During 2010, the Joomla! community experienced a veritable explosion of creativity in the world of template design. With new template companies and new designers coming on to the scene, the rapid development of popular template frameworks and, of course, the phenomenal expansion of the Joomla! user base which seems to be driving a lot of the innovation, the Joomla! template scene evolved, and continues to evolve, at quite an astonishing pace.
The following is by no means a definitive list of the absolute best templates available for Joomla!, but is rather a collection of designs that we like and are inspired by from our fellow designers. So, in light of this, here are our favourite Joomla! template designs from 2010...
Kyle Ledbetter's top 5 templates for 2010
2010 was the year of JoomlaBamboo. Anthony went from a minimal designer that I respected to a trend-setting Joomla! designer that I envied. Rasa is a perfect example of the type of minimal, yet classy design that's needed so badly in the Joomla template world.
I couldn't decide between Rasa and Ecolift, so I'm listing both! Ecolift is another stellar template from JoomlaBamboo. If I were to run a "green" business, or any holistic website, this would easily be my choice.
2010 was the "year of the framework" in Joomla!, and Morph started that party. Framework or not, Creativa is a beautifully crafted experience and probably my fave social networking theme in Joomla!
I wasn't sure if Rockettheme would make my list. It's not that they don't do good design, but that they hardly stray from their typical design style (Why should they? That's what has made them uber-successful). I really liked Omnicron because, for a change, I could really see this template used for a real website, for software. This post is about design, but the RokFeatureTable extension is very cool and useful, and also well designed. I also applaud the iPhone optimization.
Continuing with the surprise entries; PostNote was by far my favorite Gavick template of the year (and all time). Gavick is known for their news/magazine layout, and are the best at that style in Joomla!. PostNote could certainly be used for a magazine, but it has a uniquely designed and innovative homepage.
Another pleasant surprise was Noble from Yootheme. Yootheme is similar to Rockettheme in my mind. They don't typically stray from their bread and butter. Noble was a very nice departure. Elegant and subtle, it was not the typical "Yoo" style.
Anthony Olsen's top 5 template picks for 2010
This is really a very elegant design, and I love the attention to detail across the whole design. I'm a big fan of breaking out the date elements in a theme and this design does it superbly.
The Postnote theme was mentioned in my trends for template design a few months back, so it's no surprise that it ranks in my top 5 templates for this year. I really like the detail in this one too, especially the shadow under the intro text images. This, in my opinion, is one of the best examples of sophisticated minimalism I've seen in a Joomla! template.
I really like the sense of fun you get from this design. There have been some good examples of sites advertising design conferences this year (such as the drupal con design or the 2011 Jandbeyond design) and I think that JA Events has captured the event concept well.
One of the trends I mentioned in the Joomla! template trend article was the use of large banner images. There were actually some really interesting jQuery gallery scripts like the supersize image gallery that pushed the envelope (a little too far perhaps) in terms of creating background image sliders, but I think Panacea nails it perfectly. The thing I like about it is that the design itself is actually pretty subtle, but because of the way the slideshow is implemented, it creates quite a striking contrast.
Le Blanc was also featured in the template trends article and I still think it's a really strong design. I like the way the design matches the large typography, plenty of negative space with a simple palette to create not quite a blank slate (but almost) for you to start your blog from. I especially like the text shadow on the large text elements, very subtle, but I think it adds real depth to the design.
Over to you now... What were your favourite designs from 2010 and why?