Weighing the Pros and Cons: Customize vs. Original Web Design

In my career as a designer, I’ve created both original designs and customized existing themes on various platforms.  Both have their pros and cons but as of lately I find myself drawing more towards customizing only.


I work with small businesses.  More often than not they are working  only from personal capital  with no big source of funding to help them get the business off the ground.  This means, their budgets are tight and time is of the essence.

To create original designs based on their branding is costly both in money and in time.  To save them money, I find searching out an existing design whether it be for WordPress, CMS, Flash or even HTML and  customizing it to suit their exact needs is far more beneficial.

Large companies with the money to back the development of a website built from scratch may benefit more so than the small business owner who’s just starting out.  Yet, in my opinion, with so many great designers and design companies out their who’s sole job is creating for the masses, it’s hardly worth the additional time and money required to create original designs.

Now I will clarify the “masses”.  Design companies, who for instance create premium WordPress themes, offer their products to everyone.  Often they are created to give the buyer the ability to customize many of the elements such as backgrounds, theme style,  colors, fonts, etc.  This allows individuals to choose and create a site quickly, easily and with some originality.  But, for me at least, I always find ways to further customize it so it actually looks as original as possible.  This may mean not only changes to the design elements, but also the backend code if/when necessary.

As a small business, I wouldn’t get too hung up on having an original design created for your brand.  Instead I would ensure your designer understands  the functionality, purpose and “look and feel” you’re striving for .  They should then be able to choose the perfect theme, customize it to fully fit your needs and produce a beautifully finished product for a quarter of the cost and a substantially reduced amount of time.

Of course, your designer should always be up front in explaining the benefits of both to you as well as ensuring you are aware of the final choice:  Original Design vs. Customized Design.


Image source: Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Do you have an opinion?  Share below.

Posted on by Toresa

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