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Modifying Existing Shopify Theme Vs Building From Scratch

- 1 answer

I'm starting a new project where I'll be creating a Shopify Store for a clothing company, and I'm curious as to which of these 'paths' makes more sense, as far as cost and time are concerned.

My primary goal is getting the store up and running as quickly as possible. That being said, I'm wondering what the pros and cons of modifying a theme vs creating a brand new, custom one are.

My Concerns:

If I purchase the existing theme that most closely matches my clients needs, how likely is it that I'll spend more time modifying it than if I'd just created one from scratch?

My instinct would be to purchase a theme, modify, gut & replace the HTML/CSS/Javascript that isn't relevant to my project, while keeping the cart system and other e-commerce related features intact. I'll be hiring other coders to assist in areas where I have less experience (liquid templating, dealing with AJAX/Javascript).

Would it make more sense to create all the HTML/CSS assets myself, and hire a coder who specializes in creating Shopify themes to help with the rest?

For instance: I could start with this very sparse Shopify theme, Blankify, or purchase a theme like Split, which has a number features that I appreciate, but don't necessarily need or expect to use.

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Answer

It really depends on the design you have to code vs the design of the premium theme.

If both of them have nothing in common I suggest modifying the free theme that comes with each Shopify store, this way you will still have the base stuff there, but you won't buy a premium theme just to butcher it all.

I've build over 50+ Shopify themes and I think that even once I didn't start from absolute scratch. ( at least having the customer templates saves a lot of time )

As for doing the html/css yourself and giving it to a coder is a tricky thing. If the coder doesn't like your HTML/CSS he may charge you even more for the coding. Please consider this. Clients have given me awful code to work with and I have charged them more to use their one rather than building it myself.

I always start from some base theme or if the client wanted a premium theme. But in many cases I delete the whole template and write my own, if I can reuse some logic I leave it, but if not it's faster to write it with my own code and styling.

A good example is when there is a design for the cart page and I see that theme is using a grid system for the table instead of a standard table. I know people hate tables, but if the data is tabular then use a freaking table. So I usually delete the whole cart template and write my own one, since this is a lot faster rather then overwriting the grid styling and I really hate when the cart page is not using a table for the products.

So to sum it up you have two choices:

1) Buy a premium theme if the theme have something in common with the current design. Have in mind that premium themes have a lot of settings and if you modify a specific layout those settings may stop working and it may require you for you to clean them meaning additional time on you.

2) Use the default theme if there is nothing in common with the design.

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source: stackoverflow.com
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