The Studio 9 – Creative Portfolio WordPress Theme is a clean, minimalist theme targeted at creative agencies and freelancers. It was created one month ago by Simon Bouchard and has a 5 star review on Theme Forest.
One of Studio 9’s best offerings is a header navigation bar that automatically collapses on itself as you scroll down the page. It gives the theme a sleek and unique feel that makes it memorable.
Studio 9 also includes the standard fare required of quality WordPress themes to make them easy to customize, including Visual Composer for easy page creation, nearly unlimited theme color options, and Google Web Fonts.
We had a chance to speak with Simon Bouchard, the mastermind behind Studio 9, to get his thoughts on the theme:
Q: Simon, it’s a wonderful theme. Obviously one of the best features is the collapsing header navigation bar. How did you come up with that feature?
A: Thank you for this interview. It’s a great pleasure for me to take part on your blog. When I started to design Studio 9, at the beginning, I was using the so overused hamburger menu approach. But, ask everyone who knows me knows I like to come up with unique ideas when building something. I always try to design stuff that doesn’t exist. I remember while I was working on Studio9, I was reading stuff from my Twitter feeds and I discovered an interesting article: The Hamburger Menu Doesn’t Work.
This article changed my mind about the approach; it was clear in my mind that I needed something unique to replace the hamburger menu. So I decided to find a solution. I wanted something accessible, always visible, intuitive and awesome! The design process was pretty much simple. First, I designed and coded a standard full width header with a simple logo plus the navigation items. I was also using a standard page loading bar design located in the middle of the screen and then, I thought about it: “What if I use the header area as a loading process bar… ?” I coded it and . . . it was beautiful.
But the problem with the navigation area was still unclear, it took me a few days to find a solution. One day, while I was working on the other parts of the theme (plus non-stop browser refreshing to test the header as a loading bar) some ideas popped out of nowhere in my brain: First, “Let’s re-close it!” Then, “Let’s re-close it and morph it into something!” And Finally, “Let’s morph it into a menu!” I coded it and . . . again it was awesome!
That way, visitors can see the branding, the navigation area and they see it morphing into a nice and cool call-to-action. I think that with the approach, visitors knows that the navigation items are located there. So making it fixed and on top of everything, even when you scroll down, you can always mouse over that little square to navigate through the site. I think it’s a great feature, plus it’s unique. So the objective was reached. By the way, for those who don’t like this feature, it can be turned off easily within the theme options.
Q: Some people love minimalist themes and others hate them. When do you recommend building with a minimalist theme versus building with something like Avada, which is massive.
A: I’m a niche theme creator. I don’t like those kind of massive themes; they are heavy, mostly are difficult to use and when you want to modify it, well… good luck. I do not ever encourage the use of a multi-purpose theme. You can find a niche theme for any particular use cases.
Q: Did you have a specific person in mind as you built this theme?
A: I was a designer, designing my own site as if I was the head of a $1B design agency 😛
Q: Outside of the header bar, what else about this theme most excites you and your customers?
A: The attention to details, white space and typography. Studio9 support Google Web Fonts and Adobe Typekit. For those who are fans of typography, they will love working with Studio9. It’s really easy to create your own font stack and playing with them. Have fun !
Q: How many developers did it take to build Studio 9? Was it primarily a solo project from you?
A: Studio9 was designed and coded by me. The whole thing took 1 month of development. It’s a one man show 🙂
Q: What is next? Do you already have plans for another theme?
A: Since September 2015, I started to work full-time as a Front-end designer & developer for a tech company. I wanted a new challenge, a career. I’m currently working and learning about applications design & development with Visualforce from Salesforce.com. I will pass my certifications in the near future. As for WordPress, I will of course continue to provide WordPress themes. I will also invest more time in the making of my next WordPress theme, which is a Design and Lifestyle Blog theme. No ETA for the launch at this time.
Simon, thank you for taking time to speak with us. It’s been a real pleasure to learn about the design philosophy behind Studio9.