With so many Joomla templates out there, I give you my list of the top 5 Joomla template providers that I use together with which specific templates I like and why.
I've spent many years scouring through Joomla templates trying to find the exact style for a project. My preference is always to go for a premium / paid template option as they are often less bug ridden and have good support either through a helpdesk or more importantly for me, a user forum. You will find that template providers stick to 'their style' of a Joomla template look and feel. There are tons of providers but I have narrowed them down to my top 5 favorites. Here's my list together with what I like about them:
If you're looking for something that's simple, clean cut and business like in design then take a look at Atict. Their templates, though straightforward in design, do offer a very professional appeal without all the 'whiz bang' features you often find in many other providers. This makes the template setup very easy to work with and changes to the code are easy to keep track of as it is essentially only a few basic files - a main index.php and a the regular CSS files.
At the time of writing they have not adopted some of the more complex frameworks that other providers are now using but that doesn't matter. Sometimes less is more as they say and it's certainly true of Atict templates. Definitely worth a look if you want to get your project going quickly and need a smart and understated business look to your online presence.
Template cost: around 27 Euros each
My favourite Atict template: Belonia - I have been through all their current offerings (trust me) and this one is their best in my opinion. Clean lines, fresh look, business like and very easy on the eye.
Gavick have a very nice back catalog of templates that are attractive, professional and have that 'slick' feeling that you often look for but is hard to find. They provide demos of all their work but I recommend that you particularly look at their 2008 collection. It seems to me that 2008 was a 'vintage' year for Gavick and they produced some really cool stuff. Take a gander at The News II, YourFlash, Aumi and MusicTop. Even take a look at their 2007 templates and in particular look at the demo of News Portal which it seems was their first template and written for Joomla 1.0. News Portal is still a great looking template in my opinion and a fresh updated 1.5 /1.6 version of this would be very welcome. Of the current crop, I would recommend MeMovie.
Template cost: Annual club cost of between 40Euros and 150Euros.
My favourite Gavick Pro templates: The News II and News Portal (News Portal is Joomla 1.0)
Previously called JoomVision now JoomlaVision, they are relatively new on the scene but are designing some very clean looking and practical templates that are more suited for a corporate feel. They seems to be generating a couple of templates a month right now and some are of very good design quality. They do seem to understand that people/business need templates that are not too over the top in 'wizardry', have a professional contemporary look (hard to achieve) and feel 'solid'.
I can attest to having a very good experience with their customer service. They always provide demos of yet unreleased templates that are still going through testing. I did email them a few months ago to ask if they would allow me to download an unreleased template for a project I was doing. They were very helpful and gave me a private download link - pretty good stuff. They try to cater for most industry types but I think their best work are the more generic themes which can be adapted for most businesses.
Template cost: Club membership ranging from $40 to $200 depending on your developer/license requirements.
My favourite JoomlaVision templates: JV Stego, JV Lago and JV Jaxar
Probably the most popular Joomla template provider and with good reason. Their catalog of templates stretches to over 100 at my last count and there are some real gems in that list. They go back to 2006 and you should definitely look at the demos of all these, you may be surprised at what you find. Similarly to Gavick Pro, 2008 seems to have been a classic year for quality JoomlArt templates. They produced 25 templates that year and in my view they are all worth looking at. In particular view JA Edenite, JA Mesolite, JA Rutile, JA Sanidine II and JA Vauxite. In 2009 look at demos of JA Topaz and JA Halite. Of the latest releases I like JA Anion. The user forums are in my view the best out there for template discussion and support. You will always find someone with the same issue as you and inevitably someone with the answer too.
They seem to value feedback and are in touch with what their customers are looking for. Their templates always have a practical, professional look and feel and are very suited for a corporate image. They also produce some very nice magazine/newspaper templates if that's what you're after such as their Teline series of themes.
Template cost: Annual subscription of $70 or more expensive options depending on developement/license requirements.
My favourite JoomlArt templates: JA Rutile, JA Edenite and JA Sanidine II. I am currently using the Edenite template on our Law Directory website using Mosets Tree.
Ok, so my current number one Joomla template provider is YOOtheme. They have been producing a template a month for the last few years and although they may not have the large back list of templates, what they do have is of superior quality to anything I have found. They have mastered the art of making a Joomla template NOT look like a Joomla template, if you know what I mean. What you end up with is a website that seriously looks as if you had invested huge sums of money into. The graphical detail on modules, menus and layout works beautifully and the framework works like a dream.
Their latest templates are based on what they call the Warp5 framework which essentially creates a fast loading, SEO favourable and very flexible layout. There are more module positions than you would ever need and each template comes with a number of style and module variations. Modules now come with optional module badges, icons, box styles and header options. These can be combined by entering a simple suffix to instantly transform any ordinary looking module into a professional looking on screen graphical element. Demos show all possible combinations in all possible module positions so that you can see right away what you're getting.
The template styles vary month to month and whilst you may not feel some are suitable at first glance, be sure to view the numerous style options before moving on. I personally love the Warp5 framework and although it may sound complex, it is very easy to understand and you will soon get to appreciate the flexibility of placing your modules, styling them, changing menu options and sculpting a very nice looking website.
Template cost: Annual membership of between 39Euros and 249Euros depending on development/license requirements.
My favourite YOOtheme templates: Enterprise, Explorer, Symphony and Evolution. I am currently using the Enterprise template on our Pinstripe Accident Claims brand.