Behind the Scenes of the Huesos WordPress Theme

We released our latest WordPress theme today; we’re calling it Huesos, Spanish for “bones.”

I wrote a little bit about the philosophy behind the design and its name over at AudioTheme:

Why bones? Normally, we don’t think about bones until one malfunctions, but they provide the structure to these highly evolved vessels we call bodies. Without them we’d be a squishy mass of flesh and organs. On the surface they don’t seem complex, but bones are our foundation, our little pillars of support. That’s the kind of functional simplicity we tried to achieve with our latest theme, and thus the name — Huesos.

Living in Texas, there’s a huge Spanish influence, so “huesos” has always meant “bones” to me. It’s even a common nickname for skinny people. The thought that it could have a different meaning in another culture never crossed my mind, but shortly after posting about the launch on Twitter my dysfunctional synapses were quickly exposed.

I reckon we won’t be selling to any Russian troubadours.

Minor bummers aside, Huesos (the Spanish meaning intended) has been a long time in the making and it’s been a huge team effort between Brady, Luke (who pronounces Huesos different every time), and myself to get it to its current state. Even as simple as it seems, it’s my favorite of the themes we’ve created, so I wanted to take a minute to document some of the decisions and processes from my end.

homepage

Demo Content

We’ve had multiple requests for the demo content from our other themes. If a customer can can see how the content on the public-facing site corresponds to the admin side, they reason it’ll be easier to figure things out on their own. The thinking is logical, but we weren’t comfortable sharing copyrighted files that we asked permission to use ourselves. So with Huesos, I wanted to try and create as much of the content as possible or source it from the public domain.

You have my respect if you’ve ever tried slogging through public domain audio. After a lot of searching, I stumbled on some music by Frank Edward Nora. The songs aren’t something I’d normally listen to, but there were a lot of them and they were in the public domain, which meant I was able to rename them, assemble them into cohesive collections, and design artwork to create the appearance that the demo was about a single fictional band (videos excluded; it’d require too many resources to create our own music videos).

demo-album-artwork

At some point during the search for audio, my son — who is well-attuned to my musical tastes after years of car rides to and from school — was concerned something was wrong. He’s currently a junior in high school and big into band (All-State trumpet), so I explained what I was doing and asked him to create some music for the demo. If you check out the default playlist, the two songs by Jay Garcia are his. I’m impressed with the results considering he hadn’t used GarageBand before.

He sent the songs to me with titles like “My Song 2” and “My Song 5,” so I took the liberty of renaming them. “Into My Own” is borrowed from a Robert Frost poem about personal growth and gaining confidence. It felt like an apt description on a number of levels, most notably the way the music appears to be building towards something.

His second song is full of restless energy, so I tried to think of something that had the same buoyancy. I’ve never been to London, but Jay was just there to march in the London New Year’s Day Parade, and Piccadilly Circus struck me as a place that might possess some restless energy; plus the name just has a lot of zip.

He has aspirations to turn music into a career, so I was excited about the opportunity to feature something he created with something I had a hand in creating too.

Themicons

Genericons is a great icon set. So is Dashicons. For our purposes though, we kept running into instances where an icon wasn’t included, or a better representation of an existing icon was needed. And our users kept needing icons for social networks that weren’t included and probably never would be. So we created our own.

themicons

You might notice a recurring theme: naming things. It’s hard to come up with a good name for products. We toyed with several for our icon set, one of which we thought was funny and continued the Spanish motif — Pinchicons — but was ultimately too crass. Brady threw out Themicons, which might look like a combination of “theme” and “icons,” but is really “them” and “icons.” He may live in Washington, but he’s Texan through and through, y’all. We like the unassuming nature of the name Themicons.

All About the Details

In the end, all the fretting over details only made Huesos that much better. We’ll probably find a few bugs that weren’t caught during testing, and think of additional features and improvements, or ways to do things differently, but for now it feels good to have 1.0 shipped.

Check it out over at AudioTheme and let me know what you think.

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