Almost all WordPress themes offer some level of customization. It’s one of the best things about WordPress – it’s easy and flexible.
The problem is, when you make edits to a theme, they can be lost if there are any theme updates.
A lot of themes have an area in the theme options panel, that allow you to add custom styles, however you are limited to customizing the CSS styles. If you want to add additional functionality that is not there, then you have to edit the core theme files.
Editing core theme files is not a good solution since any theme updates that are made will delete any customizations that are made. That’s why WordPress recommends using child themes to customize your site.
What are child themes?
The child theme controls the design style and look of a WordPress site and the parent theme controls the core functionality. Both the parent framework and child theme must be installed on your site.
By using a child theme, you can update or change the way your site looks, or even switch designs without touching any code. Since the core functionality of the parent framework is separate from your design, you can make changes as often as you like without breaking your site.
That means that the parent framework can be upgraded without affecting all the style customizations. If you were to modify the style on the parent theme framework, instead of using a child theme, you would lose all customizations whenever there is an upgrade.
Hi-Fi themes are built on one of the best frameworks, the Woo Canvas Theme. I love the Woo Framework and Canvas Theme. As the name suggests, it is a blank canvas for you to create with. I use Canvas to create custom websites for clients and my own sites. The thing I like about Canvas, is it’s very easy for clients to use, and the theme options panel makes it easy to customize.
Out of the box, Canvas is very un-styled – that of course is the point. While many people love the flexibility and unlimited possibilities with the Canvas Theme, they don’t necessarily want to spend time tweaking and adding features.
Hi-Fi Themes has done the work of styling Canvas for you
The theme designs give you a starting point, with the styling and work done for you. Just install and customize.
Each theme represents different layouts and options for your theme. The themes give you a jump start and are really easy to personalize with your own brand. Add a background, change colors, add your logo, over 250 fonts to use in your design. I expect that everyone will personalize each theme
Many people aren’t aware of all the things that can be done with a WordPress theme, especially with Canvas. Hopefully the examples below will give you some ideas. All of the sites below are the same theme, but as you can see they look very different.
Before: This is how Canvas looks out of the box.
After: Hi-Fi Child Themes created with the Canvas theme
*Update: Canvas added a Full Width Header in Footer Option in version 5.2 on 4/11/13
Full Width Header and Footer
Canvas does not have a full width header or footer, so this was added to the child theme.
For this site, Hi-Fi Social, I added a full width dark footer and custom menu background
In the Mellow Yellow example above I used Columns with the built-in shortcodes feature, to add featured areas on the home page.
Change The Gallery Thumbnail Size
The Gallery Thumbnail setting can be easily changed in the Theme Options Panel. On most of the demos the thumbnail images are horizontal, but on my personal site I made the gallery thumbnail images vertical.
Galleries can be one, two, three or four columns, and the thumbnail images on the gallery page can be any size. All easily changed in the theme options panel.
Canvas comes with social sharing as part of the built-in shortcode feature that can be added manually. For Hi-Fi Themes, I took the built in social sharing shortcodes and added them to the child theme functions so they would automatically be placed at the end of every post. I kept the social sharing features to the most important ones for photographers.
In the Modern Theme, the built-in links to social sites were moved to the top navigation area.
FullScreen Background Image
This is my studio site, which is a Canvas Child Theme as well. It has a fullscreen background image, and I’m using the left sidebar option as the menu. One of the features of the themes is to be able to create unique sidebar areas for each page. While the site looks very different than the original Canvas theme, no coding was necessary. The site was customized using the Theme Options Panel only.
Blog Image Size
Just like the galleries, the featured thumbnail image for each blog post can be set to any size via the Theme Options Panel. There are lots of options for the blog, including a Tumblog feature, a featured slider for the blog page using the magazine template, and a standard blog. You can choose to have a sidebar or not have one. You can even have a sidebar on some posts and not others. In the example below, the featured images are full size on the blog listing page.
Here is an example of larger featured images that stretch the full width of the post:
Even though all of themes were created using a single theme, all of these sites look very different. There are lot’s of ways to customize your theme, most of which don’t require you to touch any code. Hi-Fi child themes simply give you a jump start and are really easy to personalize with your own brand. Add a background, change colors, add your logo, over 250 fonts to use in your design.
The possibilities are unlimited.
Have you made any customizations to Canvas or Hi-Fi Themes? Share it below.