Blog Network b5media to Use Revolution in the Future
Brian Gardner announced that b5media will use one of the Revolution themes as the base theme across the network, and CEO Jeremy Wright confirmed that it is indeed so. The theme will apparently roll out in a network redesign due next year, and not a moment too soon if you ask me.
While I have nothing against the Revolution Streamline theme, which will be the basis of the new design, I’m a bit surprised to see b5media going with something that is a premium theme available for all. Or is it? I can’t seem to find it on the Revolution Two website, so maybe b5media bought the rights to it? I’ve contacted Brian and Jeremy for a comment on this.
Check out the Revolution Streamline demo if you want to know what the basis of the new b5media base template will be in 2009.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.
Hey Thord, you always seem to be the first to write a post when something newsworthy comes along – way to go. First off, I want to point out that all Revolution Two themes are NOT premium themes – I feel that the general consensus is that premium = paid for, and as you know that is certainly not the case. Anyway, the Streamlime theme hasn’t been released yet to the public, as I was awaiting the official release of WP 2.7 before I made it available. Moreover, with the news that b5media was going to be using the theme for their network, there hasn’t been a decision made now with what will happen to the open source version. I would certainly understand if Jeremy chose to ask me not to release it, in which case I would restyle the theme as the open source version. I have created a lot of page templates for that theme, most b5media won’t be using, so I still want to provide my users a quality theme, even if it might look a bit different than it does now.
While I’ll let Jeremy fill you in on any other details…
I can say with absolute certainty that we’ve honestly never even considered asking Brian to lock Streamline down just for us. In working with Brian on dozens of modifications for the network, we’ve customized the theme to suite our specific want and the broad needs for our network of 300 blogs. That doesn’t make Streamline “ours”.
For us, the decision to team up with Brian on this project really came down to his ability and reputation for designing themes that are light, flexible and incredibly adapt to customization.
So, when a blog outside of the network implements Streamline, we won’t be thinking “Argh, they’re using our theme”…but rather – “Hey – we both made a fantastic choice.”
To echo Rachel’s sentiments, in looking at Streamline, the thought of locking others out of it never even entered our minds. We’re looking at potentially a hundred changes to it, so what Streamline does is get us 90% of the way there, and Brian’s personal skills and aesthetic will get us the rest of the way there.
That said, if there is enough transferable value in what we’d do, we’d probably look at releasing it in some capacity.
As far as why Streamline vs a custom theme, the very simple answer is time and money. When we mocked up our ideal template, it really came down to a 2/3 column layout, with a nice header and some great features. We then wanted the ability to add/remove features on a per-Network (ie: Bizzia, Starked, etc) basis. And we wanted the pages to load faster.
Streamline accomplishes 80% of our goals. And getting the themes up 5 months faster at 50% of the cost and a much better user experience in a couple of months just made all the sense in the world.
It isn’t our ideal world scenario, because ideally every blog would have features and elements custom to it. But for where we’re at it’s a huge step forward – and a step forward we couldn’t have taken without someone like Brian lending his expertise.
I’m going to try and write post later this week on why we have the design we do, what we’re hoping for the next design (only v3 in 3.5 years of b5media history) and what we’re looking at for design stuff 1-2 years down the road.
Ultimately our job is to try and create designs that add value for readers and advertisers while getting out of the way and letting the content speak for itself as much as possible. And Brian’s design work is the classic example of just that :)
Thanks for the information, all! Appreciate you taking the time to comment and clear up this story. It will be interested to see where Streamline moves from here on (regarding Brian’s comment), and reading Jeremy’s thoughts on the redesign.
Looking forward to see the new b5 look in 2009!