When I started wordpress I decided to dig into the code to learn how to create a theme. However after a year I stumpled upon the world of themes. All in different categories, more functions then I could create and basically depending on the theme, really good code. For me the idea initially using themes made me feel like I was cheating the client out of a original hand coded work from me but I realised quickly that clients don’t care about where you get the code from. They want a cost effective way to showcase their product or service. To me creating a wordpress website from scratch wasn’t the solution for my clients, it was a poor investment for their website. Instead the money could be spend on SEO or security plugins , social media or other area’s of the website.
I know most freelancers feel that themes are destroying the market and that its actually taking away from originality and from developers who pride themselves on building great customise themes. I do agree with you on that front, but the market has changed and looks like themes are here to stay and I’m quite happy about it. I can concentrate more on my clients goals for their website then on coding the theme itself. I can add extra functions, tweak the code and add different elements to make the website look original.
For me meeting my clients goals is the most important thing, if I thought templates were not good for them I would never use it. Building my clients brand and elevating them to the next level is what I do and if I can save them money so it can be invested in other areas then I think its a fair trade.
This topic is definitely open for discussion and everyone has their own opinion. Is there a difference between buying a theme or buying stock images, fonts and textures. I say do what feels right to you, and what you feel your client would benefit most from.