Are custom designs becoming obsolete?

 Will Joomla make custom web design and creations from scratch obsolete?

I saw this question posted on LinkedIn last week and I thought it was interesting that people still think custom web designs will ever become irrelevant.

Creating functional good looking websites has become alot easier because of  CMS tools available for the novice web designer including Joomla, WordPress, MovableType, Expression Engine, Drupal and others. In terms of design sites like ThemeForest offer many cheap templates that can be slightly customized to fit specific needs.

So based on all this do you really need a custom design for your website?  My answer is it depends.

If the site is not meant to convey a specific message and the organization does not have branding requirements then using a template is fine. However in cases where a site has very specific requirements in terms of look and feel and functionality CMS tools and templates like those mentioned above are a good starting platform. To create a truly effective site in terms of design and messaging will  require custom CSS and design in order to be unique, convey the client’ s message effectively, and work with existing company logos and other branding elements. 

What does your site say about you?

From the perspective of a customer (who just happens to be a web designer)

When I see a website that uses a template and only changes out the logo and a few other graphics I think ‘this company did not care enough about me as a customer to design a site to appeal to me specifically’.  Many templates are very well designed and visually appealing but this does not mean they will convey the message or ideas that your website needs to communicate. In order to most effectively communication with site visitors the site will need to be custom designed after a careful analysis of  business goals and target customer demographics. 

Using stock templates will seems to save you time and money but the site will never really connect with its users like one that was designed for the purpose.

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