I am not a fan of template clubs.
More and more the tendency for joomla template club designers is to showcase as many different things as possible that they can achieve in a Joomla template rather than concentrate on the best way to present the site owner's content.
When someone visits a site I have built, I don't want the first thing they think of to be "oh that is pretty" or "ooh look at that slide show". I want them to find the information that they came to the site for in the first place.
And of course I don't want them to think that the site looks familiar because they have seen the template before.
Plus as a site owner I want to be able to chose my own extensions and not be tied into the template designers own extensions just to make the site design work. Over the last 6 months the requirement to use a predefined set of supplied extensions has in my mind become a worrying trend.
The easy option is of course to build my own templates from scratch, but if you are anything like me then this isn't a realistic option as I am devoid of both the artistic talent and requisite CSS skills required.
For large clients with a realistic budget I have been able to commission custom templates from some very talented designers. But for the smaller client they have typically been left with a choice of either a "free" template which they will need to spend hours customising or a club template that is neither original or easy to setup and in my experience extremely hard to customise.
What do I want?
Well in an ideal world I would have a wysiwyg template creator that will do all the hard stuff for me. It would let me quickly and easily and most importantly visually create a template that:-
- has a sensible colour palette
- 1,2 or 3 column layout
- valid css and html
- all the required joomla css classes
- header images
- background images
- font selection and sizing
Today I found it!!
Artisteer provides everything I need and want plus more. I can click through its own random selections for each aspect of the template and / or use the fine grained controls for extra control.
And after 10-20 minutes I have my first joomla template.
The CSS is all valid and there is not a table in sight.
Of course it isn't perfect, what is, but for a first release I am very impressed. My only issue with it right now is that by default it does not produce collapsible modules but that is an easy fix for me to make to the generated template.
Oh and did I mention it also produces Wordpress, Drupal and pure HTML templates as well.
[note as promisedthe link to artisteer above is not an affiliate link.