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The Red Ferret Product of the Year 2008 – Software – Artisteer


Last year was the year of the CMS. By that I mean, it was the year WordPress came out of its shell and proved to the world that it could become as much of a mainstay of the Web as say, Paypal or Google.

It’s for this reason that we’ve awarded Artisteer the software product of the year. This program, which lets you instantly create great looking CMS site themes, is not freeware, but the utility of the program is such that we simply couldn’t ignore the promise it holds. There were rivals for the spot of course. We love what Weather Watcher has to offer, with it’s excellent collection of weather tools for serious cloud watchers, and Joiku, the powerful tool to turn your mobile phone into a wireless WiFi hotspot is also a real attention grabber.

But at the end of the day, we think Artisteer has the capacity to dramatically transform the ease of use of creating websites based around WordPress and other CMS packages. The program takes web design to another level, by offering automated tools which even the most indolent would-be designer can use and understand. And more than that, it’s the fact that the end result actually works well that impresses us the most. Not only can you build great looking WordPress and generic HTML templates (and soon Joomla and Blogger) but they actually install properly and work as they should. Which is powerfully enabling for the graphically challenged.

It will never replace a quality designer of course, but that’s not the target market. We’re looking at the population of non-design coders, the mom and pop site builders, the young, the web loving guru in the developing world, all of whom should seriously take a look at this and see if it fits into their small business plans. Lovely program.

 Artisteer is the first and only Web design automation product that instantly creates fantastic looking, unique Website templates and Blog themes…No need to learn Photoshop, CSS, HTML or other technologies…With Artisteer YOU immediately become a Web design expert, editing and slicing graphics, coding XHTML and CSS, and creating Web design templates and WordPress themes – all in minutes, without Photoshop or Dreamweaver, and no technical skills.


  • We agreed so much that we covered your post at… Thanks!

  • Can't agree with you more; Artisteer makes it easier to build standards compliant templates and is quite pocket friendly too! Should be even more useful when they integrate Joomla, Drupal and Blogger.

  • Anyone thinking about buying Artisteer really should download the trial first and make sure that they can use the output. The statement that 'knowledge of html is not recessary' is misleading, it may be true of WordPress, but certainly not of HTML templates and CMS. Having said that it is good value with a very good manual.

  • Brian is correct, try the demo first. The site makes out that any old dummy can do it, unfortunately I am not any old dummy – I can fathom it. It seems really good , just beyond me at the moment.

  • I am currently trying out the trial version and what I am disappointed with is the fact that you can't edit the bottom footnote colors without having to go into the CSS or footer.php file for your wordpress template. This is something that should be in the program….. not something you have to search for to edit after you export your template. So as it stands you do in fact need to know how to edit HTML and CSS files because currently not all color editing is built into the program as it should be.

  • So how well will a site built with this for Joomla 1.5x fare when a joomla upgrade/patch is needed? Wonder if anything would break during the upgrade if there wasn't any kind of patch?
    Looks like a solid program for sure though.

  • The program does work and I will be purchasing it. However, it is advisable to know HTML and CSS along with a spoon full of PHP. You want all your components to match too!

    It is also the case that although it is easy to create a template, it is still very possible for someone without a design bone in there body to make a horrible looking template too. So there is some skill needed. Or at least a bit of taste.

    I would like to see an addition added so that I can add my own background illustrations and glares to use.

    An upgraded menu option for buttons would be a super addition also.

  • Have to say i have loved this since i found it.
    only thing that got to me was that you couldnt submit your themes
    to wordpress theme site so i have just setup blog-skins
    so any one using this sofware can click my user name
    register with us and post your web designs

  • The WordPress themes generated from this product do not function properly in FireFox 3.5 (they work fine in Internet Explorer and FireFox 3.0.11). Buyer beware – the issue has been brought up on their support forums and has been ignored.

  • see also Codelobster – Free PHP IDE with cpecial plug-ins for CMS.

  • We have put a couple of professional drupal projects on the road with Artisteer. It has decreased the turnaround time and price of webprojects significantly. So far it was alwasy compatible with each and every module we used with our Artisteer generated theme, also upgraded some without diffculty. However for real professional use we have found that manual aditing of CSS and themes was always necessary. It still helps to be a CSS guru. But it is a significant progress, when the grahic designer can go 80% of the way with this great tool anf keep the Coder busy only with minor adjustments.
    It changed our lives.

  • hoe kan ik in artisteer exporteren in joomlaa 1.5

  • This software is just cool.

  • As a few people have said earlier – "Download the trial". If you are a total beginner, then this is only going to frustrate you. However, if you are a bit more advanced then this should be a no brainer. At $49.95 for the home version, even if you value your time at $1 an hour you will be saving money.

  • Artisteer is a very good software. I have it basic licensed version.


    You WILL need prior knowledge of HTML and CSS and PHP skills.

    I urge you not to buy it unless you have that knowledge, or someone close by with the skills to help you with it, because when it all goes wrong, their support team will not provide the attention you need to get yourself out of the mire.

    The support team WILL ASSUME YOU KNOW TECHNICAL STUFF. Don't go anywhere near it until you know what you are doing – and this comes from someone who loves the flexibility of the tool in producing super standardised designs. When you ask for their support they will send you away with the message to 'Go away and learn some skills'.

    Customer after-care is not good, there's no telephone support or instant chat …. you have to use email, wait hours on end and sometimes days for a response. If you are unhappy with the product there is no guideline on their website for appealing for a refund of your hard earned cash. And don't even think about engaging with them on Twitter – their Twitter account is entirely for PushMarketing! (How not to improve brand sentiment the Artisteer way). I wonder what Chris Prillo would say about their social media engagement!

    Just read all these comments very carefully, this product is still too new to be singing it's praises in the way that some of the Press pages have! You will find lots of disgruntled users on other professional networks and forums on the web, if you take time to look.

    It will be a test of the company how far this product can go to be called a genuine 'universal solution to website building'.

    At the moment it is a web designers 'time-saving tool' for those who want to save themselves a bit of time in the design process… that is the real target audience.

    ……… A great big #FAIL for total transparency.

    • I'm sorry but I *really* have to disagree. I've used this product apart from just the test I did here, and it works as advertised. You can use one of the themes, set up the design the way you want, and the output will work as a full fledged theme. Now I agree that you will need to understand principles like web hosting and uploading files and stuff like that, but the product is not try to fix all that. It is a theme generator and for that it shines.

      If you want end to end seamless web site building, then you'll need to use one of the many free online services like Weebly, Wix or even just Two different markets.

  • Aristeer deserve this award because the plug ins and functionality are superb and easy to use for user,

  • If you are not a designer, this is the way to go! It's a simple solution to building WordPress websites and avoids the nusance and expense of looking for those not so free WordPress templates. You can now build your own.

    Plus, if you ever have any intention of building website for others, this is a simple solution with loads of functionality.

  • Great thing for those like me who are in business of creating and modifying WP blogs and themes. I was looking for something like this software and found your blog, but this post may be a bit out of date (2008) so I'll do more research on this. Thanks either way!

  • It's pretty neat for simple blog-style themes! Tons of options and fun to play with too.

  • Aristeer is good just try it

  • This becomes old now. Yet it is simple and easy to use. I love to play with the themes and plug-ins. Regards.

  • I totally agree with brian that We should should download the trial first and make sure that they can use the output. Thanks.

  • not so bad…

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