8 Recommended Themes for Drupal Beginners

recommended-drupal-themes

“I downloaded Omega and Delta at the advice of an expert, but I’m really confused about how they work.”

We hear a lot of support requests like this.

Themes can be confusing for Drupal beginners. We often speak with beginners who visit the theme page at Drupal.org and find the most popular themes at the top of the screen. They install Zen, Omega, AdaptiveTheme or Fusion and wonder why everything is so difficult.

To avoid this confusion, we strongly recommend that beginners avoid any theme that contains the phrases “starting theme”, “theme framework” or “base theme”.

For this post we found 8 of the best themes for beginners.

Here’s the criteria we use to select the themes:

  • Works immeadiately after installation with no complex setup.
  • Has a design that’s good enough to use on a blog or business site.
  • Has with no obvious errors.
  • Has no major installation requirements such as javascript libraries, modules or base themes.

If you’re a Drupal newcomer, try building your first site with one of these 8 themes:

#1. Danland

media_1377617411251.png

There are two versions of this theme: Danland and Danblog. Danblog is the simpler version with no slideshow. If you use Danland, you can replace the slideshow images by uploading files to /sites/all/themes/danland/images/. Use files with the same name as the existing files, such as sea.jpg.

#2. Business

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Business doesn’t require that you touch any code at all. You can upload your logo and replace the slideshow images directly from the theme’s settings page.

#3. Professional Theme

media_1377619183811.png

As with Business, which is the work of the same developer, Professional Theme doesn’t require that you touch any code at all to update the logo or slideshow.

#4. Simple Corporate

media_1377619674395.png

This is our third example from the same developer. Their main site is http://www.devsaran.com and its well worth checking out for more easy, usable themes.

#5. JournalCrunch

media_1377619922050.png

JournalCrunch is more image focused than the other themes we’ve seen so far. However, it’s easy to use. JournalCrunch will detect and display any image fields you have on your content. With this theme, there’s no need to touch code here at all.

#6. Corporate Clean

media_1377617658271.png

CorporateClean is setup correctly immediately after installation. You can replace the slideshow with blocks, or you can edit the existing text in /sites/all/themes/corporateclean/page.tpl.php and the existing images in /sites/all/themes/corporateclean/mockup/

#7. Corked Screwer

media_1377620310107.png

Corked Screwer is the third example from the same developer. It’s similar to JournalCrunch because it is also very image heavy. However, it’s also similar to Corporate Clean because you have to edit the code to edit the homepage. Go to /sites/all/themes/corkedscrewer/page.tpl.php to the homepage images and text.

#8 FontFolio

media_1377621233446.png

Fontfolio has a really image heavy homepage. Just add an image field to your content type and Fontfolio will automatically detect and display those images.

Instructor

  • Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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Ryan Szrama

I recently discovered Bamboo – you should definitely add that to the list. : )
[url=http://drupal.org/project/bamboo]http://drupal.org/project/b…[/url]

steve

Thanks Ryan. Yes, I was playing Bamboo and wondering whether to include it. The only reason I didn’t is that dev work seems to be moving to a new theme: [url=https://drupal.org/project/gratis]https://drupal.org/project/…[/url]

Ryan Szrama

Yeah, saw Gratis, too, but stuck with Bamboo as a more stable foundation. I’m not a themer and don’t really make complex sites outside of work, so something quick and easy like Bamboo was just the ticket for me.

Jim

I liked Bamboo so much I switched our production site to it see it here [url=http://louisiana.kitchenandculture.com]http://louisiana.kitchenand…[/url] I was looking for a simple way to become responsive, I think this does the job

steve

Thanks Jim. Looks like Bamboo is definitely a worthy addition to this list.

