10 Best Content Management Systems for Designers

By / Oct 19, 2009 / Tools

There are a lot of content management systems out there, but many of them are overly complicated and require a certain level of technical expertise. However, there are a select few that focus on simplicity and ease-of-use, but still give the designer flexibility in templating features and customization. In this article, we have listed ten of these CMS’s. Some of them are well known, while others you may have never heard of, but deserve a look.

If you have a favorite CMS that we didn’t list here, let us know.


content management systems

Concrete5 is a free open source CMS that focuses on ease of use, which makes it great for designers. Some key features include a file manager with bulk upload, drag-n-drop layout editor, and an open marketplace of add-ons.


content management systems

ExpressionEngine is a flexible, feature-rich content management system that empowers thousands of individuals, organizations, and companies around the world to easily manage their website. It’s a favorite of famous web designers such as Veerle Pieters.


content management systems

Textpattern is a flexible, elegant and easy-to-use content management system. It is both free and open source.


content management systems

Joomla is an award-winning content management system (CMS), which enables you to build Web sites and powerful online applications.

Movable Type

content management systems

Movable Type claims to be an “All-in-One Social Publishing Platform”, and it definitely delivers. It powers some pretty big sites including Barack Obama’s site and Serious Eats.

Cushy CMS

content management systems

CushyCMS is a Content Management Systems (CMS) that is truly simple. There is no software to install and no programming required.


content management systems

WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is probably the most popular CMS and blogging platform out there.

Radiant CMS

content management systems

Radiant is a no-fluff, open source content management system designed for small teams.


content management systems

Drupal is a free CMS that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. Tens of thousands of people and organizations are using Drupal to power tons of different web sites.


content management systems

The SilverStripe CMS is a flexible open source Content Management System that gives everyone involved in a web project the tools they need to do their jobs.

About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.


  1. Chris Lopez
    August 18, 2010

    Good post, I only miss Kentico CMS. I’m using its free edition since its 4.0 version, still with no issues.

  2. KiS
    August 29, 2010

    Can’t believe there is no mention of CMS Made Simple here.

    Got it installed and configured for a client and they’re loving it!

    One of the easiest CMS we’ve encountered so far.

  3. Purushottam Kushwaha
    September 19, 2010

    I love using Drupal and joomla. They are awesome but no idea of other CMS mentioned here. Are they better than Drupal & Joomla.

  4. Clive
    September 20, 2010

    Also interesting that Umbraco is not in this list.

    Umbraco is a .NET based CMS which has great facilities for designers construct their designs.

    The separation between content and templates makes this possible.

  5. Deyon
    October 1, 2010

    Very happy to see SilverStripe here, I use it at work for most of my clients. Very powerful CMS if your good with the code.

  6. Craig Bailey
    October 28, 2010

    Great to see WordPress included in a designer list – it really has come a long way over the years.
    For more complex sites I also quite like the Elcom CMS – a little bit more of a learning curve that WordPress, but very efficient in how it manages all the CSS and other styling tools.

    • Adi
      July 18, 2012

      I’m Using Joomla, WordPress, Concrete5… my vote will go to WordPress… easiest to develop plus to get plugin, support, sources. It’s not bad and damn good… :)

  7. John
    June 9, 2011

    Been playing with swiftycms and it surprised me.
    Very easy and quick

  8. Glen
    June 16, 2011

    How on earth can you put Joomla on a list for designers, this is only for developers and is very restrictive. Where is modx, this is by far the best for designers – no limitations.

  9. i2space Technologies
    August 23, 2011

    Nice Post. We use Joomla, Drupal & WordPress…

  10. Todd Priest
    September 23, 2011

    No one mentioned what Weebly for Designers is doing?

  11. Nurul Imam
    September 29, 2011

    Silverstripe best solution for wordpress

  12. Julian
    November 26, 2011

    Great list … I’m actually considering using Joomla for a web site at the moment.

  13. WillyC
    November 28, 2011

    Good list, though as a designer I would really suggest avoiding Joomla more than any other. It may be good for some things, but this is not a CMS for designers by any means.

    ExpressionEngine certainly belongs here, but it’s a commercial product and a little hard to compare that alongside all the others which are open source.

    We currently use http://processwire.com which is a newer entry but should be at the top of any list of CMSs for designers.

  14. [Axel]
    March 14, 2012

    I’m using Textpattern CMS from the beginning, and guess what I love it, as do my clients. What I really like about it, is that you don’t get a full bloat of stuff you never need (like in the “BIG” systems joomla, wordpress, typo3 or drupal), and if you need something there is always a plugin for it. In those many years security has never been an issue, and I have some clients switching from wordpress and joomla, because they got hacked.

    On new projects I use HTML5/CSS3 with Textpattern CMS and it works like a charm.
    Regarding speed of pages, it also is a winner compared to others.

  15. Moustofa
    March 21, 2012

    wahhh nice collection of cms. i think textpattern and silver stripe is easy and safe comparing with every one .

  16. Website Design Rossendale
    June 7, 2012

    Great list, thanks for sharing. We currently use WordPress and Joomla.

  17. Hasitha
    April 23, 2013

    I use WordPress mostly, Like to know more about Joomla :)

  18. Kasperskycoupon.net
    June 13, 2013

    Great list. I love WordPress the most, but I am also somehow crazy for Joomla too! Building sites with Drupal also seems interesting.

  19. Jeremy W
    September 18, 2013

    Love WordPress. But I’ve also used other WYSIWYG website builders such as Weebly and Squarespace. Not as flexible as WordPress, but I still use them for some other projects.

  20. David
    January 6, 2014

    I recommend Veolay CMS, http://veolay.com, its great for html website and easy to use, can get started within a few minutes. Comes with a white labelable admin so we can add client’s branding in there too.


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