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We can all agree that when you are starting a brand new wiki, they look pretty bare. Sure, you can choose a nifty color scheme but let's be honest, most popular wikis have at least customized wordmark and background image. While adding content takes time and patience, how do you transform the look of a wiki? Can you give someone who has barely any skills in Photoshop, image manipulation, or CSS some helpful tips or tricks?

What's the best way to go about sprucing up a new wiki? ----Trellar WikiaStaff.png (help forum | blog) 01:40, November 29, 2011 (UTC)


The most basic thing to remember when beautifying a wiki is to know about the subject. Try to research about the subject of your wiki, and base the color choices and other stuff to add from what you find.

This is much easier to grasp if you're working on a wiki based on a show or an already existing media like Pirates of the Carribean or Avatar the Last Airbender. You can just visit the official site and get some ideas from there, or invent a theme based on the feel of the subject. (TIP: Most horror-themed wikis look more appropriate with a dark-colored theme.)

However, if you're tackling with a wiki that talks about a more general topic, like Italian restaurants, for example, here is when you need to exert some effort in gathering ideas. Google is your friend in this; do an image search for "italian restaurants", and you'll notice that most of the restaurants have a dominant earth color in the interior. You just discovered yourself a color theme that you can use for the wiki!

Now, if you're struggling with the artistic bits of a wiki, don't be afraid to ask the Content Team or the Logo Creation Wiki. heraldofmeridian♣ 02:34, November 29, 2011 (UTC)

Awesome point! Over at MLP we have a pink color scheme because it fits in with the show. Good point about wikis with less of a general theme as it's great advice for generic roleplay wikis. Thanks for mentioning the Content Team or the Logo Creation Wiki as both are awesome resources! :) ----Trellar WikiaStaff.png (help forum | blog) 00:41, November 30, 2011 (UTC)

Warning -- I'm bad with graphical content... but I've had to do some image modification lately -- ForestMonthZero

Well... for people who do not have access to Photoshop, some tips might be, what free tools are available to create graphical content?

  • GIMP -- a free image workshop package that works like Photoshop
  • ImageMagick -- a free command-line tool for image manipulation (useful for declaring a colour transparent)
  • Paint.NET -- a free image editor/creator, much more useful than the one that ships with Windows (MS Paint)
  • IrfanView -- a free image viewer, which can be used to create panorama images, resize images, sharpen, flatten, flip, and some other basic image manipulations

ForestMonthZero 08:40, November 29, 2011 (UTC)

Disclaimer -- I am not associated with any of the tools I've listed -- ForestMonthZero
If I were still using DOS... I'd probably still be using the shareware version of Paint Shop Pro, giftrans for gif transparency and using shareware CompuShow for viewing the results. ForestMonthZero 08:49, November 29, 2011 (UTC)
If I were on Linux, I'd be using GIMP, and ImageMagick, and xv . ForestMonthZero 08:49, November 29, 2011 (UTC)
All great tools! I personally love Paint.NET. Thanks for posting! :) ----Trellar WikiaStaff.png (help forum | blog) 00:56, November 30, 2011 (UTC)

If you want to create a lasting impression, you can set up a background image for your wiki; two great examples for that are Assassin's Creed Wiki and Star Wars Fanon. If you consider images to be unsuitable or there's no fitting option, you can harness the power of CSS3 to create gradients, for which this little tool can come in handy, though there are a lot more online gradient generators out there if you wish to avoid the potential problems stemming from the manual approach.
Another crucial part is the mainpage; based on my experiences, I think that light-themed wikis' mainpages look best with thin borders and dim backgrounds. Floating the elements around each other is the best way to present content, as other methods can make the page unpleasantly long. Of course, the option is up to you! TK999 18:07, November 30, 2011 (UTC)

A bit of advice when creating a background is to keep in mind that not everybody have a beautiful big-widescreen monitor, so take in account every possible resolutions to create a suitable background for every PCs. For the similar reasons, test your wiki theme with the popular browsers because what you see good on a browser maybe it's not so good on another one (useless IE...), so I guess keep in mind "compatibility"!
Now reading these tips and just after I viewed the recent webinar, I got an idea: is it possible to create on admin/community central a space to share our opinions of our wikis? We can take a few wikis each time in examination so that the users here can express their feelings for the wiki layout, pointing out good and bad points of each of them. This way we can send under everybody's exam our wikis and improve all together, is it possible? Do you think it would be a good idea? leviathan_89 01:17, 3 December, 2011 (UTC)


One important thing to remember is that there will undoubtedly be colour-blind individuals visiting your wiki. They may make-up a small part of the population, but it's still something that every good designer needs to think about. If you do make the effort, these people are likely to take notice, and it can earn you a great deal of good will. :) To that end, it's important to keep important design elements (maps, buttons, dividers, etc.) easy to differentiate for these people. Don't depend solely on colour-coding to separate elements, and when it comes to text, stick to combinations of black and white where you can. It's a fairly complicated issue, but you can find some help on a page I created recently here, and on Wikipedia here and here. --Cphoenix (talk) 15:19, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

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