creativecommittee
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creativecommittee says

I rarely like to share but I think I have some important feedback for other designers looking to sell their work on ThemeForest and some suggestions to the approvers on how they can improve their process. Be warned this is a long post, hence my hesitation to share :)

The backstory, a friend and I wanted to give TF a test run see how the process worked and if it would be a good way to spend some spare time.

So we decided about a week ago to submit a theme, that we wouldn’t spend a ton of time (5+ Hours) because the potential money here per theme doesn’t warrant it.

So I spent a couple hours and created this theme, lets call it V1 for the sake of this post. It is built on the 960 Grid Framework and the image carousel is done with Jquery and some custom code I wrote.

Home Page – Color Option 1 Inner Page – Color Option 1 Home Page – Color Option 2

REJECTED Now it is a simple design, so the feedback I got made sense: “It is not unique enough, consider flushing out the content pages.” (I’m paraphrasing)

For Designers: From that feedback I learned that TF is not a simple template site where other developers are going to start with your code as a jump start. My take away is that TF is looking for nearly complete sites that would only require slight content changes for the most part. Now is it worth it at the prices we see here, I’ll leave that up to you. Highest price theme in HTML category is $20, but most are under that. There are a couple themes here that have done well top two none admin skins are just around $900 and $450. That is good money to me, but those aren’t the norms.

For Approvers: I think the feedback was good, in hindsight I wish you would have expanded on the unique part. I understand you can not write a book to us, but I think you are capable of seeing the themes that could use a nudge in a particular direction just be specific in that direction. We can decide if we agree, just don’t be too generic.

So I decided that my first theme on TF is going to take some more time that I originally thought and I was ok with that. I decided to redo the content areas and try to give the site a more unique feel. I added a search bar, redid the nav, added a place for ads, and included a twitter feed. Plus a flushed out all four pages of the site, including the contact us page with contact us form. Now in the back of my head this is a template site and you can’t be too unique because you won’t hit a wide audience and won’t generate enough sales but I pressed on and submitted V2.

Home Page – Color Option 1 Contact Us Page – Color Option 1 Home Page – Color Option 1 Simpler Home Page – Color Option 2

REJECTED The feedback I got this time also made sense and lead me to believe that I was close to getting this theme approved: “You’re on the right track, Paint splat is nice, but distracting. Keep at it!” (Paraphrasing)

Ok so my take aways are I fixed the issue with the content area but I went too far with the Paint splat. Fair enough, again that is the approvers opinion but that is the person I need to go through. I don’t think it is terribly distracting, especially when one of the themes that was approved the same day had a background that made the text on the site almost unreadable.

For Designers: Not sure what feedback I could give this time, this is a taste issue, if anything contrasting themes didn’t go over well for the reviewer, this time.

For Approvers: Same feedback as before, I think in this instance all little more clarity in what you are looking for.

V3 So after the positive feedback I decided that I would tone down the background and try to work a pattern in. I had already spent too much time over the last five days so I was was only going to do one color option and a little more main stream. Home Page

REJECTED “As I said before, this is a nice looking theme. My primary issue is that this theme looks a bit generic. There are dozens of ThemeForest and free templates that have virtually the same layout. Your template needs to stand out more.”

For Designers: This process lasted over 5 days and I’m not sure what to take away from this. I don’t know if the reviewer got sour the first time they saw the theme and it was too much of a hill to climb to win them over with this theme. I don’t know if it is was one thing in particular they kept seeing that ultimately caused the rejection. Ultimately I think I have to throw my concept of a Template site out the window with TF, they are looking for ready built sites for a specific audience in mind ,all for $20.

For Approvers: I’m going to be blunt, in this instance your feedback stinks. If there was an issue with the layout please be specific from the beginning so I can correct it. The content area was mentioned and corrected. The Background was mentioned and corrected. Why want till V3 to mention the overall layout?

I suggest if you see a template with potential you be specific in what you would recommend. If the template is garbage tell the designer that this design in its current incarnation doesn’t have a place on TF, start over. Being blunt with constructive criticism is what pier review is all about.

I think I’ll eventually take another crack at TF because I’m a masochist, but I think I will probably write out specific theme idea, stick to it and avoid being too general. Anyways I hope this insight into my experience helps, good luck to the others.

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simnor says

That sucks mate, I think TF really need to look at this because they aren’t going to get away with what they have done on the other marketplaces such as FlashDen because TF is made up of designers who will lash out if they annoy them. I’ve stopped designing for TF lately because of my themes which are perfectly fine being rejected for the reason: they may not sell, even though it is quite clear from my other similar templates that they will.

