I’d chime in on the discussion here from the perspective of a template developer who has no experience with design and throughout my life has been artistically inept. I have an ability like most to see something and have an opinion on how pleasing it looks to me, but of course that opinion is my own and may be shared by others, while some would disagree.
It’s something that is objective, but of course, it is usually pretty easy to spot where design is not a particular skill set of somebody. That being said, there is of course an ability to learn the fundamentals of design and its theory, while still never having the natural abilities to create the most beautiful designs. For me that will be the case, because my brain just is not wired that way.
Beyond that, there is also a need to understand the basic concept of the templates. They are built, and therefore resources deployed to that development, usually without prior market validation of their need, so a bit of risk taking is involved. If a template developer, like myself, doesn’t have the artistic abilities to design jaw dropping UI, they might not be willing to also deploy financial resources to outsourcing that design.
Of course, there is the other side of this too. That just like what most people on Bubble are doing, is creating an MVP or a first iteration of a product, with the full intention of improving, adding more features and iterating over time based on customer feedback as the resources generated through that endeavor provide; a template developer may take some of the sale proceeds to pay a competent designer to re-do the design.
But of course, there is so much more that goes into a template besides just the design. The logistics, UX, workflows etc. etc. all take time, so it is a balancing act of how much time do you invest into the product so that you can price it at a competitive price point. Personally, I build templates, not with aesthetics at the forefront, but the actual feature set and reliability of the product. All lot of time is needed to test and debug prior to launch so as not to disappoint, and even then, you may get thrown through a loop and have to rebuild large portions of your app because of some unlisted shortcomings in the debugging tools.
When I build a template, I fully expect the purchaser to utilize all the workflows and the UX and to then customize the look and design to suit their business brand and identity. You can’t really build a template expecting that all the purchasers would just launch it with the same design and not add their own brand identity with at least adjustments to the color scheme and fonts.
I think maybe there are some templates out there that are focused on design only, and offer just ‘building blocks’ in the sense that it is void of any workflows and database structure and only provides for a ‘beautiful design’.
I think templates are a great way for people to avoid the expense of having a fully custom app developed, both financial and time wise, while having the freedom to customize any way they see fit to be something that they are pleased with. I personally wouldn’t shop for a template based on design alone, because I wouldn’t want to launch my own business with a generic design that is not unique to my business brand.
Others have pointed this out as well, but some of the most well known platforms, didn’t invest heavily in design, they invested heavily in features and follow through. If you have a product that is beautiful but doesn’t have all the features, nobody is going to stay around because of the look…the look doesn’t solve people’s problems, and people use products that solve their problems (of course somebody’s problem could be they can’t design well and want to buy a template that solves that for them — I know I wish I knew of a way to make my designs really pop).