Purple Custard

Purple Custard are pioneers in web design, offering a strong, well-rounded branding solution with in-house viral marketing and SEO expertise.

They were early Avada adopters and have been using the theme to build client websites for some years now. We had the opportunity to speak with Craig Newman, director of Purple Custard, and got to know more about his business and how he uses Avada to create websites.

Introducing Craig Newman

Q: Hi Craig! Can you tell us a little about your personal background and how you got involved in the world of web design?

Playing around with animated GIF backgrounds and embedding widgets on MySpace back in 2003 gave me a taste for HTML and CSS. I was a video editor back then so I found it useful to know a little bit about web design so I could build myself a portfolio website. Less than a year later I got a lucky break when a friend offered me a job working along side him at a large web design company in the UK. I somehow managed to blag my way through the closed doors without a degree (I wouldn’t recommend doing it this way).

I often look back on how that company ran and I try to do the exact opposite with my business. It was a perpetual conveyer belt of uninspiring web templates churned out in a hurry by designers working on bonus incentives and commission, some designers we’re knocking out 3 or 4 websites per week. The company now has offices all over the world and is one of the largest in the industry, they have more business awards than design awards. I’d like to do the exact opposite

A Little Something About Purple Custard

Q: Purple Custard is a name you won’t forget in a hurry! Is there a story behind the name? And does Seth Godin’s Purple Cow come into the mix anywhere?

I’d love to tell you a crazy story, but there isn’t one unfortunately. My business partner David conceived the name and we both agreed that the name would stick, stand out and be ‘rememberable’.

Q: Purple Custard has been in business for over a decade – an eternity in the online world – can you tell us a little about the growth of the company in that time?

In the early days it seemed really easy to get new clients, but I’d say in the last five years it has become really competitive and I’ve had to adapt my services to stand out from others and give businesses a good reason to choose us.

There are so many freelancers and web design companies all fighting for attention that you have to evolve, adapt and be different. We now offer over 20 complimentary digital services, which makes us quite unique.

The Purple Custard Credentials (An Impressive List!)

Q: Purple Custard offers a comprehensive suite of services to businesses. Is there a particular area you’re strongest in or are you going all in on being a full-service shop?

Luckily for me, I had previously dabbled in video production, animation, photography, graphic design, email marketing and naturally knew my way around social media, so this shift was quite organic. I’m confident that animation, video and interactive content is the future of the web and consumers using hand held devices to interact with that content will continue to grow alongside faster internet connections and more powerful devices so we are exploring this more than ever now.

Q: There’s a great range of sites on display at your portfolio page. Are there any particular Purple Custard projects that have really stood out for you in the last 18 months?

Suntana is one of the leading spray tanning companies in the UK and we work on their website, branding and marketing every week. I like companies who see the importance of brand evolution.

We’ve also been really lucky to have worked with some huge names in the photography and illustration industry recently: Danny Allison, Kate Lewis, Leona Beth and Jovana Obrodavic to name a few. There’s nothing more satisfying than building portfolios for other creatives; it’s much easier than working with corporate clients because they’re as pixel perfect as we are, we waste less time trying to explain things and get a greater sense of satisfaction.

The Role of Avada in the Purple Custard Success Story

Q: Avada is currently powering the purplecustard.com site and a number of your client sites. What made you plump for WordPress as a platform and Avada as a theme solution for these sites?

WordPress has always been my go-to platform. It has so many benefits that I can pass onto my clients. Themes were an issue up until the rise of Avada. Before that, designers were stuck with pre-designed templates that were really hard to manipulate and modify. Avada is the best theme on the market right now. I have confidence that it will continue to grow and power my sites going forward. I back it 100% and am excited to see what’s next in its evolution.

Q: Is there a particular Avada feature that made it stand out for either the design or development teams on either your own website or client projects?

Being ready-bundled with a child theme is a massive help for modifications, and the support you get is by far the fastest and most reliable around. The community on Facebook is also great for speaking to other Avada users to get feedback on designs.

Most web designers will opt to load one of the built-in theme demos as a starting point, but I like to start in Photoshop. I have several framework mock-ups of Avada now (built up from past projects). I like to open one of those, choose my typography and color palette, then get to designing; this is where I get creative. The process from a finished Photoshop design to a fully working and responsive website is amazingly quick and this is only possible with Avada’s many options, robust framework and the built-in Fusion builder / Layer Slider.

Q: Is there a particular area of existing functionality you’d like to see us build out further with Avada, or any missing features you’d love to see in the next release?

I do love seeing what’s new and love playing with new releases, but I’m super happy with the flexibility it has already given me up until this point. Anything is possible with Avada! Every website I build seems to be better that the last one. The more you use Avada, the more you’ll get out of it and the faster you’ll build. I haven’t had a chance to use the new bundled Events plugin yet, but I imagine that this will be very useful.

I would like to see an option for a side scrolling site. I was talking to another designer last week and neither of us can believe that since most desktops / browsers have a landscape ratio why are side scrolling designs not more popular?! Obviously media queries would have to handle snapping layouts and content back into portrait mode for small devices, but that’s easily done.

And Finally…

Q: Finally, if you or the Purple Custard team could give one piece of advice to a young web professional starting out and recommend one book to read (on any topic), what would they be?

Making better use of your time is key. You can easily get bogged down with pointless email conversations, never ending telephone calls, admin work etc. I’m lucky to be able to work the hours I want, I use some evenings and weekends to work on our social media, portfolio and do admin. This means I can take a couple of hours off in the morning and not stress about getting in for 9.

My advice: Before you go to the office in a morning know exactly what you’re doing that day, have a list of goals. Always start your day with the jobs you don’t want to do, when you have the most energy. Later on, do the jobs you do want to do.

I’d say the one book that really influenced the way in which I approach each day is ‘Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and sharpen Your Creative Mind’ by Jocelyn Glei. And of course, being a huge Apple fan, I’d also recommend ‘Jony Ive; The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products’ by Leander Kahney – incredibly inspiring.


We’d like to thank Craig for taking out the time to speak with us and give us an insider view of one of the most proactive web design businesses we know.

Many of Purple Custard’s client sites are great examples of the unparalleled flexibility and scalability that Avada offers as a parent theme, without compromising on prime design elements and functionality. As someone that has gone through the grind and constantly grown with experience, Craig has great clarity and high expectations on what he wants from his design tools. We are thrilled to know that he considers Avada a vital cog of his booming business.

We encourage you to leaf through Purple Custard’s portfolio and look out for the seamless Avada integration that Craig’s team has admirably complemented with top-notch design insight.

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