I’m not a web designer, I’m a web developer. Sometimes one can be both a designer and a developer, but while I know I understand design and know design sensibilities, I’m simply never going to be a designer. It’s just not my skill set. My efforts at design tend to be utilitarian and spartan, at best. (For those of you in a similar boat, check out The Non-Designer’s Design Book.)
Thankfully, there is a resource available to me at a very reasonable cost to fill the need I have for high quality designs; RocketTheme. The founders of RocketTheme are some of the original team that worked on Joomla! and have been building templates for it for several years. In the past year or so, they’ve also expanded their template offerings to include WordPress, Magento, phpBB3 and Drupal.
What started out as nice looking, varied styled templates has now become highly customizable, extendable, full featured nice looking templates. Their designs are now built on their own open source template platform called the Gantry Framework. Gantry allows for a great deal of customization including a custom view for mobile browsers. For $50, you get three months of access to the templates of one of these platforms, support, and the ability to use a template on a business site. (Please check their licensing agreement for full details.) Even more generous is the offer to use these templates on any number of non-profit websites. Note, you still must purchase access to the templates even if you are using it on a non-profit’s site. The offer is extremely generous, especially given the number of templates and styles within these templates that are available to you. They also provide the source art files for you to use to customize the look and feel to your needs. I know of no other template service or offer that matches this for quality and features.
This website has had a RocketTheme based design for the past 5 years. This is the fourth template, and the first from their WordPress work. (For more on why I have switched from the extremely versatile Joomla! platform to WordPress, read this early post.) While still finding my way about the Gantry Framework’s features for WordPress, I’m quite thrilled with the capabilities and features.