Designmodo’s all-new framework for WordPress

Designmodo design framework deal - 15% discount!

When Designmodo released an innovative new system of creating a website by putting together a selection of pre-designed (and really rather beautiful) HTML blocks — referred to as a ‘design framework‘ — back in February this year, they were inundated with comments asking does it work with WordPress? Which, sadly, at the time, it didn’t. However, six months on and Adrian and his team have finally released a version that’s not only compatible with WordPress, but positively rocks it! Introducing a brand-new ‘framework for WordPress‘:

What is it?

Well, starting off with what it isn’t: it isn’t just another basic WordPress theme! In short, it’s an interface that lets you assemble your own design from a library of one-hundred brilliantly designed theme-blocks (from contact forms, content areas, sliders, etc, etc) that can be stacked together (think lego bricks) in an innovative new drag-and-drop interface! Further more, once you’ve chosen which of the Design Framework’s blocks you’ll use on your site, you can then customize said blocks in order to further personalize things!

For a quick overview and presentation on how to use the different blocks available in the framework, check out the official video released by Designmodo.

How it works:

Once installed, you’ll see a new menu item in the WordPress dashboard entitled “SFW Pages”, which will take you to an editing area with an unmissable big-blue link to the theme’s innovative new visual editor…


(click to enlarge)

…from which you can begin to both assemble your new page from the various different framework blocks available and easily make all kinds of simple edits to each block as you go along – such as basic text formatting, creating or adjusting links, swapping out images, configuring menus and saving the page. Like so:


(click to enlarge)

You can then add more blocks (like a main content area and a footer, etc), reorder your blocks, check out a preview of the page or, should you want to make more complex edits, click on the gear icon in the top right of the theme’s visual editor to access and edit the HTML – note: you can also add your own CSS (to match any HTML changes you make) under either ‘Appearances’ → ‘Settings’ or ‘Appearances’ → ‘Edit CSS’.


(click to enlarge)

For more on editing the framework/theme, head here!

Fully responsive

One of the things about Designmodo’s original design framework (released back in February this year) that really shone through was the fact that Designmodo went to a massive amount of trouble to ensure every one of its huge range of mix-and-match HTML block choices all looked great on any screen size (including on those with retina displays)… something they’ve happily managed to achieve again with this all-new WordPress version!

Summing up:

There’s no doubt about it: whether you’re creating a landing page, a portfolio or even an application site – Designmodo’s new framework for WordPress has something unique to offer (what’s more, Designmodo are also offering a pretty generous 20-day money back guarantee – thereby allowing you to effectively try it out for almost three weeks risk free), especially if you’re into knocking out a stunning design for your site in a hurry and/or with a visual editor!

– our only quibble: at $149 per license per year (yearly fee required for continual updates) it’s perhaps a little pricey for individual/casual users – that said, if you’re either a design agency (note: you can bulk-buy five licenses at a time for $349) or planning to make a heap of money from your website, you’ll hopefully be able to make this particular expense back in no-time!

Plus, and we hate to say it, but apart from a relatively basic FAQ, there doesn’t seem to be quite enough documentation (tutorials/user-manuals etc) released yet: hopefully these will be along shortly…

(update: 1st October – new video tutorial released on how to create a website with Designmodo’s new framework for WordPress here).

If you haven’t already, visit the official Designmodo website to learn more! – oh, and finally: don’t forget to use our exclusive Coupon Code for a handy 15% discount on this (or any other) Designmodo product!

Built any amazing new sites with it yet? – feel free to leave a link to anything you’d like to showcase in the comments!

By Brin Wilson

Founder of WinningWP - passionate about all things WordPress! Find me on Twitter.
Comments (policy)
  1. Anthony says:

    Brin – less than a year after Designmodo released this, they are dropping both the WordPress version and the entire Startup Framework. Do you have any recommendations for established, well-supported alternatives?

      • Anthony says:

        Brin – sorry it took me so long to reply; missed the notification. The Designmodo team confirmed this with me directly at least twice. I don’t think they are announcing it because they probably want to eke a little more revenue out of it, perhaps? They’re still featuring it prominently on the site, so that is the only conclusion I can come to.

        • Anthony says:

          Yes I was quite disappointed – because they’re dropping them, but also, the way they’re handling it doesn’t give me much confidence in their future products (or their future at all.)

  2. Haitham says:

    Since Adrian chose not to reply to my below, I will post my feedback anyway.

    I purchased 5 licenses of this product, and can provide a real sense of what to expect, but in summary, I’d recommend to stay away from the Startup Framework for WordPress… at least for now.

    In terms of UI, overall concept and visual appeal, it’s one of the best and easiest drag-and-drop page builders out there for WordPress… BUT it has some serious problems that will drive designers insane after the purchase.

