With every new invention there’s always a claim about the death of the previous paradigm. TV and Cable are dead. Email is dead. How’s the rapid growth of WordPress and especially the use of thousand of easy to use and customize WordPress themes and plugins affecting the work of the web designer. Are WordPress themes killing the web design industry?.
Themes are a starting point (and a great shortcut in most cases)
Yes, it is true that with a WordPress theme you could have a cool looking page in a few hours, but it does not mean that the site will look and feel the way you want it, or that it will fit your client’s needs. The value of a web designer is to understand the needs of the project and create a site that works to fulfill those needs. If a theme can save some time, and provide some shortcuts, then there is more value for both the client and the designer.
WordPress can make web design a more efficient task
Most sites use some kind Content Management System (Drupal, Joomla, WordPress). These CMS provide a framework and templates that in many cases are just blank slates to implement any design that you can imagine. There’s also the possibility of creating a fully custom theme (many project we work in require that). However, there are many WordPress themes, that can be used as these framework to expedite the web design process, and make the development task more efficient. Many of these themes can be customized to a point where creating a custom theme would make no difference at all.
This may free up some resources to devote more time to custom graphic design work. Customers will feel they are getting more for their investment.
Not anybody can customize a WordPress theme
Doing a professional customization requires experience in both web design and WordPress. Yes, some themes make it easier for non experience users to create a decent site, but in most cases it will look exactly like a demo template with errors in configuration. In order to create and maintain a professional WordPress powered site you need to know about responsive layouts, design trends, plugins, security, and stay on top of updates.
Time is value
WordPress and the use of themes and framework can save time, and offer a faster turnaround time for projects. Providing a complete project in less time, can offer web designers the possibility to charge extra for expedited projects or to complete more projects in the time that used to take a single site.
In sum, WordPress could be a great tool for both designers and clients. It provides a framework that saves time and offers enough flexibility to create unique designs.