WordPress is a great tool for people to develop their own websites. It is for the most part, comparatively simple to use. While it’s great CMS on its own, there are other tools that you can use to help your web construction be easier, faster and more effective in terms of design. Here’s a trio of essential tools for the budding web designer.
WordPress Web Design Tool 1: Typekit
Ever wanted to find a particular font that fits your theme? Remember seeing a cool typeface somewhere but can’t remember it’s name? Just don’t have anything good in your library, or don’t want to spend heaps of money buying many individual fonts?
Typekit from Adobe is there to solve this problem. Typekit is a massive library of fonts with thousands of entries that is constantly growing. This huge pool can cover any theme you can think of and is easily useable for any sort of medium you can think of that needs the touch of typography, from shirts to websites.
TypeKit is a subscription based service where you sync your computer or website to your Adobe ID. Once you’ve done that, all of the fonts you can imagine become available to play with.
Don’t let the talk of subscriptions scare you away from it either, as Adobe has been kind enough to offer a free option in their pricing program that limits you to a library of around 130 fonts, 20 of which you can have synced to your computer at any one time, or a library of 800 fonts for your website. Typekit is definitely worth your time, as even with the free version you’ll have more than enough to play with when you get started. So give it a go and see what you can do!
WordPress Web Design Tool 2: Adobe Color
The second of our entries is another toy from the labs of the creative toolers – Adobe, and one we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post. Still, we’re more than happy to mention this excellent tool again because it really is a superb little gizmo to get your websites looking absolutely gorgeous.
Adobe Color is integral to the finish of a website, and unfortunately all too few of us know how to work colour properly for the best effect. A good way to start is to read our aforementioned post on the matter, but another is to let Adobe Color take out the guesswork from how best to choose and combine colours. You can play around with the colour wheel and different rulesets to find colours that fit well together; or upload images of your logo or other media and have the tool automatically find the colours within them and then hunt for other harmonising tones with the colour wheel.
After you’ve figured out the design of your website, Adobe Color is the perfect tool to have by your side as you work out your colour schemes.
WordPress Web Design Tool 3: WP Smush
WP Smush’s name is quite apt for what it does. It’s an extremely popular image optimising plugin designed for WordPress.
Even in this modern era, loading times online are still an issue, and long loading times can kill your website’s pageviews like nothing else, and can be harmful for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Video, images and flash elements are all culprits that slow down the loading time of a website.
WP Smush takes its smushing powers to image files, stripping hidden and bulky information from the image to reduce it’s file size without affecting the quality of the image. This means faster loading, and potentially better results for your website on search engines.
The best part is that you don’t have to do anything special to use WP Smush. Simply install the plugin onto your WordPress and then you’re already using it! You can automatically reduce the sizes of the images on your website and any subsequent ones you add, or pick and choose which ones are to be optimised as you desire.
These are just three awesome tools to help you start the web design for your WordPress site, and there are more out there which can really unleash your site’s potential. All you need to do is find and play with them!
Fil is Studio Culture’s Design and Development Director.