Pre-sales FAQ

Read before you buy


Do I need a domain name?
No. We can host your site at or you can place a Flatfile site within an existing domain that you or someone you know owns.

What is WordPress? And what’s a theme?
WordPress is open-source software created to set up blogs. It is powerful enough to run more than just blogs. Since 2006, whole Web sites have been made with WordPress plus custom coding. The term theme refers to the design and programming that sits on top of WordPress. Different themes look and act differently.

How long does it take to get up and running?
If you’re unfamiliar — and like it that way — with domains and hosting and Web site development, we can handle all of that for you. Set-up is fastest and most predictable on our server. You can still use your own domain name ( Installation of WordPress on other servers is usually a one-click installation. Flatfile installs as an uploaded zip file. From there, we recommend looking at our pre-sales and support demo videos.

Do you provide hosting? What’s the advantage to hosting with you?
We do! We’re quite proud of our industrial strength server. Our server is a dedicated server and is faster that what you’ll be able to afford on your own. We also have a centralized theme library, so you’re assured of immediate bug fixes and upgrades to WordPress and Flatfile. Hosting with us also means you don’t need a domain name, but if you do have one, it can point to our server. Read more about our hosting services.

Will my site show up high in Google?
That’s the idea. Flatfile does not use Flash, and is built with all of the recommended tags and syntax for great indexing. Our early adopters are all showing up first or just below. Ultimately there is no way — other than paying for it — to assure first placement atop Google.

Will I need special software to set up my site?
You just need a computer with your images on them and a modern Web browser. All of the software is on the Web server.

Can I convert my old site to Flatfile?
Flatfile uses a WordPress database. If your old site was made with WordPress, you can likely change to the Flatfile theme and make some changes within each post. Sites made in Flash or in HTML only can be mined for their useful raw materials (images). Uploading to Flatfile is super easy and you’ll want a fresh start.

Can I sell my work within the site?
We recommend that you link to an externally hosted e-commerce network like Supermarket or Etsy. Those sites help bring users to your work as well as manage the nitty gritty of e-commerce. There are pure hosting solutions out there like Wazala and Big Cartel. We have not tried the plethora of plugins that exist for WordPress, but do look into this (if you plan to host yourself). If you want to let users buy right from an image, by all means drop in a PayPal buy button. This is what we do for our humble offering of Design Office projects in our store.

Image and video handling

How big can/should my files be? And in what format?
You can upload jpg, png or gif files. jpg is your best bet. You will be sizing your images to the maximum you want them to be seen. Flatfile will make the smaller versions for you. We recommend maximum images anywhere at least 1200 pixels wide or tall. Your file sizes should be about less than 5mb each.

How do you handle video?
Video can pulled in from YouTube or Vimeo. Vimeo has a cleaner player, and if you upgrade to their Plus account, you can customize a large number of aspects of the player.
w See our demo site for video
P See a how-to video on adding video

What is my maximum storage space?
For our server: 7mb for each image, 300mb total. If you’re hosting your own, that is up to your hosting provider.


Can I change the background color?
If you are hosting your own site, you are able to edit the style sheets and change what you like. Our hosting service uses one theme for every site. We regret changing the background color is not one of our customizable options.

Can I change typefaces?
If you are hosting your own site, you are able to edit the style sheets and change typefaces. There are WordPress plug-ins for TypeKit and WebFonts that you may install on your own sever for many more type options. We plan to implement these and Google @font-face fonts on our hosting service by summer 2011.


Who are you?
This project was started by John Caserta, founder of The Design Office, MFA Yale University 2004 and Assistant Professor at The Rhode Island School of Design. John was joined by developer and now RISD MFA graduate Andrew LeClair. The project is supported by the folks at The Design Office and a network of designer/programmer types in various cities around the U.S. If you are a super-user and want to be a part of the support team, contact John at

What is your support policy?
Take a look at our policy on the support site.

Do you offer personal support
Yes, we offer it in two ways: a 2-hour one-time demo for $200 and a by-the-week support plan for $400. You can buy this at any time. Read more.

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September 2, 2013