iA.jp’s US$2500 WordPress Theme

While I think that Oliver and the other folks at informationarchitects.jp are incredibly smart, I struggle to see how they think that they are going to be able to sell a WordPress theme for US$1500-2500! I understand they’ve put a lot of hours and sweat into the product – I’ve tried customising WordPress myself and it’s time-consuming. And sure, there are a few other people around selling customised WordPress themes and plugin packages for anything up to a few hundred dollars. But US$2500, that’s a little rich.

iA.jp’s Ideal Website screenshot

Now, Ideal Website is visually excellent, highly readable and supposedly standards compliant (although neither the XHTML or CSS validate based on the current iA.jp site that apparently uses the theme). But US$2500? Sorry, for that I want something that is completely mine and nobody else’s.Here’s a relevant example. At the moment, I am getting some theme/site redesign and some associated help on content focus and pitch for done for acidlabs and thoughtglue. Have a look a sneak preview.

acidlabs homepage screenshot acidlabs normal page screenshot acidlabs blog screenshot

The work consists of:

  • production of several variant themes for the site
  • a coherent look and feel across all content
  • ongoing discussion over focus and feel for content

It should all be up and finished in the next two weeks, after I finish the PHP work. I’m paying a similar price for this work as iA.jp are charging for their theme, but the work I’m paying for will be all mine. For US$2500, I don’t want to share.

8 Replies to “iA.jp’s US$2500 WordPress Theme”

  1. Hi Stephen,

    Some fair comments there, we understand completely that this hasn’t been done before and the price has been a bit jarring to people – I guess we just need to do a better job at communicating what we are actually offering.

    The main idea of this package is that it will be continually updated and tested, and that for a whole year you will be receiving updates that iteratively improve on your site. These updates will be both big and small – things like improved accessibility features, navigation tweaks, or the integration and design of an image gallery, forums, etc.

    In terms of appearance, the theme is “skinnable” to a degree (we’ve seperated the font/colour css out from the layout divs) and we will be doing a lot of visual tweaking for each individual client based on existing brands and/or client requests.

    The layout/grid structure itself is the thing that will be consistent across all client sites, but we hope that once people become more familiar with the product they’ll see the value is not just the layout or the colours, but that it’s a proven usable template, and it will be constantly added to and improved.

    Looking forward to hearing what you think!


  2. Chris – thanks for the info. I admire what you guys are trying to achieve – a good looking, standards-compliant theme with ongoing pro support, extra features and updates. I remain doubtful that you’ll be able to sell volume though, my feel is that you’re maybe as much as an order of magnitude over what the market generally will accept. That said, there are probably corporate clients who might be willing to pay the price you have set.

  3. I bet people WILL buy this. Do you know how many non web people (potential clients) Know what wordpress is or how easy it is to use? I’m going to guess about 4%.
    Most people think of web design and development as “magic” and have no idea whatsoever what a CMS is or how to use it. So power to them. I think with the right presentation and pitch it will sell.

  4. Hi,

    It doesn’t surprised me the price. Don’t forget your are talking about Japan. The country where people just spent one ore two weeks max. in holidays per year, usually in Europe spending the money that they don’t have time to spent during entire year. Moreover, Japan is known as one of, or the most expensive country in the world. It is indeed a different reality. However if iA.jp intends to go over borders, for sure the price it will have to change, otherwise, i doubt that they will be successfully selling their product.


  5. @Oliver – sorry the commercial idea didn’t work out. I personally think the concept was right, but the market (WordPress) may have been wrong. The sort of dollars you were thinking are probably better focussed on the near-enterprise CMS space.

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