Hereby I present you with an way to improve your designing for Magento and make it less time consuming.
This suggestion is not pixel perfect but has saved me some time so I thought to share it with you.
The main layout of your webshop is stored inside /templates/pages/2columns-right.phtml and the other files in the root of /pages
This would mean you need to edit EACH of these files to reflect your custom Magento design. Why not make things a litte more easy by creating a master.phtml which holds your basic layout.
step 1) create a master.phtml inside /pages/
step 2) openup all the files inside your /pages/ root directory (e.g 2columns-right.phtml, etc)
include your master.phtml inside these files like the below example:
* NOTICE OF LICENSE
* This source file is subject to the Open Software License (OSL 3.0)
* that is bundled with this package in the file LICENSE.txt.
* It is also available through the world-wide-web at this URL:
* If you did not receive a copy of the license and are unable to
* obtain it through the world-wide-web, please send an email
* to email@example.com so we can send you a copy immediately.
* @category design_default
* @package Mage
* @copyright Copyright (c) 2004-2007 Irubin Consulting Inc. DBA Varien (http://www.varien.com)
* @license http://opensource.org/licenses/osl-3.0.php Open Software License (OSL 3.0)
* Template for Mage_Page_Block_Html
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
<?php echo $this->getChildHtml('head') ?>
<? include "master.phtml"; ?>
Now upload master.phtml to your Magento directory and you have only 1 file to change the complete layout of your store.
Additionally I have created a cart.phtml with a different layout for the shopping cart,
I include this cart.phtml like above inside 1column.phtml
I have not found any other location in Magento that uses the 1column.phtml except the shopping cart, if you find this to be untrue please let me know. By using above trick you only have 1 .phtml to hold your store layout meaning faster changes and more easy debugging.