I love SharePoint … I really do, but the designs leave something to be desired. Most of us know that. In an effort to improve this, I created new designs that (IMHO) are cleaner and more beautiful than the OOTB SharePoint Themes. I will load them here for you to deploy “as is” or to customize further. They are yours to do with as you please.
Here are some screenshots of a demo site where I used the themes:
Urban Sky Theme
Urban Sky w/Chrome Theme
I was doing this on my own time and didn’t want to start from scratch, so I began by selecting a theme that had good “bones”. Good bones in this case doesn’t mean beautiful, but rather nice, simple and neutral background color that suited my design.
Two of my themes (which are really variations on a theme) (Urban Sky and Urban Sky w/Chrome) started with the “Petal” theme (frankly one of the ugliest themes out there – but the grey background is great!). The other theme (Southwest) started with the Vintage theme (lovely undertones of sage-green – perfect for something with a Southwestern theme).
For the two Petal-based Urban Sky themes I decided to replace almost all the hideous pink with turquoise hues with similar values (similar depth of color). I opened the Petal CSS and with SharePoint Designer 2007’s “Manage Styles” Task Pane identified the varying pink hues. I would select a corresponding turquoise, and performed “find and replace” against that hue’s Hex code in the entire CSS file. I also removed almost all images referenced by the theme (searched for .gif and replaced the image with “none”). Please note, I did look at all classes referencing images to help ensure I didn’t delete something I really liked. Finally I reviewed the resulting look and feel on a number of pages and made additional modifications (e.g. left-hand navigation) to get the result I wanted.
For the “Vintage”-based Southwest theme I took a similar but slightly faster approach. The Vintage theme already incorporated some nice colors, which I kept.
For months I “deployed” this by applying the Petal or Vintage theme to the site, replacing the CSS and placing and modifying the image links (where necessary). I had created a library with the files and instructions, so others in the organization could do this too (there is really only one other resource – but at least it was there). I was fully aware this wasn’t the MS supported way of doing this. Well, the use of these “themes” grew (practically all new sites seem to use them now) and the fact that I might have to go into each one of the sites to replace the theme became a bit daunting (after all unsupported translates into “might be overwritten” w/upgrades, etc. (unlikely but possible)). It became clear I needed a more sound approach.
This blog post by SharePoint Solutions by HG concisely details how to deploy the themes to the 12-hive on the SharePoint server. Obviously, wherever the writer references the “Granite” theme, you will want to replace that with either “Petal” (Urban Sky themes) or “Vintage” (Southwest Themes). Replace the Theme.css file content with the CSS provided at the end of this post. I placed the images for the “Urban Sky w/Chrome” and “Southwest” themes into the same folder as the .inf file. Please note that the blog references the need to reset IIS. In my experience this was not necessary (which is good, because I am not permitted to do that where I work :)).
Appreciative shout-out to Dan Amaro from Klarinet Solutions who provided me with the link to the blog post above on how to deploy this!