A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Bryan Zimmerman, who suggested that he would like to see a post discussing the following question:

Is it wrong for a graphic designer to use a “web template” for their personal web presence? Especially if they are looking for a graphic design position and not a web design position?

To be honest it was something I was seriously debating myself. Through blogging I have realised the true value of WordPress and its love affair with Google. I have noticed I am receiving more and more visitors via Google searches. My own freelance graphic design site desperately needs redoing and I can see the potential of using WordPress as a basis for my new site in preference to a static site.

Now while I could probably put together a static site from scratch (with a bit of work and hair pulling) I know I couldn’t start completely from scratch creating a theme in WordPress. That’s where the dilemma kicks in, is it wrong for a designer to use a template and customise it to their needs for their design business website? As Brian suggests, what if you are only offering design for print too, does that make a difference?

How adapted from the original template does a website need to be to call it your own? How much does the template need to be customised in order for you to legitimately remove the original template creators credit, or should this never be done?

Several fellow designer bloggers I admire use templates they have customised see for example:

David Airey who talks about how he has just updated his site (though still retaining a lot of the sites previous style) after using an adapted version of Brian Gardener’s Vertigo theme for 6 months.

Randa Clay who uses 3 K2 Redux which she has heavily modified (she does also create her own WordPress themes)

Char from Essential Keystrokes who has customised the dKret 1.9 theme.

I would love to hear your views on the subject.