Interview with WordPress Theme Designer Small Potato

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There are a few names which stick out in WordPress developer/designer circles. One of those names is, curiously enough, a made up name: Small Potato.

Small Potato ran a very popular website devoted to WordPress called WPDesigner. Since some time last year Small Potato has disappeared and hasn’t (as far as I know) been in contact with anyone in the development community. Luckily I pulled together this interview with him before he left.

Small Potato in a classic shot, eating an orange.

What first brought you to WordPress? And, if you are bold enough,
what was your first WordPress site?
The search for an easy to modify CMS or blog platform template system
lead me to WordPress. I believe the first WordPress powered site that I
worked with was chinkyface.com.

I bought that site through an auction on SitePoint forums for I think…
$200. (It was was a Photoshop tutorials site.) I had to switch from a manual
system to WordPress for that site, made some money off of that site for
several months, and ended up re-selling it for $500

Why WordPress? Why not Drupal? Movable Type? Dare I say, Blogger?
I use WordPress because it’s easy. That’s it. If the other CMS were as
easy to use, I would’ve never gotten to WordPress. I’d probably stick with
Drupal.
How has WordPress helped you grow in your area of expertise?
Before getting into template design for WordPress themes, I used a lot of
tables for layout, which is self-explanatory. When I started working with
WordPress templates, I had to quickly learn CSS and abandon tables.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment with WordPress?
I don’t know. Working with WordPress was a hobby turned full time Job. I
don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. I do what I do because I enjoy
it and there’s really no specific WordPress goal.
Where do you get your inspiration for themes?
For inspiration, sometimes browsing CSS galleries to look at other
people’s designs work, but most of the times it doesn’t. I often stare at a
blank screen until it hits me. I’m really not a web designer at all. I think
I can code XHTML and CSS proficiently, but other those… I just do what I
can.
Could you describe your normal workflow when sitting down to create
a theme? How long does it usually take?
I don’t have a strictly defined process, but what I usually do is
calculate the structure first. Sketch it on paper. Afterward, I transfer the
sketch to a grid paper and draw it over one more time for proper proportions
and etcetera.

Next is taking it to Photoshop, which is the most time consuming part. I
know that some prefer to replace Photoshop with a live web page with just
xhtml, but Photoshop works best for me.

The whole process takes about 6-8 hours for generic WordPress themes.
Extensively customized themes take much longer.

If you could change one thing about the WordPress community, what
would it be?
It’s probably impossible, but I would ask for transparent debates. From
my experience, WordPress-related debates for people involved had a lot to do
with ulterior motives, which is common among debates in general anyway so
it’s not so much a specific change for the WordPress community.

Based on those experiences, it’s difficult for me to trust people in the
WordPress community.

Where do you foresee WordPress going in the future? What’s missing
that’s necessary to take it to the next level?
I have no idea. I’m working on only one area of WordPress, which is
WordPress themes. I’m not involved in plugins, core development, and
etcetera. Therefore, whatever I tell you, the opposite will happen. 🙂


Thanks for answering those questions, Small Potato, wherever you are. I’ll be sure to mention here when/if Small Potato ever does return.

If you are a WordPress developer of some sort, themes or Plugins, and would like to participate in an interview like this, let me know in the comments or via email. I’m more interested in video/audio interviews than text, but I’m pretty flexible.

12 thoughts on “Interview with WordPress Theme Designer Small Potato

  1. @David: Yes, I did see that post when I was looking up the links for this post. I’ll add in a link over to it. By the way, awesome WordPress site you have there. Is it yours?

    @Susan: I agree. More than any resources he gave out, or the beauty of his themes, I think everyone really just misses him being a part of our little world here. Anyway, I’d like to think he’ll be back, eventually…

  2. I miss reading SP’s articles on WP Designer. I give him credit for getting me started in WP. His series on making a theme from scratch was so easy to follow and really helped me understand what was going on. That’s still the best tutorial out there for WP newbs like me. This is a good site I got the feed in my Google Reader now.

  3. can u explain me why u dont update your home page wpdesigner??

    i always see those bothering hosting adverts in home.. no new posts.

    u always said that to attract google we must update ur blog frequently.. now how come u never update it and stil have millions of hits form google ??

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