Do you really need a custom design?

As a freelance web developer it is always exciting to get a client that has a nice budget and is interested in having a custom web design developed and implemented. Once the client likes the design and it is signed off on, the implementation into a CMS process takes place and normally everything runs smooth. The client has the exact look and feel they were interested in and all the features placed where they want based off the freelancers advice and knowledge.

The clients that dont have a budget to get a custom design usually settle for themes and templates, but normally end up with the same results as the client that paid more for the custom design. That brings up my question:

Do you really need a custom design?

First, let me say that I understand that businesses and companies need to have a unique look and brand. Having a unique look is what makes your target market remember and use your services whenever needed. This is a great and is exactly what branding is suppose to do.

My argument is that you don’t need to spend the money on a custom design and implementation. Of course, the company or freelance designer you found wants you to spend the money on a custom design, but in my opinion it is not needed. The reason I say this is because you can spend less money if you just find a theme or template that has all the bells and whistles you need and just rebrand it.

I have worked for agencies and done a lot of freelance work and this method is definitely the most cost effective way to develop a website. Why spend the money on a custom design and development when there is something out there that is exactly what you are looking for? I have had clients sign off on a custom design that has pretty much the same structure and feel as a free/premium theme that are out on the web. Any web developer that has CSS/HTML/PHP experience can transform and rebrand any theme or template that is offered online in a timely manner.

I probably will piss off a lot of designers and web developers with this post and that is fine. I am more into helping the general public set up a nice web presence that has all the features and functionality they need without breaking the bank. If you are hiring a firm to do your web design and development be sure to ask if their custom design can be implemented into a theme or template for a cheaper cost.

Now its your turn, what are your thoughts on this subject ? Are you a freelance designer or web developer? Do you use similar methods to develop websites? Please use the comment section below to answer any of these topics or to ask any questions you may have.