Disassociated asks if the current availability of free, professionally-designed blog themes are making designers obsolete.
It's a fair question, considering there are dozens of beautiful templates freely available for a variety of different blog platforms. But I don't think web designers really have much to worry about. Here's how it breaks down: if you need a website for a business, or to become a professional blogger, or for anything at all you want to be taken seriously - eventually you'll realize that it won't be taken seriously if you're using the same template a dozen others are using on their own sites. If you want a professional website, a free template simply isn't an option. The people using free themes are hobbyist bloggers who don't care as much about branding and selling their image as they do about a nice, simple way to present their content. They're not generally people who can afford to pay a designer for custom work, and I think it's great that there are well-designed templates available to help them do what they want to.
If a professionally-intended website tries to get away with using a free theme, chances are it's not going to be successful. It's like hosting a website on a free host instead of buying your own domain and host - it's a damning mark of amateurism. I think the real problem with people misusing free themes is that the web design field hasn't yet established the respect it deserves from average web users for providing a worthwhile and sometimes expensive service. I also think that will come, in time.