Drupal for Web Designers – Introduction

Categories Articles, Drupal, Web Design

This is the first episode of a new weekly series about the other most popular CMS. Yes ladies and gentleman we’re talking about Drupal! First of all will let our new guest author Idan Arbel of Arbel Designs. Feel free to share your thought on CMSes, Drupal or anything else in the comments section. Enjoy!


My name is Idan and I’ve been designing websites since 2001 and for the past 4 years I’ve been using Drupal as my CMS of choice. I think Drupal is an amazing piece of software that has given my business an amazing boost. How you ask? Well simple, I consider myself a web DESIGNER, not a web developer or a programmer, I Design and I think I’m good at it. I also have a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design, but I digress…I’m a designer and I wanted to be able to provide my clients with rich content management systems that would allow them to update their website’s content by themselves and not have to rely on me. Up until 4 years ago I either had to outsource the development part, or simply create static html sites that required me to update the sites manually. Then I discovered Drupal and I’ve been loving it ever since.
Let me tell you why I think you should get into Drupal, or at least why I don’t intend to leave Drupal in the foreseeable future.

Let start with what’s important to me – the DESIGN

Drupal has great templating and theming system that allows you to pretty much do anything you want with the design of the site.

I have never felt that Drupal was limiting me in any way from a design standpoint. I start each project by designing the website in Photoshop, I have full creative freedom and I don’t think for a second on how Drupal will handle any part of the design, if I know I can achieve this design using HTML/CSS, then I know drupal can handle it.

I start all my drupal websites with a base theme – I used Framework, and over the years I simply added and modified the theme to suit my needs. But how do I actually take my design and convert it into a Drupal theme? Simple:

  1. I design the website in Photoshop – as stated before.
  2. I slice and dice the design and create my HTML and CSS files, the same as you would do a static website.
  3. Open up my previous theme, and start copying my html into it, keeping the php code and working around it.
  4. That’s it

….well actually there are few more small things that need to be done but basically if you know how to convert your psd file into HTML/CSS and you know a tiny bit of php, you can create your own custom theme.

I like to give my website http://www.arbel-designs.com as an example of how you can make Drupal do whatever you want, and it’s not going to look like any other site. A single page website with navigation scrolling to different sections isn’t the classic CMS template, but my site is backed by Drupal and I had no problem implementing my design. Here’s another Drupal website I designed – http://www.kintorebusinesspark.co.uk. I can give you lots more examples of what website designs can be done with Drupal, but the fact is that drupal simply is a non-issue, if you can implement your design with the tools your already have, then you can do it in Drupal.

So, design: Check. Next week we’ll talk about Flexibility. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

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Idan has been designing websites since 2001. Has a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Design and has been using drupal as his CMS of choice for the past 4 years.