I am primarily a print designer who is expanding into web. In the process of learning about the vast resources available it has become apparent that the gap between custom design (from scratch) and building a site from found elements (templates, scripts etc.) is huge. My question is, at what level can a designer use these found elements and still claim the design?
In regard to 'claiming a design', you'd have to read the license for each template or component. Some require that a visible credit appears at the bottom of the page, some require a credit remain hidden as an HTML comment, some allow you to do whatever you want.
The value of a designer is assembling everything into a single product. It is rare to find a site where all HTML/JS/CSS was created by a single person. A print designer uses pre-made components as well: fonts, clip art, stock photos.
Look at the print world and art direction. So many times, a fantastic editorial opening is really an awesome illustration and even though someone might have art directed it, the illustrator is the hero.
However, neither Mozart nor Beethoven came up with the 12 notes of western music but look at what they do with those notes!