Personally I think ThemeForest needs to sit down with its managers and staff and seriously look at the current situation of the site because a lot of designers have expressed their outrage over the last month or so and I am not seeing any change, its ridiculous, they are just lucky that there are designers out there who are happy to take such a low amount of money for their time, well that was until they upped the standards ridiculously high so they cant get in on it. I’m all for having high standards, but you cant expect us to work for measly rewards that we are seeing and bear in mind I’ve had plenty of sales.

I put this to ThemeForest, if you want proper designers to continue/start using themeforest get your act together and start pleasing us because at the moment you are failing, and I don’t accept “ThemeForest is still new” as an excuse, its had plenty of time now and is just making us angry.

I refuse to spend longer than a day on a theme and sell it on here because it isn’t worth my time. I dont feel I’m an amazing designer and its too low for me so thats gotta tell you something. Things like this thread are happening far too often and you haven’t given me one proper excuse yet. “We are new to the marketplace”, “It takes time”, “We invest and take care of the process”, none of these are acceptable, from the advertising I see that you do, most of it comes from people like me referring you on our sites, so you cant tell me that you are investing a lot of money into this, not enough to warrant a good enough return for us anyway. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the most important people on this site are the designers, and its quite clear that we are not happy.

Sort it out.

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ThemeKioken says

@creativecommittee:

Dude, don’t take it personal but I think all the reviewer feedbacks are proper and direct for your theme.

There are even nicer themes which are free on the web. We all need to work on our themes as if they are built for a pro client to get our products sold in here.

I know you’ll say, “why, what’s the catch for working 5-6 days on a theme that will be put on sale for $12?”.

Well I don’t think it’s ours to argue about TF’s strategy. It just simply works and those $12s turnout pretty well for hard workers.

Considering myself, I practically made a massive amount of passive income for this month; though I agree my works are orginally for higher price. But hey I amortized their price already with high sales.

So the main idea in here at TF is; don’t get frustrated with the small bucks for your items, deliver the best and you’ll see it’s worth it.

creativecommittee
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creativecommittee says
Dude, don’t take it personal but I think all the reviewer feedbacks are proper and direct for your theme.

@onuro I don’t take it personal, like I said in my post I thought the feedback was good the first two times but only the last time did it bother me. Only because I thought it was feedback that could have been given the first time.

@simnor The point of my post wasn’t to complain about TF’s pricing nor design standards. The point was to inform some other designers and provide some feedback to the approvers.

I will say I think one of the problems with TF is that they are currently requesting a high standard of designs (which I’m fine with) but they continue to allow poor designs into the system. My suggestion would be to remove all the poor themes that got into the system in the early days, that will help other designers understand where the bar is.

Not to call out this “design”(edited) but I think the text is hard to read on that background. The Whole screenshot section is filled with designs that aren’t this theme.There are some odd alignment issues. In comparison to some of the other themes that were included the last couple days it is far inferior. It has a couple sales even but the price was originally $1, so I’m not sure if those sales came at $10

I point this out because the design reviews seem inconsistent. Like I said in my original post, I will approach designing for TF differently than I initially did and like Onuro said I think you have to approach it as designing for a professional contract with the returns coming over time.

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ThemeKioken says
I will say I think one of the problems with TF is that they are currently requesting a high standard of designs (which I’m fine with) but they continue to allow poor designs into the system. My suggestion would be to remove all the poor themes that got into the system in the early days, that will help other designers understand where the bar is.

I have to agree with that. But at this point, I think we have to give TF a little time to learn from mistakes and make things right in time; since the site is yet only 3-4 months old.

Not to call out this design but I think the text is hard to read on that background. The Whole screenshot section is filled with designs that aren’t this theme.There are some odd alignment issues. In comparison to some of the other themes that were included the last couple days it is far inferior. It has a couple sales even but the price was originally $1, so I’m not sure if those sales came at $10 I point this out because the design reviews seem inconsistent. Like I said in my original post, I will approach designing for TF differently than I initially did and like Onuro said I think you have to approach it as designing for a professional contract with the returns coming over time.

I feel you, but still we have to keep working hard. I mean the new approval policy changed even my sight on TF because I used to use this place for putting my abandoned works on sale for the sake of a little passive income, but it turns out TF wants to be more than just that.

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twoaz1 says

Well I tell you what. First off I’d like to say how impressed I am with the conversation here. You all bring up different view points and “arguments” in a very constructive manner.

