A lot of people I have heard from like the idea of using a framework to use as a base to design their website. There are quite a few free and premium frameworks out there available that are great. However, it might not be for everyone.
The pros for using these are that these frameworks work and have been developed carefully. They can be applied to themes, however, if your has a big difference in design elements, you might have to move code or even add code to get what you want. Premium frameworks usually have become commercially GPL supported – meaning that you have someone that can coach you through and help you if you run into problems. Freebie frameworks, you might be able to get some forum support with the developer.
However, the huge con that you might run into is that if you choose a framework, your site might look like another cookie cutter layout. It is kind of like two actresses wearing the same gown to the Oscars – not cool and you definitely want to change right away.
If you have a layout design you want to convert to WordPress, frameworks might not always work in your best interest, especially if you are not code savvy enough about the framework and about WordPress coding. You may need to apply certain WordPress functions and some frameworks might interfere with your coding or even plugins. Of course, you can always get the framework, alter it and use it how you want. You could browse the WordPress theme directory, choose a theme that best suits what you are looking for, leave the credits intact. There are perfectly good layouts there.
However, if you are a designer, you may want to create a fresh theme with a fresh framework that you can personally market to those who are looking for a framework. Be unique! Make sure your framework offers different types of choices in navigation or features for the content. Offer different alterations of your framework to show your potential clients the flexibility of your layout.
Do you like to use a particular framework when designing a WordPress-based site or do you like to code as you go? What frameworks do you like best and why? What frameworks would you tell people to avoid, and of course – why?