Templates – Inspiration or Shortcut?By
Raise your hand if your site is based on a pre-made template. Okay, raise your hand if it is a 100% original concept created from scratch. Which one is better?
Until a year or so ago, when designing sites for clients, I couldn’t bear the thought of using any form of pre-designed template. That was like cheating in my mind. Each and every site was created from scratch – starting with a sketch, then a Fireworks mockup, then I used Dreamweaver and Notepad to churn out the code.
Then I entered the world of blogging. And what does blogging have to do with design? You would be surprised.
It started with my very first Blogger template. I picked one from the dashboard and immediately went about customizing it. As I got more and more into blogging, I discovered the world of WordPress and its themes – there for the taking, tweaking, and making your own. I was hooked. For some reason, I did not see these WordPress themes as cheating – I saw them as inspiration. I saw them as a starting point for something that could be uniquely my own.
In a recent project I discovered the power of templates again. This time it is for a traditional site, but the client just wasn’t real specific on what they wanted. I visited DreamTemplate (I have a subscription) and grabbed screenshots for about a dozen layouts. I sent these off to the client and one really spoke to them. We are in the process of customizing the template to make it uniquely theirs.
So is that cheating? Two years ago I would have said yes. Now, I’d like to think of it as being efficient. What’s your take?
Looking for inspiration? Here are some resources you just might like:
- Template Monster
- Free CSS Templates
- CSS Vault
- Blogging Themes
- Themes Base
Obviously the free ones are just that, free for the taking, but if you choose a template that is being sold, you need to do the right thing and purchase it. Some of the services offer a subscription fee that allow you to pay one price and get access to the whole collection. If you like multiple designs in their collection, this is the most efficient way to go.
Time to sound off! What are your feelings on using templates? Do you have additional “inspiration” sites you’d like to share with us?