Big Cartel Theme Support

Getting started with your new Aarcade theme

Getting started with your new Aarcade theme

Please read all of this article

The following article covers important information for the first-time Aarcade theme (version 3) user and steps to take after installing an Aarcade theme to your Big Cartel account. It will address the most common questions and concerns and provide you with the best introduction to the powerful and easy to use tools built into your Aarcade theme.

It is critical that you read and understand all of this article before working with your new Aarcade theme.


The Customize design area

Click the Customize design link in your Big Cartel admin area to launch your customisation tools. Should you ever experience any issues in this area, like a disconnect between viewing your shop normally compared to in the preview window, please refer to Troubleshooting the Big Cartel Customize design (preview) admin area.

Getting started with your new Aarcade theme at Aarcade

Customise design - Themes

Never use the Themes panel of your Customize design area unless your intention is to uninstall your existing theme. Clicking any theme thumbnail in this area, including the one currently selected, will install that theme and reset all theme options like colours, header image, etc.

Getting started with your new Aarcade theme at Aarcade

Customise design - Customize

The controls available in the Customize panel of your Customize design area may vary slightly from that shown below, depending upon the base theme you chose before installing your Aarcade theme.

Header and background image

The topmost controls are used - by clicking the plus icon - to upload your own header image/logo and background image (both are optional).

How do I use the Big Cartel "Customize design" area with my Aarcade theme? at Aarcade

If you are uploading a header or background image, you can refer to the following support articles for further details:

Extra images

If your Customize panel includes an extra image uploader - e.g. Slideshow - you can upload images here for use in slideshows and galleries. Note that uploading images will not automatically display any content in your shop. You will need to add slideshows and galleries using shortcodes as explained in An introduction to shortcodes. If you are just getting started with your Aarcade theme, you should ignore this section for now.

How do I use the Big Cartel "Customize design" area with my Aarcade theme? at Aarcade

Colours and fonts

The colour and font selectors have no effect on your Aarcade theme whatsoever. These controls only effect your Seamless Checkout, if you have this enabled. In this case, you should adjust these settings so that your Seamless Checkout matches your theme.

How do I use the Big Cartel "Customize design" area with my Aarcade theme? at Aarcade

Other settings

Any further settings, below the colour and font selectors in your Customize panel, have no effect on your Aarcade theme whatsoever and can be ignored accordingly.

How do I use the Big Cartel "Customize design" area with my Aarcade theme? at Aarcade

So how do I edit my theme colours, fonts and other settings?

Your theme colours, fonts and other settings can be edited and saved in your theme file, located in the Install section of your Aarcade admin. When you need to change these settings in the future, refer to our article How do I edit my theme's styles and options?


Customise design - Pages

The Pages panel is used to:

  1. Add new pages.
  2. Re-order pages by clicking and dragging the cross arrow icons.
  3. Delete pages.
How do I use the Big Cartel "Customize design" area with my Aarcade theme? at Aarcade

The links to these pages will be automatically displayed in your Page menu. With Aarcade themes, you can also create submenus, special menu items and custom content with your page controls.

Home, View All / Shop, Contact, Search, etc.

If and when you need to edit your menus further with submenus and other special menu items - e.g. Home, View All / Shop, Contact, Search, etc. - you can refer to the articles in the support category Editing Main Menus.

Customise design - Advanced

You should never use the Advanced panel of your Customize design area unless:

  1. You are editing the styles in your CSS theme page as detailed in the Custom CSS support articles.
  2. You are backing up your theme per How do I back up my Big Cartel theme?
How do I use the Big Cartel "Customize design" area with my Aarcade theme? at Aarcade

Never edit your core theme files, i.e. Layout, Home, Products, etc. Your Aarcade theme includes tools to insert content, script, metatags, etc. without editing your core theme files. If and when you need to make such changes to your theme, you can refer to the support article An introduction to the Insert Content method.


Don’t forget to save

Don’t forget to save the changes you have made while working in your Customize design area.

How do I use the Big Cartel "Customize design" area with my Aarcade theme? at Aarcade

Back up your theme and check maintenance mode

After customising your theme settings and adding your custom pages, it is good practice to back up your theme including these changes - refer to How do I back up my Big Cartel theme?

Your Big Cartel shop was placed into Maintenance Mode during your theme installation. Your shop can not be accessed by the public while your Maintenance Mode is active, so be aware of your shop status and activate / deactivate as required – refer to Big Cartel's Settings > Options article.


Go to How do I add links like Home, Contact, View All / Shop and Search to my menu?: This support article is located in the Menus & Navigation category of this support site and provides simple instructions for adding contact, shop, view all and other special menu items.

Go to How do I edit my navigation menus in my Big Cartel admin?: This support article is located in the Menus & Navigation category of this support site and explains how to customise all of your menu links and menu areas.

How do I customise my home page, add a slide show and recreate other content shown in Aarcade previews?

Go to How do I add a slide show to my Big Cartel home page?: This support article is located in the Pages & Custom content category of this support site and provides simple instructions for displaying a slide show on your home page.

Go to How do I customise my home page in my Big Cartel admin?: This support article is located in the Pages & Custom content category of this support site and provides a more detailed look at customising your home page and the many custom content options that are available.

Go to How do I recreate one of the home pages from an Aarcade theme preview? and How do I add pages as seen in Aarcade previews, like FAQ, About Us, etc.?: These support articles are located in the Pages & Custom content category of this support site and explain how the custom content - slideshows, custom pages, custom footers, etc. - displayed in our theme previews can be copied and pasted to your own pages.

Go to How do I edit or move my social icon links?: This support article is located in the SEO, Social & Promotion category of this support site and explains how to set your social network links and control how they are displayed at your store.

I’m new to Big Cartel, are there any extra settings I should be aware of?

Go to Getting started with your new Big Cartel shop: This support article is located in the Getting Started category of this support site and will help you set off on the right track with your store settings and products.

I am replacing an older Aarcade theme version, are there any extra steps I should be aware of?

Go to Transitioning from an older Aarcade theme version: This support article is located in the Getting Started category of this support site and highlights the main items to check, if you are transitioning from an older Aarcade theme, to ensure your custom menus and content are working correctly.

Where to I find additional support?

Go to Aarcade support: You will note that all of the above items mention the support category containing the related article. This is to highlight how easy it is to start at the home page of this support site and then browse by category to locate answers to your questions.

Additionally you can use the search field, located at the top of every page on this site, to find detailed articles on using your unique Aarcade theme features.

Go to Big Cartel help: Your Aarcade theme supports all standard Big Cartel features, so refer to the Big Cartel help site for more information on the settings in your Big Cartel admin area (e.g. product options, inventory, shipping and tax settings, etc.)

How do I get my first sale or grow my customer base?

Go to What should I do to increase my audience and customers?: This support article is located in the SEO, Social & Promotion category of this support site and provides tips for improving your brand and growing your audience.


New themes and updates

To find out when new themes, updates and support articles are released, stay tuned to Featherweight updates (also available via RSS or newsletter).

AarcadeGetting started with your new Aarcade theme