Web designers: Shopify needs you!

Over the last few years everyone from freelance web designers to large agencies have been growing their businesses thanks to Shopify, the hosted ecommerce platform founded in Canada in 2006.

Helped by the free-to-join Shopify Experts programme, designers are reaping the rewards of the immense growth happening in the ecommerce marketplace. With over 60,000 active shops online, and over 3,000 new stores launching every month, the need for great designers with an understanding of designing for ecommerce and building Shopify themes is growing rapidly.


You might not be aware how easy it is to create Shopify themes. They are built around four key technologies - HTML, CSS, JavaScript (entirely optional) and Liquid. If you aren't familiar with Liquid, it's a templating engine first developed by the founder of Shopify and now open sourced and available on GitHub. With no predefined markup, CSS or JavaScript requirements, the only limitation on your ecommerce designs is your own imagination.

Liquid has a very readable syntax and is easy to learn. There are many free resources to help you including the recently launched YouTube screencast series Shopify for Designers. There are currently 25 short videos that will get you up and running quickly.

Shopify Experts

Shopify Experts is a free-to-join programme with one specific aim, that is to pair great web design talent with Shopify merchants in need of great design. With over 2,000 enquiries passing through Experts each month, there are plenty of opportunities. Over the last 18 months $18m USD worth of contracts have been generated from the programme, a number that is expected to rise rapidly over the next few months.

Typically Experts offer three types of services:

  • Setup - helping merchants open up a Shopify store, adding products and recommending third party applications ($500)
  • Customisation - typically applying new colour treatments, uploading logos and adding contact forms (circa $1,000 upwards)
  • Theme design and build - Full scale design and theme build projects (circa $6,000 upwards).

These are indicative services and prices and you are of course free to set your own prices - it's entirely up to you.

The Working Party

One such company taking advantage of the increase in demand for Shopify design talent is The Working Party. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia and founded in 2010 around half of their work relates to Shopify, 50% of which comes via the Experts programme - which they joined 12 months ago. Roughly speaking their work breaks down as follows:

  • 50% setup
  • 30% design and theme build
  • 20% customisation

We recently chatted with Cal Wilson, Director at The Working Party about his experiences of Shopify Experts.

What first attracted you to using Shopify?
The effort to result ratio and Liquid. When we discovered Shopify a number of years ago, we found that it was much easier to achieve an amazing result for our clients with it than with the archaic open source options we'd been using until then.

The administration interface is lovely and so much nicer to present to a client with than some of the other options. The other major factor for me, being a front-end developer, was Liquid. It's a modern flexible templating language and is a pleasure to work with.

With Shopify we can be much more creative in how we design than with other systems we've used. These would often have template code baked in to the the application making theme development painful.

With Shopify, we have everything in one place, we have the Liquid templating language to get the HTML on the page in whatever configuration we want, and the rest is up to us and our imagination. We know we're not going to be burdened by many different files in some cryptic directory structure.

Why do your clients love Shopify?
Shopify gets out of the way, and enables our clients to focus on what they do best - selling stuff. Training with a new client is always quick and easy, as the interface just "makes sense".

As a hosted application, they also love not having to worry about servers, security updates, expired SSL certificates and all of the other annoyances that are normally associated with running an online store.

In what ways has being part of the Experts programme changed your business?
The leads that we receive through the programme are mostly "hot". That is people that either have an existing store that they would like help with, or people that have seen our work on the Shopify website and want something of that calibre. As soon as we were listed as Experts, we noticed a dramatic increase in Shopify related enquiries.

Could you share some of the stores you have been working on lately?

We built this recently for Agnes Homestore, a boutique homewares company here in Sydney. We really liked working with the bright images and strong branding.

For this project we worked with Have You Met Miss Jones, who are a well known homewares and decor brand in Australia. We're proud of this one because we know the client loves it, and we were able to improve her business by moving her away from Magento!

TLuxe is a great, stripped back clean theme we created for an organic basics fashion label. Great product, clean photography, and an interesting look book.

Molly M Designs started off as a maintenance project, but we ended up working on a new design based on her existing Shopify theme. We're proud of this one because the end result is quite striking.

If you fancy becoming a Shopify Expert then head on over to the Shopify Partner page to register and learn more.

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The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of seven full-time members of staff: Editor Georgia Coggan, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, Tech Reviews Editor Erlingur Einarsson and Ecommerce Writer Abi Le Guilcher, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.