@creativecommittee it was fascinating to see your design improve with each try. I am really taken with the third design. With that design’s rejection I am fairly sure my team is washed up on TF for now. We don’t care to leave anytime soon and aspire to become as skilled as those that continue to do well here.

Thanks all. I appreciate your candor.

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JeffreyWay says

Hi everybody. I said last month that we were raising the requirements for all the categories.

I think the main issue here is that many authors want us to tell them exactly what to change. As other reviewers/members have said before – to some extent, that’s not our job. Our job is to filter the submissions. Having said that, we still try to write a few sentences about what could be better – in our opinions.

@creativecommittee – In your instance, there was nothing specifically wrong with your template. The only issue is that it looks like plenty of the free templates that are available around the web. So, what could I have specifically told you to change? Sometimes, it’s the whole package.

As I said before, your template is very nice. But as a reviewer, I decided that it didn’t stand out enough to be sold on ThemeForest. I hope I don’t come across rudely in any way. I can send you links to many free templates that are quite similar to this.

This is a marketplace for premium templates. If you don’t feel that it’s worth your time, that’s a valid argument. I can tell you that many people make a very good income from these marketplaces. As I said last week, we will discuss these issues during our end of the year meeting. :)

Any time that you’re in a position of being “judged”, things can become sensitive. We completely understand. All of your thoughts and concerns are heard and will be considered.

creativecommittee
creativecommittee Recent Posts Threads Started
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creativecommittee says
Hi everybody. I said last month that we were raising the requirements for all the categories.

I think the main issue here is that many authors want us to tell them exactly what to change. As other reviewers/members have said before – to some extent, that’s not our job. Our job is to filter the submissions. Having said that, we still try to write a few sentences about what could be better – in our opinions.

Yes, I understand your position is not to write long descriptive critiques. In this instance I think it would have been better if you would have just said we have enough themes with a similar layout. The meaning of the word unique was left up to me to figure out and I tried to figure that out a couple times only to learn that the layout was the issue.

Like I said in my post my only problem with your feedback was the last time . I will say this, if the problem with my theme is the fact that there is not enough separation between free themes and it or there is not enough separation between it and the dozen or so ones you have here. Why didn’t you tell that to the 11 other designs that are similar? why does saturation kick in at 13 and not 12?

There are more than enough themes on this site that are not premium, the simple fact that in the HTML category they are priced at $20 dollars means they are not premium. Now if you are saying we are raising the bar in design quality and we are going to start raising the prices that is fair, but to that I say remove the non premium themes that are currently not making you any sales so the bar is clear.

Finally I will say two things, the reason why someone would buy my theme is not up to you to decide, evidence enough are all the poor themes on this site that have a couple sales. The reason why people buy a theme is up to them, they might spend $10 to get a single component to use in something else, so as long as I didn’t copy a theme and it meets the mandatory quality requirements I don’t see any issue with similar themes. It is a template there is going to be overlap, if a users wants custom work they will pay for it.

Second, JW you are not a designer, you state that in the screencast. Have other designers provide critique if you feel you are not capable because you are wasting these designers time by not providing some level of feedback. The more you interact the better quality of submissions you will get.

Again I like TF, I think if the bar gets raised with the prices it will be a good creative outlet for designers and allow them to make some side money. It didn’t intend for this post to be a rant, I simply wanted others to hear my experience so they would understand what is expected.

creativecommittee
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creativecommittee says

After I posted I thought of a suggestion; ask for resubmission. If a design is close tell the designer here is what we would like to see and ask for resubmission. If the design is no where near, simply tell them that it needs to be completely reworked.

This way you can filter the designs a little more, have someone run though them and if it moves up the ladder someone can provide proper feedback.

I build this suggestion on the fact that when we submit work to client if they paid for multiple comps they will discard the comps they don’t like in the first review. That is essentially what we are doing here, designers are submitting for approval and it is you the client to let us know which ones to throw away or to continue to work on

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JeffreyWay says

Bottom line – your template didn’t stand out enough. I’m sorry if you disagree. We unfortunately can’t accept every theme that is submitted. You’re more than welcome to resubmit it and have another reviewer take a look.

When I used the word “unique”, I was referring to the layout and the overall look. I apologize if I didn’t communicate that well enough.

I’ll also ask you to not link to and insult other themes on this site. More than anything, it’s disrespectful. You wouldn’t want someone to do that to you.

So, I recommend that you resubmit your theme and request that another reviewer take a look.

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