While we prefer custom designs, here are some excellent options for those looking to save money.
When someone says a site "looks like a Joomla!™ site", we cringe. Joomla!™ has a huge advantage over the other CMS platforms with the easy and functional nature of its template system, so with a little bit of work, a Joomla!™ site can look like anything.
Even for the less skilled or basic users, there are hundreds of companies in the market right now who are producing templates (and template frameworks) for Joomla!™
Additionally, some of these companies offer clubs - meaning that instead of buying one template on an as needed basis, there's an option to buy a subscription or "join the club". Membership in the template club usually provides unlimited access to support and downloads for every template the club offers.
Here are some of the better ones:
- YooTheme - Consistently well built with no built in reliance on additional extensions, YooTheme's templates are one of our first choices. Built on the Warp platform all of their recent templates provide responsive design features. Additionally, their latest templates provide a powerful layout construction tool that allows some pretty elaborate customization without any coding. - http://www.yootheme.com/
- RocketTheme - Probably the biggest name in the Joomla! template market, they provide excellent and well built templates. Utilizing their "Gantry" framework and their "rok" extensions, much of the functionality of the site can also be adjusted with template settings. - http://www.rockettheme.com/
- GavickPro - Coming in strong, GavickPro provides responsive designs that also frequently incorporate a lot of the "flat" design features we've seen along with templates that heavily utilize the scroll wheel on the mouse. - http://www.gavick.com/
- JoomlaBamboo - Among the first Joomla template providers to start working with responsive design, JoomlaBamboo builds their templates on the "T3" framework. They also offer powerful and flexible extensions to work in conjunction with their template like their multi-purpose Zentools module and Zenkit for K2 templates. - http://www.joomlabamboo.com/
- JoomlArt - Another one of the larger clubs, JoomlArt also utilizes the "T3" framework. They consistantly are adding new templates to their portfolio and heavily market a robust tech support system. - http://www.joomlart.com/
So there you have five excellent choices, we've worked with all five of those, but at this point we'll put it back to our readers. Who did we leave out? What do you like or not like about these companies? We welcome your thoughts.