    As it stands today, this framework is far from being mature, and should not be labeled as a framework. Currently, it addresses an interactive solution for building layouts, very much like their non-wordpress version… It lacks a lot of functionality users expect to see, features found in other competing products. Here’s a list based on my experience with it:

    (A) Inability to import/export non built-in custom blocks from the admin directly. You would have to utilize a child theme, and over ride the custom elements this way before activating the theme.

    (B) Inability to remove/delete custom blocks listed under “My Blocks” from the admin directly. I have to remove static files manually, and tinker with the DB.

    (C) Inability to assign the framework to a custom post type of my choosing. I gotta stick to their pre-configured CPT “startup”. Major disappointment.

    (D) If I activate the startup theme and attach a license to that install, then had to activate another theme – for one reason or another – startup deletes my license information and must be re-entered when reactivating the startup theme. I’m not sure if this is all it deletes, maybe my custom templates too?

    (E) Their pricing model does not include an option for WP “network” installs. If I was working on a website which uses sub-domains to deliver or manage separate contents, I’d have to purchase a license for each of those sub-domains.

    (F) Their pricing model does not entitle me to a development license. If you’re like me and intend to test or develop offline, you would have to use one of your purchased licenses. Good luck if you were trying to do that on a WP network install.

    (G) I can live with the above problems/limitations by trying to layer solutions on top of the framework without breaking their license agreement. However, what really killed me was their after sale support. They take an average of 48 hours to reply, I stress the word “reply”, not resolve or answer your concerns to a satisfactory level. And when they get around to actually addressing my concerns, their reply is short, lacks technical pointers/hints, and I am left trying to decipher what little information they give me… making me feel as if my concerns don’t mean much, and off they go to do the same to the next ticket.

    Designmodo definitely has a unique product, but naming it as a framework at it’s current state is misleading as it does not provide a solution to WordPress users/webmasters/editors, even partially, forcing users to hack what was originally thought to be a UI build solution.

    They focus a lot on marketing, which is good, but fail to address the two most important after sale “must dos” for any company: friendly customer support (through tickets / tutorials), and product development.

    Last night, I cancelled my purchases after Adrian told me that most of the above were “customization requests”, and they only address bug fixes or technical issues… but even that they failed to do. For example: startup does not work on PHP 5.6. I figured that myself after a 72 hour wait after giving them administrative access with NO REPLY.

    The fastest reply I ever got from Adrian, was when I asked for the refund; from an average response time of 48 hours to a 32 minute reply to cancel my subscription, only confirms my previous notion that my business does not matter, and nor will yours.

    If you value your time and money, simply stay away from designmodo and find yourself an alternative company that values your business, no matter how big or small you may be.

    • Brin Wilson says:

      Haitham, you seem like quite an advanced user but, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure this is the best place to voice your opinions since it seems you bought the framework with a few (more advanced) expectations that were never advertised as being part of the product — although that of course doesn’t address any of your ‘waiting for support’ issues. I’m not trying to defend Designmodo, but you seem to have such a lot of concerns that, I think, they would perhaps have been better addressed directly to Adrian (or at least on the official product page of the Designmodo website as opposed to mine – Lol). ;)

      • Haitham says:

        Hi Brin,
        I did actually address all of them to Adrian, but all I got was a spin-off. You are absolutely correct, there were some things not advertised on their site, but there were also other things which they failed to mention on their website as well.

        With regards to your final advice, people need to read of my experience on non-related websites such as yours, which did a review on the product. I initially gave Adrian a chance to state if he did not prefer my post here… but no reply… not surprising at all.

        My apologies Brin, if my contribution offended you or your viewers, but my intent was to expose some simple truths. Isn’t that what reviews are all about? If you deem it inappropriate and will hurt you or your site in any way, then please take it down.

        No hurt feelings :)

  3. Sean AppsHC says:

    I am really interested in this theme but I am still lost on how to handle blog posts and display them on the homepage without a “blog block” available.

    • Brin Wilson says:

      Hi Sean, sorry I originally missed your comment. I realize it’s probably too late now, but this particular video tutorial ( ) does quite a good job of explaining how to set up the blog side of things — although it doesn’t cover how to show your posts on the homepage (probably best to email Designmodo directly about that).

  4. Adrian says:

    Hey guys, Adrian from Designmodo here. I’m happy to answer any questions you
    have about the site or our products. We really enjoy crafting digital
    assets for designers and web developers.

    • Haitham says:

      Hi Adrian!

      Being one of your customers, would you allow me to honestly state my experience with this product? Although informative, this review lacks a deep look into what startup framework offers it’s users, and more importantly, what it does not.

      I’ll wait for your kind reply.

      • Brin Wilson says:

        Hi Haitham, thanks for the feedback — I’m glad you found the post
        informative. If they haven’t already, hopefully others will take
        on the challenge of publishing deeper, more detailed write-ups, but this particular post isn’t so much a ‘review’ as it is simply an
        introduction to a new product. Brin. P.S. Adrian may not have replied to your earlier comment because he could no longer be monitoring these comments… it’s quite an old post now. :(

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