I get this sentiment often as a designer. “WordPress is easy”, “Designers only use templates”, “Anyone can design websites”, I say do it. If you can create a design from an open template, show me how easy it is. I will put together a list of needs and creative ideas I would like to incorporate on the template of my choosing and you can make it happen Easy! The reality is, todays web design is not like the old days. Templates were easy as they were html only. You would input your written information, maybe have an image or two, and wham you have a website. Today however the web universe is not so simple. Templates help the designer as they cut down time however, to create unique websites one needs the knowledge to manipulate those templates into ones vision. Websites can be full of many technologies; Java, php, xml, pearl, ruby on rails, html5, flash, ajax, and may others may make up that template or cms. In order for the designer to create a design, experience in numerous technologies must be present. The more we design the more experience we gain. This is just the technology side, what about the graphic design and placement of objects.
The Web designer / developer needs an arsenal of skills to be successful. Knowledge of and how to use creative programs is an asset. I personally have many years of expertise utilizing Adobe products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Flash, In Design, and Dreamweaver. If a customer needs a logo, an image, a video, or a graphic change I make it happen. You see the template is only a framework to a design. A true talented designer takes that template and redesigns it utilizing imagination.