6 Jul 2024

The Real Web Designer

Metropolis Web Design


You may often find that many companies label themselves as “web designers.”

However, a closer examination often reveals that these companies are not true web designers. Instead, they rely heavily on pre-built themes and make only superficial changes, such as tweaking some CSS. This approach can be significantly limiting and may not serve the client’s best interests. In this blog, we’ll explore the limitations of such companies and how they can impact the effectiveness of your website, especially when using WordPress themes.

The Illusion of Web Design

When a company markets itself as a web designer, clients expect a custom, tailored approach to their website’s design. True web design involves understanding the client’s brand, goals, and audience, and then creating a unique, engaging user experience. This process often includes:

  • Initial design mockups using tools like Figma, Photoshop, or Sketch.
  • User experience (UX) research to ensure the site is intuitive and user-friendly.
  • Iterative feedback loops with the client to refine the design

Unfortunately, many companies skip these critical steps. Instead, they purchase a pre-built theme, apply it to the client’s site, and make minor CSS adjustments. This practice can severely limit the website’s potential.

Metropolis Web Design

The Limitations of Purchased Themes

While pre-built themes can be a quick and cost-effective solution, they come with several drawbacks:

1. Lack of REAL Customisation

Pre-built themes are designed to cater to a broad audience, which means they include a variety of features and design elements that might not be relevant to every client. Companies limited to these themes can only customise within the constraints provided by the theme, resulting in:

    • Generic Designs: Your website might end up looking similar to countless others using the same theme.

    • Limited Functionality: If the theme doesn’t support a specific feature you need, implementing it can be challenging without development skills.

2. Superfluous Design Elements

Themes often come with numerous features and visual elements to appeal to as many users as possible. However, these can be more of a hindrance than a help:

  • Bloated Code: Extra features can slow down your website, impacting performance and user experience.
  • Distraction from Core Goals: Unnecessary design elements can divert attention from your primary content and objectives.

3. SEO and Performance Issues

Themes designed for mass use may not be optimized for SEO or performance. Companies that only know how to apply a theme and change CSS might not have the expertise to optimize the site effectively:

  • Slow Load Times: Unoptimized code and excessive features can lead to slow page loads.
  • Poor SEO Practices: Without proper customization, your site might not follow best SEO practices, affecting your search engine rankings.

The Tail Wagging the Dog: A Misalignment of Goals

When a website is built primarily around the limitations of a purchased theme, it can lead to a situation where the design dictates the site’s functionality rather than the other way around. This misalignment can have several negative consequences:

  • Client’s Needs Not Met: The theme might not fully capture the client’s brand identity or cater to their specific business needs.
  • Compromised User Experience: The user experience might suffer if the theme’s design elements overshadow usability and content clarity.

The Solution: Custom Development

For a website that truly reflects your brand and meets your specific needs, consider working with a web developer/designer who can create a custom solution. Custom development offers several advantages:

  • Unique Design: Your website will stand out with a design tailored specifically to your brand and audience.
  • Optimised Performance: A custom-built site can be optimized for speed and SEO from the ground up.
  • Scalability: Custom solutions can be built to scale with your business, allowing for future growth and additional features.


While companies that limit themselves to purchased themes and minor CSS changes can quickly deploy a website, this approach often falls short in delivering a truly customised, effective web presence. By understanding the limitations of such practices, clients can make more informed decisions and seek out professionals who offer genuine web design and development services.

At Metropolis Web Design we have an in-house team that is capable of creating affordable websites for all types of companies – from small one page sites to complex database and API driven sites. All of them though are created through an agile approach where we gather a deeper understanding of each of our client’s unique needs.