I’ve recently been looking at a number of design companies that seem to overstep on their recommendations for sites. Granted these are template makers and so they may be locked in a template mind set when they are publishing their recommendations.
In reality the design company is providing a service to another company and the other company is their customer. The design company knows how to design and their client knows what message is best for their company.
At San Diego SEO by Design I put it this way:
The design inspiration should not come from other websites for a restaurant site but rather should come from the owner himself. The developer and designer need to understand the vision he has for his restaurant and reproduce that on the site. I am not going to tell a restaurant owner what colors are best for his venue, the colors for his website should be consistent with those used in the restaurant, menu, and other marketing materials.