25 Designs. 5 Content Management Systems.

Faz July 28, 2009 17

A few years ago, if a web developer was asked to name some content management systems, then there would have been a few on their lips that were hardly known or had any strength in how the web worked. This was because of the inexperience of the user and complications of the CMS’s which led to it being very difficult to customise or modify the CMS. That was then.

These days, the hard working teams behind many of the popular open source CMS’ have led to it being very easy and simple to customise the packages to the pixel. This said, there are many good designers who still find it difficult to say you can customise anything other than WordPress in fine detail. I aim to show you that WordPress isn’t the only solution which offers good flexibility (I agree it’s the friendliest however, with a bit more work, you can easily become just as good on many other platforms).

I have chosen 5 popular content management systems and for each of these, have chosen 5 stunning designs to show you that you can just as well achieve similar results as if you were using WordPress:

  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Magento
  • Expression Engine
  • Prestashop


A very popular content Management system.


Another Popular CMS. There is generally a debate about which CMS is better; Joomla or Drupal?


Enterprise level eCommerce shopping cart.

Expression Engine

A CMS which has lots of functionality and has its advantages above other.


Another eCommerce platform to use if Magento is not for you.


To build a stunning site like any of the above, there are a few requirements:

  • Creativivity
  • Design Skill
  • Time
  • Development Experience. (Just a little will do…)

About the author

This article is written by Faz who is the founder of GameCom, a popular video game forum.


  1. Matt July 29, 2009 at 05:21 - Reply

    Actually development skills are highly in demand for all of these platforms to create something different than a standard 3-column design. Knowledge of XML (Magento), Smarty (PrestaShop) and genuine PHP (Drupal) are not for the entry level designers or developers.

    Although Drupal and Joomla are very popular you should also try and find other CMS platforms that are doing an amazing job and are very easy to style. A good example is the PHP Fusion 7 which has been brought from the darkness of tables to the div-based broad daylight. And styling it is incredibly easy thanks to the special structure of the theme itself.

    Overall I love the designs that you showed us here and keep up the good work!

    • Faz July 29, 2009 at 18:06 - Reply

      Good call!

  2. Emi Carmichael July 29, 2009 at 15:24 - Reply

    AWESOME post! Design flexibility is (understandably) one of the first concerns of any design-led agency (or freelancer). This article is living proof that web design and CMS can play well together.


    • Faz July 29, 2009 at 18:08 - Reply

      In the past, it used to get quite difficult to implement a design to the CMS perfectly and that moved people away from using them! That was then, this is now!!

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Blaze Boy July 30, 2009 at 00:23 - Reply

    it’s too hard to make a new CMS that worth … even if you got the idea it’s difficult to make it right and spread the word
    i made for example a CMS to make it easy on the designer and the developer to build a site
    but i don’t know how to spread the word
    i hope it get famous sometime
    i want you guys to download and etst it for me and contact me on

    • Faz July 30, 2009 at 07:41 - Reply

      It is indeed very difficult to put together a new CMS due to the amount of work involved. You will notice that all the top CMS’s around have a very large dedicated team behind them.

      When I get the chance, I’ll check your out! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Phil July 30, 2009 at 03:11 - Reply

    I think your links for http://www.blossomcart.com and http://www.notesprecieuses.com are switched.

    All of the sites look very good, very fresh. Thank you for sharing.

    • Faz July 30, 2009 at 07:46 - Reply

      Ooops! I have corrected this now.
      Well done for spotting and thanks a lot!

  5. Patrick Morrow August 26, 2009 at 22:31 - Reply

    A fully functional open source CMS, built by a small team, and now being used to run more than 60 sites – http://www.refinerycms.com.

    • Faz August 27, 2009 at 08:47 - Reply

      Nice. When I get a chance, I’ll take a better look!

  6. John September 6, 2009 at 23:45 - Reply

    Check ModX CMS…best around…better than the 5 presented here…for designers or developers…doesn’t matter but I see it from a designer perspective…it’s so easy to implement in your designs…you don’t believe it until you did it the first time =)!

    • Faz September 7, 2009 at 15:36 - Reply

      Sounds too good to be true! Will check it out soon.


  7. bayilik September 5, 2010 at 14:36 - Reply

    We entered to a software as Bayilik Franchise Software. This post gave help us for develop our program. We will send our software for your ideas.

  8. Florin Salam November 22, 2011 at 17:30 - Reply

    Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

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