Saturday, February 26, 2011

Free Web Templates

I'm not a web site designer. I willingly tell people that I can't design a decent looking website to save myself and happily offer several reference sites to prove this claim. My strengths lie elsewhere, and I feel we should largely stick to our strengths. I've seen several badly broken websites where excellent web designers showed they were even worse at database programming than I am at graphic design. There are exceptions, but generally the better you are at one of graphic design or database development, the worse you are at the other.

I was browsing around for free web templates today. These are a wonderful resource, someone's already done the work to make a site look good and I just need to plug in the content or content generation. Typically they want to be paid for their work with a link back to their for-money web design business, I don't have a problem with this, I obviously like their work enough to use it and giving them a plug is not a problem. The free templates usually aren't as good as the bespoke ones they offer, but they're good enough for my purposes without paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a unique design.

Today I came across this page of free web design company templates and cracked up. As I'm not a web designer, I have no problems using someone else's design on my sites. The website of a web designer should be a canvas for the best work they can do, a place to show off their skills. A web designer who gets someone else to design his or her own website is a problem though:
  • Are they actually not any good at design?
  • Don't they trust their own design ability?
  • Do they really think that a free and so middle quality template sells their abilities?
But what's more, the terms of the free design means that they need to give a link back to the designer in their page footer, so either:
  • They're telling anyone reading to the bottom of the page what they think of their own abilities, or
  • They're planning to violate the licence by removing the required link.
Would you really want to do business with someone who matches either of these?

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