Some time ago, I used to make a lot of these “brochure” type websites.
What frustrated me back then was that more often than not I was forced into an uncomfortable position. I had to make a good website, but the client’s branding would be subpar.
Their logo wouldn’t be any good, they would have chosen a cheap font somewhere, and basically they didn’t have a good brand to start with.
So I hear you say: that’s your job, isn’t it? To fix that?
I don’t agree. I think branding is a separate project. It needs to be done before the website project. For me, branding is a combination of a logo, a brand message and assets (illustrations, icons, patterns, etc.)
As a web designer, you’re confronted with this situation often, so you just roll with it and do the best you can. Maybe you nudge the client that they really need to improve their logo, and they need work on brand assets, and also they need better copywriting.
Because you are “the designer”, before you know it, this is your work: fixing the client’s brand. You are hiring illustrators, you are working with copywriters, you are organizing photo shoots and you are employing logo designers to figure the right brand for the client
Or, if you are starting out, maybe you just do the best you can with iStockphoto.com, whatever you can find using a Creative Commons search. There is no font budget so you look for open source fonts, or you are “creative” (I really hate that word) with what you have. You write the copy yourself because nobody else cares and the dummy copy that you wrote becomes the main copy of the final website.
The problem with all of this is you are wearing 2 hats: brand designer, and website designer. Branding is important, but it’s a separate craft. It can’t be sneaked into a website design project.