People are forever concocting classes that replace the standard ones:
the present author produced an
ukart class that used the
sober package, and a few British-specific things (such as
appear in the
babel package’s British-english
specialisation) in the 1980s, which is still occasionally used.
Similar public efforts were available well back in the days of
LaTeX 2.09: a notable example, whose pleasing designs seem not to have
changed much over all that time, is the
Each of the standard classes is replaced by a selection of classes,
named in Dutch, sometimes with a single numeric digit attached. So we
brief. These classes are moderately well documented in
KOMA-script bundle (classes named
scr...) are a
strong current contender. They are actively supported and are subject
to sensitive development; they are comprehensive in their coverage of
significant typesetting issues; they produce good-looking output and
they are well documented in both English (
scrguien in the
distribution) and German (
scrguide in the distribution).
The other comparable class is
memoir. This aims to replace
report classes directly, and (like
KOMA-script) is comprehensive in its coverage of small issues.
Memoir’s documentation (
memman) is very highly
spoken of, and its lengthy introductory section is regularly
recommended as a tutorial on typesetting.