The original Plone design was very influential when it was first unveiled in 2001, spawning direct copies like the Wikipedia design (copied with our permission, of course). In fact, most of the open source wiki software out there still uses design elements and icons from the original Plone design.
We're extremely proud of how well the original Plone design has stood the test of time. However, after 9 years, it's time for an update. We've learned a lot over the years about what people want in a basic, out-of-the-box CMS design template, and we've poured those lessons into the new Plone default theme called "Sunburst."
Sunburst design philosophy
Some central design goals of the new “Sunburst” theme were:
- Neutral without being boring — Sunburst is a clean, modern theme with gorgeous typography that looks great and provides a perfect base for customization, thanks to its use of an innovative, simple CSS grid system. It's easy to combine the theme with an existing brand or design.
- Uses a modern, table-less, grid-based design — While providing the advantages of a modern, semantic layout, Sunburst still preserves compatibility - even with 9 year old browsers like Internet Explorer 6. It also works equally well with fixed-width and fluid-width designs!
- Massively simplified CSS — The original Plone theme evolved over the years, leading to CSS stylesheets that grew large and cumbersome. Starting with a blank sheet of paper allowed us to build the new CSS from scratch - producing lean, efficient stylesheets that maintain the high-quality feel of Plone while rendering quickly and with great compatibility.
- A path to the future... — The core of the new design and grid system was adopted from the Deco layout system we're building for Plone 5, so the design techniques you learn with Plone 4 will prepare you for the revolutionary next Plone release.
- Support for the past — We still include the original, classic Plone theme for traditionalists and those who want to upgrade for the other advantages of Plone 4 without changing user expectations all at once. We have worked hard to preserve the same markup structure as the original Plone theme, so there should be little disruption even if you upgrade an existing site to the new theme.