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I am planning to have a new site created using WP pages. My company is focusing on 3 or 4 discrete areas and one of those I want to promote in particular, with its own set of pages. Ideally it would also have its own slightly different branding from the rest of the site, and pages in that section would have their own menu focusing on pages in that section - to avoid cluttering the main menu.

Is this possible/sensible with a single WP installation or would I be better setting up 2 separate ones (one on a subdomain)?

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Using two separate installations would make your life easier but this can easly be done using a single install and a custom page template ,since Individual Pages can be set to use a specific custom Page Template.

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To add to what @Bainternet said: you can have one Theme active at a time. But, as stated above, WordPress is quite flexible regarding custom Page templates, that can have not only unique layout, but also unique style definitions. – Chip Bennett Jun 3 '11 at 15:29
and i got to mention the template conditional tags that are available – Bainternet Jun 3 '11 at 15:39

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