, in review, in my opinion, the logo, photo, and icon elements, if improved first, will at least likely inspire the rest of anything else needed!