Why Custom Web Design is Dying?

Why Custom Web Design is Dying?

The more popular builders and layouts have become, the more experts there are appearing: they stated that web design was dying or was already dead as a phenomenon. That is not correct, and I will try to explain why.

Is Web Development Dying?

Let us review the several reasons for such a question:

Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence makes it possible for companies to optimize multiple processes. We can see the application of this technology in web design as well.

Artificial intelligence is used by Wix, WordPress, GoDaddy, and other well-known platforms. Currently, these resources can help in the creation of your site without the need to involve specialists. The algorithms are far from perfect; however, they are actively improving, and we can notice significant progress in this field.

As I have already mentioned, it is possible to create a site on the platforms mentioned above on one’s own, but you will be still using layouts, installing plugins on your own, setting the site, etc. That is why artificial intelligence in web design is not perfect yet.

The death of web design is often linked to the possibility that the development of these technologies will reach the point where artificial intelligence will be able to independently create a site according to the needs of a client, from scratch, and without the participation of a technical specialist.


Creating a site is now accessible to anyone. Earlier, the threshold was quite low – it was necessary to find specialists, invest a fair amount of money, and only afterward have a site that probably would not even pay off.

In general, with the help of templates, it is possible to create a site independently, no technical skills and knowledge are required; the layouts are cheap, while platforms have a large number of guides and intuitive interfaces.

At first, everything may seem unclear, but with due diligence, even a person without technical knowledge will grow accustomed to using templates.

Thus, loud statements about the death of web design are made by people who have not kept track of the tendencies and changes in the industry.

A contemporary web designer needs to master more skills than ten years ago as nowadays, the site pages are just one of the components of a much larger system that includes:

  • Mobile applications;
  • API-interfaces;
  • Social networks;
  • Business listing;
  • Physical location (for companies that need this).

Now, to remain competitive in the market, enterprises need to use as many tools as possible.

Web design is not dying, but it is changing. The most notable changes are templates and layouts that are displacing custom website design more and more. 

Next, let’s discuss why this is happening, the advantages and disadvantages layouts have, and who they will suit.

What Is a Custom Web Design?

First, we will have to figure out the notion of custom design.

Custom design is the development of a site that is unique and meets the requirements of the business, from scratch.

When I am talking about templates and layouts, I mean platforms for sites’ creation. The platforms allow us to quickly create a site having chosen or acquired a customizable template.

It is possible to buy and install templates or themes in CMS. Then, the CMS is used for changing the site and filling it with content.

The Number of Templates has Considerably Increased

5-7 years ago, templates and themes looked terrible. In those times, I would not have recommended anyone using them.

Today such sites like themeforest.net have revolutionized the field, and recommending them is no longer shameful.

Experienced web designers sell their templates and layouts. The advantage of such designs is that you get not just a design but the result of the accumulated experience and knowledge of a specialist.

Why templates are good:

  • They look decent
  • They have great functionality 
  • Most of them are responsive
  • Writing an additional code is  unnecessary 
  • They are created using common CMS
  • Many of them provide support and updates
  • There is a large selection of designs from different specialists
  • It is possible to preview and compare them
  • It is inexpensive (the price is often lower than $50).

The market for templates is continuing to grow and develop. Taking into account that it is becoming more and more popular, we can witness an active development in this field in the next few years.

Users Are Almost Not Interested in the Design Uniqueness

When searching for a product or service, how often do you pay attention to the uniqueness and appeal of the design?

In 2011, HubSpot had a survey in which 76% of respondents stated that the most critical design element is its functionality, in other words, “I can easily find what I want on the site.”

Only 10% of users said that “beautiful appearance” was the most important to them.

Blog Hubspot

I will reiterate a bit the thesis from the previous section: “Only a few users can notice and appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of the design, even fewer of them will be enticed to purchase because of this.”

People are searching and opening pages to satisfy their needs. Remain focused on this, instead of creating something unique and beautiful.

The acquired theme also needs to be improved. Every site needs to be tested but to improve and adapt themes takes much less time and requires fewer resources than creating from scratch. Besides, why invent something that has already been created?

Templates Are Cheaper

Templates are quite inexpensive. For example, let’s review the most top-selling WordPress layouts.

Here are the service plans offered by the platform.

$60 for a template and $45 for a monthly subscription –  these are insignificant investments.

The problem with the development of the individual site design is that custom website design costs are high, and it is impossible to predict if it will pay off and how fast this will happen.

How does one correctly estimate the time for the development of such a site? The process is mostly related to endless modifications, and every change requires the involvement of a specialist leading to additional expenses.

It is especially relevant for small and medium-sized businesses, as their budgets are limited. The saved money can be invested in the creation of content and promotion, which will be more beneficial in the development of a unique design.

Templates Save Time

You will have to learn how to work with templates, which will take some time. But in the long-run, you will be able to introduce changes to the site more quickly compared to needing to involve a specialist.

The development cycle of custom sites is much longer. Even the most thorough search for a suitable template, its customization, and setting will not take as much time as developing a website from scratch.


There is the possibility of buying a template from professionals who understand how a site should look like and function to satisfy the requirements of users.

The work of a specialist over a separate site will cost a fair amount of money. But, due to the mass sales of the product, the executor can afford to sell templates for $60.

Web designers do not have to develop basic designs anymore. They have to create a design that will be convenient for all the users: colors, fonts, images, forms, and other elements. The designer of the user interface has to find a balance between all the elements and create a product that will automatically attract consumers.

On a majority of sites, there is the possibility to view users’ feedback from those who have acquired a layout, check the portfolio of web designers, and make sure that their works are of high quality.

Disadvantages of Templates

The main flaw is that your site is not unique. Despite the possible customization, if you are using a popular template, your site won’t be original.

The template is a considerable disadvantage for a small and medium business; however, it is unacceptable for large corporations. Facebook and Amazon would not use layouts and templates for their sites. Big companies can afford to create unique sites meeting all of their needs having no worries about the budget and time spent on this development.


You will need to figure out how plugins and layouts function. It is much easier than learning how to develop custom sites. There will be no need to learn HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.

The use of templates is cheaper and takes less time. If you pay due attention to the search of a necessary template and its setting, from the effectiveness point of view, your site will be no worse than the majority of custom ones.

Templates and layouts are becoming better every year. For a small and medium business, the use of templates will save time and money and allow them to have an efficient site.

About author
Since 2014, Raimond began to engage in copywriting as a freelancer. Since 2015, he began to study SEO and became a junior SEO in a web studio. Until 2019, he managed to work in 2 companies and moved to a startup as a SEO, where he got acquainted with the ACO since the company had its own application. For the last year, Raimond has been paying more attention to application optimization, without stopping to engage in SEO.