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There's a heated and seemingly never-ending debate in the web design industry about whether web designers should always start their design work from scratch or not. Another option comprises taking advantage of what pre-built websites have to offer.
Some believe that using any kind of a template is akin to cheating. Any experienced designer worth their salt should create their designs from scratch.
The truth is, that's the wrong argument. A pre-built website can be looked upon as a tool, albeit a powerful one. Professional designers got to where they are by using tools to their full advantage.
Let's take on the most heated points of the debate and see which arguments hold water and which do not.
Designing from scratch gives you creative freedom & pre-built websites rob you of your creative mark.
The first part of this argument has some truth to it. However, creativity and creating designs from scratch are not one and the same thing. Put another way, trying to create a design from scratch won't necessarily make you more creative. Depending upon your approach may not even take full advantage of your creativity.
A design has to have a meaning behind it. Correctly expressing that meaning requires a foundation of knowledge of the business. You should also know the design standards followers of a given enterprise expect to see.
This is where pre-built websites enter the picture. They provide the knowledge foundation you need. They also adhere to the proper design standards and trends. At the same time. they give you total creative freedom to customize your design as you please.
Be Theme has the largest library of pre-built websites on the market, more than 390 of them at last count.
They're organized by industry or content type – as seen in the following 4 examples.
Check them out. These aren't mere "templates". Far from it, and they aren't robbing you of anything.
You're only professional if you design from scratch & pre-built websites are for beginners.
"You're only professional if …" are dangerous words. If you're trying too hard to be professional, you run the risk of either burning yourself out. Or, copying other professionals in an effort to join the club.
The designs you create (with or without tools) can mark you as a professional. However, you can only make that claim if you consistently deliver what your clients need. That means making a client's goal your #1 priority. This, in some cases, calls for a plain and simple design as opposed to an awesomely beautiful one.
A pre-built website can give you a leg up since the foundation it provides is usually pre-approved.
None of these three minimalist pre-built websites could be described "awesomely beautiful".
They simply (no pun intended) get the job done.
You have to put 110% effort into every project & if you can't treat each client equally, you shouldn't take clients at all.
True, you should always put your best effort forward. The thing is, that best effort is not a constant. It will vary with every client and every assignment. You might be working to satisfy multiple clients. In this case, the best effort you give to one will seldom equate to the best effort you give to another.
What if all your clients represented the same industry and had the same requirements? In this case, you could and probably should treat them equally. That's never likely to happen. There simply isn't such a thing as a one-size-fits-all model.
- You can't give equal time to each client. You'd run up against a lowest-common-denominator situation if you tried.
- You can be an expert on one industry and know little or nothing about the next. One will require little or no research on your part, the other may require extensive research.
- There are other variables too. A one-man band can be entertaining, but it is rarely a great one. This is since it's virtually impossible to play all instruments perfectly. Much less together.
- So, you end up with multiple assignments, minimal budget, plus a limit as to how many hours you're willing to work each day.
Starting each assignment from scratch simply isn't in the cards. So why not use pre-built websites and customize them to each project's specifics? Whether you're talking about 1 project or 10 it simply makes sense.
When you have plenty of budget and deadlines aren't an issue you might be tempted to start from scratch. You'd probably still be better off starting with a pre-built website. Then, you can let your creativity run wild.
Creating a design from scratch is something many web designers aspire to. After all, it's a great feeling to take pride in doing something without outside assistance. Especially, doing it well. Outside assistance in this case usually means web design tools. Plugins, special effects that don't require coding, and the like.
Designing one project after another from scratch is never easy. It's like negotiating a mine field. Smart web designers pick and choose their battles. They'll do some assignments from scratch, and sometimes they don't have the expertise for others. In these cases, they rely on the hidden values embedded in pre-built websites to see them through.
Browse Be's library of pre-built websites and give them a try. You won't regret it.