Danomatic

Hey thanks for the mentions of Bamboo and Gratis. As Ryan Szrama pointed out, Bamboo is stable at this point and has been out for about 9 months now though I started developing over a year ago. It was my first contrib project to [url=http://drupal.org]drupal.org[/url]. It’s been a great experience working on it and people from all over the world have written to me thanking me for the work i’ve done on the theme. I wrote a blog post called “Random Acts of Drupal” related to my experience with developing and designing Bamboo.
I had a lot of feature requests for Bamboo for a more flexible layout and though it’s responsive, it uses the Skeleton framework which is pixel based. I decided to design Gratis in response to some of these feature requests. For Gratis I use Nathan Smith’s Unsemantic Framework which is percentage based but I also added a UI setting where the user can decide the max width of the layout. Gratis also has a nice mobile menu using FlexNav which I thought brought a better UX to the picture. Work on Gratis is ongoing in my free time so it’s still a bit of a moving target. Bamboo leans more towards a skeuomorphic style whereas Gratis is non-skeuomorphic and has a flat UI style.
steve – One thing to take into consideration in regard to the themes listed in this article is support, after all this is a post about theme’s for beginners. There’s one maintainer who doesn’t really give any support for their themes amd wants to charge people for “premium support” in their issue queues. There’s been a few issues open in the webmaster’s queue in regard to this matter so it’s well documented so I think that’s a really important factor to take into consideration as well.

Danomatic

Thanks for mentioning Bamboo and Gratis. Bamboo has been out for a while now and I had a lot of feature requests to allow Bamboo to have a more flexible layout. Since it’s based on the Skeleton Framework, though responsive, it was limited as its grid is pixel based.
I decided to design Gratis to overcome that issue so it’s based on Nathan Smith’s Unsemantic Framework which is percentage based within. I’ve added a UI setting where the user can decide their total width and the responsive grid adjusts accordingly. As mentioned by @rszrama, Bamboo is fairly stable at this point. Gratis is still in heavy development and is still a bit of a moving target. Gratis also has a mobile menu based on FlexNav which offerers a nice UX on phones and tablets.
@steveburge, since this is a post about themes for beginners, one thing to keep in mind is the level of support offered through the [url=http://drupal.org]drupal.org[/url] issue queue for any given project. There’s one maintainer above who offers very minimal support if any in his issue queues. This matter has been brought up in a few webmaster’s support tickets, one of which I opened as the maintainer has mercilessly attempted to claim to offer “premium support” for a fee. I just wanted to point that out, I think it’s really important. I’ve had people contact me from all over the world with thanks and props for my two themes on [url=http://drupal.org]drupal.org[/url]. I ended up writing a blog post called “Random Acts of Drupal” which highlights the notion of being a good maintainer.

Danomatic

Thanks for mentioning Bamboo and Gratis. Bamboo has been out for a while now and I had a lot of feature requests to allow Bamboo to have a more flexible layout. Since it’s based on the Skeleton Framework, though responsive, it was limited as its grid is pixel based.
I decided to design Gratis to overcome that issue so it’s based on Nathan Smith’s Unsemantic Framework which is percentage based within. I’ve added a UI setting where the user can decide their total width and the responsive grid adjusts accordingly. As mentioned by @rszrama, Bamboo is fairly stable at this point. Gratis is still in heavy development and is still a bit of a moving target. Gratis also has a mobile menu based on FlexNav which offerers a nice UX on phones and tablets.
@steveburge, since this is a post about themes for beginners, one thing to keep in mind is the level of support offered through the [url=http://drupal.org]drupal.org[/url] issue queue for any given project. There’s one maintainer above who offers very minimal support if any in his issue queues. This matter has been brought up in a few webmaster’s support tickets, one of which I opened as the maintainer has mercilessly attempted to claim to offer “premium support” for a fee. I just wanted to point that out, I think it’s really important. I’ve had people contact me from all over the world with thanks and props for my two themes on [url=http://drupal.org]drupal.org[/url]. I ended up writing a blog post called “Random Acts of Drupal” which highlights the notion of being a good maintainer.
Note, I’ve had issues with posting to disqus this morning so I hope this does not get double or triple posted.

steve

Thanks indeed for a great comment, Danny
You’re right. Support is a major thing to consider.
Sadly, I struggled really hard to find even these 8 themes plus (Bamboo and Gratis) so I couldn’t shrink the list any further.
It probably is worth noting that of these free themes, only #1, #8 and Bamboo and Gratis are not provided by commercial companies.

Pradeep Saran

Thanks Steve for including my 3 themes (Business, Professional and Corporate theme)

steve

You’re welcome, Pradeep. Thanks for providing some straightforward themes.

Themesrefinery

Such a nice collection of drupal themes looking awesome.Thanks

Best Drupal Themes

Stevensen Lewis

Very Interesting post. very Nice I am very happy to Read this post.. Thanks

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