Picking A Gallery Theme (That's Actually Unique!)
We've all been there before. After countless hours spent wracking your brain for the next great gallery theme... you've found it! The theme that will finally bring you the glory of the Gallery Spotlight, the dazzle of your unique theme too alluring to ignore. This triumph is short-lived, as you realize that somebody else has started an Apple gallery. What is there to do? Has everything been done before?
The answer to this question is a resounding "no". While it is impossible to ignore the fact that there are some popular gallery themes, there are hundreds of undiscovered themes to be created. All it takes is a bit of ingenuity and some passion. Here are some tips to guide you on your path to the coveted "unique theme"!
1. Avoid the common themes.
While this may seem obvious, the best way to be original... is to be original. I cannot count how many times I've seen a cupcake gallery, or a tea gallery. While they are lovely items and all of these galleries are wonderful in their own right, it gets a bit boring after the first dozen. The best way to stand out from the crowd is to not be in the crowd at all.
2. If you're going to choose a popular theme, make it different.
Maybe you feel it is your destiny to have that cupcake gallery. And hey, I get it... cupcakes are pretty darn cute! If you want to use that as your theme, though, it is important to find a way to make it truly shine (especially if you plan on going for the spotlight). Consider reducing the item to its core nature; a cupcake is composed of ingredients such as frosting and flour, and it is made with bowls and cooking utensils. If you're going for a sandwich theme, maybe choosing side dishes (like chips or fries) to go with each individual sandwich may be the way to go. These are just examples of course, and there are plenty of ways to spice up a common theme – think about what makes that theme special to you, and then it will appear special to others!
3. Browse the recent spotlight winners.
This is important for multiple reasons. Firstly, by looking at previous winners, it will tell you what themes to avoid for the time-being. While similar themes have won in the past, it is extremely unlikely that a theme that was just in a winning entry will be picked again soon after. Secondly, previous entries may spark some fresh ideas to help you pick your own theme! Maybe you will notice something unusual about a gallery that helped it stand out that you can apply to a different theme. Finally, if you have enough patience to look through a substantial amount of winning entries, you may find yourself surprised that a specific theme has not been entered... perhaps there has yet to be a chicken gallery, or a springy toy collection! Inspiration is in every single gallery in Neopia, it is just a matter of looking for it.
4. Be specific.
While I have cycled through themes more times than I care to remember, the one I ended up sticking (and winning!) with started with me picking something specific: steaming hot edible items. When deliberating between many different gallery ideas, the way I narrowed it down was by picking something specialized rather than something general. I could have chosen something like soups, but by choosing the idea of steam it allowed me to include random items that wouldn't necessarily have fit into any other category (like grilled vegetables or stir-fry). When in doubt, a good way to choose a theme is to choose a specific word or attribute like "cheesy" or "bubbly" and find ways to apply that to an entire theme. This also may cut down on the size of your gallery, which can be helpful if you aren't looking to spend a lot of money upgrading to fit all the items for your theme. If you are looking for a larger gallery theme, this method can also be helpful as long as you pick a more general phrase or characteristic. For example, if you chose to create a gallery composed of teal items, it has the potential to be huge!
5. Ask for help.
If you find yourself in over your head, the best thing to do is to ask others to help! A new set of eyes can help a lot with a problem... whether it is deciding between a few theme ideas or finding a way to narrow your search. Help is everywhere; you just need to ask to receive it. You might want to try posting a topic on the Spotlights and Galleries board. Or if there is a specific gallery you admire, ask the owner for some tips on how they got started and how they might be able to steer you in the right direction. As long as you are polite, most users would be more than willing to help, although don't take it personally if they don't have any helpful advice, or worse, you don't receive a response. There's always another person you can ask!
6. Pick something you enjoy.
Gallery building and collecting is meant to be a fun activity. Try not to stress too much about creating the perfect theme – if you like it and you feel confident in it, go for it! I cannot tell you how many times I have started a gallery with a "unique" theme that I ended up hating because my heart wasn't really in it. This is a process that ultimately wastes time and neopoints. Therefore, try to create a balance of something that you are passionate about and is something interesting. If your favorite thing is tea... then by all means, make that tea gallery! No two galleries are the same, regardless of the theme, so as long as you put yourself into it, your efforts will show through.
Hopefully, this will help you through the gallery creating process and foster some new ideas. If you decide on going for the spotlight, then I wish the best of luck to you and hope I'll be reading your username in the News sometime soon! Finally, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to send me a neomail. Happy collecting!