Those of you who have been around the WordPress community for a while are no doubt familiar with Brian Gardner and his popular line of Revolution themes. The Revolution themes have been incredibly well-liked by bloggers, website owners and designers, and they’re probably the most recognizable of the premium WordPress themes.
In recent weeks Brian and Jason Schuller have taken some bold steps with the new generation of Revolution themes, Revolution Two. These high quality themes are now free and open source (the original Revolution themes are no longer available). Since WordPress is an open source platform, the idea was to align the focus of Revolution with that of WordPress in general.
Brian covered the subject of changing from premium themes to open source themes on his blog (see his announcement post for all the details). Here is a brief excerpt:
Jason and I want to develop a resource and community that is perfectly aligned with WordPress. Both he and I have been fortunate enough to leave our day jobs within the past year and have developed our own media companies. None of that would have been possible without the existence of WordPress, which is solely built and supported by the open source community.
Currently there are 11 themes available for download, free of charge. Users then have the option to purchase support packages that include access to tutorials as well as general theme support.
Last week Brian was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for me. Those of you who work with the WordPress platform will most likely want to get familiar with these themes and the new business model of Revolution Two. The original Revolution themes had a huge impact on the WordPress community and were very influential in the premium theme marketplace. I expect that Revotion Two will also be extremely influential.
Here is the interview with Brian.
Do you currently have plans to release new themes in the future as part
of Revolution Two?
Yes, I currently have 2 themes that I am in the middle of developing, and Jason Schuller has 3 or 4 concepts as well that should be released in the near future.
What has the response been from users to the free themes with optional
services and support as opposed to selling premium themes?
The response has been overwhelmingly positive – this gives users a chance to play with the themes first, and then can purchase the support membership if necessary. Not to mention that $99 or $149 for access to all of the themes and support is a much better deal than any of the other situations out there.
Do the Revolution Two themes have any type of enhanced admin features or
functionalities like some premium themes?
Yes, I have a theme options page which makes implementing video, advertising, Feedburner and some other things very easy to do. I am also working a CSS switcher into the theme options page, so instead of uploading 3 color theme variations, they are built on the same core files and toggled with the switcher.
In the early days of Revolution Two, have you been able to tell if the
response has been stronger from designers or from end users of the themes?
I think the response has been stronger from users – there is a lot of involvement going on in the forums, and a lot of great sites already popping up with the new themes.
As the creator of these themes, how do you feel that Revolution Two
themes stack up to the popular premium Revolution themes?
From a functional and coding standpoint, the new themes were built on the old ones, but are already being enhanced, with plans in the future to continue to raise the bar.
Most premium themes have separate licenses for single use and for
developers who want to use multiple copies. Is there anything similar with
Revolution Two in terms of support? Can designers purchase a support package and use the themes for multiple clients?
Jason and I have completely abandoned the idea of policing theme licenses, which is one of many reasons we went open source. Our membership can be purchased either for 1 year, or lifetime. You can download and use the themes on any number of sites, we have no restrictions.
Thank you Brian for taking the time to answer these questions, and thanks for your contributions to fellow WordPress users!