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LoewenWeb says
Thanks for all the answers. However, if you say to not go use a template out there and just learn to piece it together, how would one learn otherwise?

Theres absolutely nothing wrong with copying a design for personal purposes (offline) to learn its techniques, its a great way to learn how things are done on the technical side.

Also there’s nothing wrong with using something you like in your own design. It boils down to “Be Inspired, but Don’t Copy”

Just re-read your initial post, here are some blogs I find valuable:

http://css-tricks.com/
http://www.webdesignerwall.com
http://buildinternet.com/
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
http://wefunction.com/
http://woork.blogspot.com/

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blabus says
Thanks for all the answers. However, if you say to not go use a template out there and just learn to piece it together, how would one learn otherwise?

We’re not saying that (at least I wasn’t)- it’s great to examine and modify existing work for the purpose of learning, in fact I frequently did that when learning new coding concepts. However, what you should NOT do is simply modify existing work and pass it off as your own, or even base your work largely on existing work- you need to try to come up with your own designs, and in doing so, you’ll eventually develop your own unique style, and that’s often an invaluable asset to have as a designer.

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Alexhughes says
Yet I notice that there are tons of ‘professional’ web design companies that turn out poorly designed websites (not only graphically, but usability-wise as well), and yet they continue along strong (and charge ridiculous prices for the caliber of work they return).

Offtopic:And doesn’t it just make your blood boil.

On topic: I could not agree more with what everyone’s saying. To add my more hmm copy free idea, maybe download a few free templates? (the monthly themeforest one for example) and see how people have done certain things that way? Buy a template that you like the structure and features of and see how they’ve done it and see if you can rebuild it. Basically Dissect layouts… (just reiterating what’s been said – oops).

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TLaude says

Thanks everyone.

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