Dave Kover of Kovdev Gives us the Rundown on Custom ADW Launcher Themes

Dave Kover of Kovdev Gives us the Rundown on Custom ADW Launcher Themes

Sep 2, 2011

Since April, we’ve been featuring ADW Launcher themes here on Android Rundown. In that span of time, we’ve seen everything from ultra-minimal, monochromatic themes with banal icons to vivid, colorful themes with icons of all shapes. As the person who scours the Android Market for themes to feature, I’ve made it a point to feature a wide variety of themes from a diverse selection of authors. One author’s themes, however, tend to stick out more than most. That author is Dave Kover of Kovdev.

Kovdev has produced several of my favorite ADW Launcher themes, including Tha Shag, Tha Plus and Tha Natural. Each theme seems made up of very interesting ideas, and there’s a level of quality that shines through with each one. What goes into making these themes, though? Where do such ideas come from, and who brings it all together? To find out, I contacted Dave to ask him about the process.

What I discovered is that the themes produced by Kovdev are actually a 2-person effort, beginning with some inspiration found in the icons produced by an artist from Montreal who goes by the name “Tha Phlash.”

As Dave puts, it, “As of late, my inspiration is based on the icon styles that @ThaPhlash produces, as we collaborate together on the majority of the themes that I’ve published. To be honest, this whole thing has been a hobby but it’s so addicting that I find myself spending more and more time on it.”

Next, I wanted to know what kind of tools are required to produce a theme, and how long does it take to create a custom theme?

Kover responds, “Despite the fact that @ThaPhlash is creating the icons, it still takes awhile to put together the rest of the theme. I try to keep wallpapers and docks relevant to the style he’s brought forth with the icons. I typically just toil within Photoshop to do most of the work but occasionally Flash or Cinema4D come in handy.

“Despite having a solid base to work with, getting the theme published is a lengthy process. Don’t get me wrong, you could definitely push one out faster than I do, but I like to think my extra attention to details and double-checking allows for higher quality than some other offerings you’ll find on the market.”

If the number of Kovdev themes that I’ve chosen to feature on Android Rundown are any indication, I whole-heartedly agree. There is a level of quality and attention to detail unmatched by other theme authors. So, what kind of advice would Dave offer to other theme authors? And is this something you can actually make a living at?

“My biggest advice is to focus on quality and appeal,” Kover writes. “Is this a design that you would use yourself? I’d rather scrap an idea before anyone ever sees it because I know that it’s not up to a quality I’d want to be associated with. Given that we’re mostly dealing with cosmetics, this has to be something you are doing purely for the passion of it. The Android market is a scary place for theme designers. If you are just hoping to make a quick buck, well then I wish you good luck and let me know how it works out for you.”

Good advice for anyone, really, regardless of what they’re doing.

Finally, because ADW Launcher isn’t the only launcher out there that supports themes, I had to know, which launcher does Dave actually use? And which theme is his favorite?

Dave replies that, “I’ve tried to use other launchers, but I keep coming back to ADW [Launcher] EX. If only for the fact that it truly lets me customize the experience and still retains a solid, speedy feel. When working on a new theme, I use that one exclusively until its released. Afterwards, you’ll find a mix of 2-3 of my themes that I always come back to. They consist of Eyefold, Post-It and Gemstone. Tha Eyefold in particular is partial to me because it really jump-started this whole partnership with @ThaPhlash and that alone has been instrumentally inspirational.”

Seen below are screenshots of Dave’s current set up, featuring a background from R2 Wallpapers by Jsinlegacy/gbianchi:

As the world of custom themes spins on, I find that I can’t wait to see what great ideas Dave produces next. Dave offers free versions of his themes, but if you like them, definitely consider purchasing them. Included with the price are free updates which often include new icons to go with the ever increasing number of apps on the Android Market.

Theme Thursday – Tha Shag

Theme Thursday – Tha Shag

May 5, 2011

I was born just late enough to miss most of the 70s, but not soon enough to miss some of the leftovers of that decade. Of course, when your parents don’t have a lot of money, they tend to hang on to whatever came with the house, and that included deep-pile, shag carpeting. I fondly remember spending long afternoons in front of our 26-inch, RCA console television, playing Atari 2600 video games on the floor, comfortably nestled in the greenish-yellow shag carpeting of our living room. Ahh, the good ol’ days.

That’s why, in the name of nostalgia, we’re going to take a trip back with this week’s Theme Thursday – Tha Shag.

If you don’t know the drill by now, Theme Thursday is when we highlight themes for ADW Launcher, a free, highly customizable home replacement for Android.

The idea behind Tha Shag is to cover your Android device in wall-to-wall retro. While there is a free version, for US$2.99, you get a graphically enhanced action bar, additional dock styles and over 540 custom icons. You also get 8 gaudy wallpapers that feature various scenes — from a plush, shaggy Android to rainbows, stripes and, the coup de grace of old-school home decor, wood wall panelling. Oh. yeah; this theme goes there.

On the negative side, a few common icons seem to be absent. However, the author of this theme is more than willing to create them for you if you send him an email. Other than that, only one of the wallpapers really complements the icons; the rest sort of stick out.

If you’d like to take a test spin, try the free version. Otherwise, go straight for the US$2.99 version and get the deluxe icon set. Just don’t run too fast or you’ll risk getting rug burn. Shag is all fun and games until someone gets hurt, baby.