SharePoint Master Pages and themes

For those wanting more control over SharePoint page layouts, you'll need to use Master Pages. For background reading, try these:

Mind you, in most cases I would steer away from Master Page editing unless you really have to. Aside from anything else, if you expect your users to have any administrative control over their own data they are going to run into the SharePoint "look and feel" as soon as they edit a list or Document Library -- so what's the point in trying to hide that?

And as for themes: I didn't even bother theming SharePoint last time I tried it -- unlike SPS2003, themes aren't automatically applied when you create a new site from an .stp template. So you have to set up your site type to staple custom code which applies the theme you want. Thanks Microsoft :(

You might also be interested in a more detailed comparison between Master Pages and Themes.