Reasons why you shouldn’t pick a theme

I get it. Clients (often print agencies) want to help cut costs by choosing a theme themselves. They think they will be cutting out the heavy lifting (and saving time and money) by taking the time to find a theme that will not only provide a design but functionality as well.

Not necessarily. Not all themes behave the same way. Developers do things in different ways. It takes time to get to know the configurations, settings, and prerequisites (like plugins) of unfamiliar themes and plugins can add time to deadlines.

This is what I’d rather see:

Client: "I need a site made."

Me: "Great! What do you want it to do? Who are your visitors? What style of design would you like? Could you show me other sites or themes you like the look of?"

Client: (provides answers to questions above along with designs done in Photoshop or Illustrator)

Me: (provides a quote)

Client: (accepts quote)

Me: (sets up website and chooses plugins based on functionality requirements and customizes a basic theme to match design as needed)

Client: "Yay! I love the look and love how simple it is to use!"

Me: "Yes!"

I like to start with a simple theme from Automattic (the official WordPress developers) and then customize it to match the design you give me. I then choose plugins to add the functionality you need. This is a much easier and flexible way to get a site done that will be easy to manage and adapt later. Also, updating themes can cause issues because complex themes need constant updating and fixing. Many themes are paid and require monthly or annual renewals. Using a basic WordPress theme avoids all of that.

All you have to do is tell me what you need to have happen on your site, how you want it to happen and provide me your design files (Photoshop,  Illustrator or other). If you haven’t made a design in Photoshop or Illustrator, give me links to sites and themes you like the look of; I will then create a design that is similar and works with your requirements. Note: I do not copy designs of other sites or themes, but will, instead, create something unique that matches the style of the sites you like and creates a good user experience. To achieve this it takes the eye of a designer plus the experience of a web developer to blend together the perfect balance of design and functionality.

I understand if you want to use a specific theme, but know that I may need a little extra time to understand it. If you don’t already know, or need, certain WordPress add-ons, then please let me do the choosing. It will save you even more time (and money), and isn’t that the point?

Graphics Pricing


The prices here are subject to change depending on the complexity of the project, timeframe, etc. The best thing way to get an accurate projection is to fill out the form – link at the bottom.

Simple Logo-only project – $200, total:

  • Simple icon logo mark with text rendered by computer fonts
  • Print-ready logo (300 dpi, 1200px) in PDF format as well as transparent .PNG and .JPG with white background of your logo in color and greyscale and a reverse (white) logo on black background.
  • Web-ready logo (150 dpi, 1200px) transparent .PNG and .JPG with white background of your logo in color and greyscale and a reverse (white) logo on black background. Website favicon included.
  • 1 minor revision, not a complete redraw

Full Brand Identity – $700, total:

  • Same as above, plus:
  • More complex hand-drawn logo mark is created with text rendered by computer fonts. This drawing starts on paper, is sent for approval and then is digitized for web and print use.
  • Color palette and textures, if needed
  • Fonts chosen for website and print, including web fontstack
  • Simple style guide

Expanded Brand Identity – $1200, total:

  • Same as above, plus:
  • More complex hand-drawn logo mark with logo text that may or may not be adapted from computer fonts or may be hand-drawn, depending on the design requirements
  • Additional sub-marks for alternate logo use
  • .EPS vector file of logo & marks (flattened file)
  • Social media account images for 3 social networks (profile pic + header)
  • Expanded style manual with design details and full usage instructions
  • 1 additional revision


  • Complete redraws are subject to $100 additional fee, each
  • To purchase the source file (Illustratior .AI), a buy-out fee is an additional $300
  • Social media profile and header images, $50/per account

A la carte:

  • If your requirements do not fit in the packages above, custom pricing is available. Just let me know what you need and I will work up your price.

Stationery design fees:

Business card – $50- A business card design laid up for one – two persons. (Graphics files for additional people is $20 each.)
Letterhead – $50- Indicate if you want InDesign or MS Word format, or other
Other items – $25 each, such as envelope, labels, stamps, etc.
Stationery design includes print-ready graphics for you to take to your printer. If you have your own printer, I will need to know who it is and a link to their website or a phone number. I will need to find out their specific printing file requirements. Some printers still require .TIFF files and CMYK, others are fine with .PNG using RGB colors. These design fees do not include the actual printed products.
To start your stationery project, answer the questions on the Identity Design Project Form and indicate which package you require, or list out the individual items you need.

Why we don’t like ballparks


We get it – you’re starting a project and you have a budget.  You need to get the cost so you can move on with your planning.

Unfortunately, unless we have all of your requirements and the details of your website project, we cannot give a good estimate. An estimate that becomes wildly different once we understand all of your requirements will pose problems for your finances later and could bring your project to a halt.

That’s why we don’t do ballpark estimates. We prefer to give you the most accurate estimate to save you issues down the road.

We do have a minimum fee for setting up a custom site and it depends on if you have a design or theme already.

For a retail client such as a small business who needs a website for themselves, we charge a minimum of $4000 to design and code and set up your WordPress site on your own hosting account. This will give you a world-class website that you will have complete control over. If you have purchased a theme already, our rate may be lower. Just know that working with another developer’s theme can be just as time-consuming as creating our own. They all have their learning curves.

For wholesale clients, such as marketers or advertising agencies who need a site done for a client, we can provide a starting fee of $2000 to set up a basic site and code in your design. If you need design work, fill out the quote form and we will get a quotation back to you.

To fully assess your project and provide you with the most accurate quote possible, we will need to get more information from you, so please send us a quotation form and we will get right on it.

So, if you would like to get an estimate, just take fill out our RFP (Request for Proposal) form here:

Website RFP form