They’ve been around for a long time now and while I haven’t always been enthusiastic about them, but they’ve grown on me…a little bit. I’m talking about templated designs of course! The more formal definition for a template is a document with a predetermined format that doesn’t require reformatting for each use.  Much like anything else these premade design have their good points and their not so good points and that’s what I wanted to explore today!

Let’s start with the good news…

Templates can often be more affordable than custom design. If you’re just starting out and really strapped financially, but want a good design to use to get you going, a template can be a good option. However, I have a few rules for using them…namely…don’t pick from the “most popular” or “best seller” category. They’re popular, best sellers for a reason, but I’ll get into that reason a little later

They are premade so they’re easier and faster to use. Despite being premade they don’t all function the same. What I mean is that some templates will let you add and change elements of the design. Some will just let you customize a specific element like a portrait or photograph. Others only let you type in your information. However, if you don’t have design skills, are strapped for cash or time and not willing to outsource this type of work then this might be a good option for you.

They help your business look professional. A template design is better than nothing. I really want your business to look professional and do well. Looking professional when you approach potential clients is part of that. Now, obviously, I’d love for you have a beautiful custom design for every launch and every marketing campaign, but I’m enough of a realist to know when I’m fighting a losing battle and I’d rather support you as a business while you’re figuring yourself out than preach at you. This is partially why I created the Jumpstart Branding and Design Calls. (you can learn more here)

Now then…on to the “not so good” news.

Templates cost you money and clients. Yup it’s true…you and everyone else in your industry is using the same 20 designs. This means that all of you look mostly the same and it’s easy for a potential client to get confused and go to your competition instead of you. (Yes, I have seen this happen more than once!). This is why you should steer away from popular best selling trendy templated designs. They’re popular for a reason and you, my friends, are not generic. You’re unique and you need to showcase that!

Templates are billed as being “quick and easy to use” and sometimes they are, but sometimes they’re not. I’ve heard horror stories from clients who have tried a templated design first and spent more time trying to do it themselves with lack luster results than if they’d come to a designer, like me, in the first place. One past client told me she was having so much trouble getting the template to look right that it cost her 5 hours of time that she could have used on clients. This means, for her, she lost $750 dollars trying to do it herself.  So, before you decide to DIY it, ask yourself, what is my time actually worth? If I didn’t have to do this design myself what could I do instead?

They’re not the only game in town to look professional. A lot of designers, myself included, make custom templates for businesses that they can use again and again. You get the best of it all this way. Easy to use, unique and on brand, affordable. It’s a great in between solution to the Time vs Money issue a lot of us businesses owners have. Some designers will have catalogs for templates and then they customize for you. I don’t do that. I custom create the template for each client based on their business and their skill level. I feel more like I’m creating a suit for you to wear over and over than something you pick off a rack!

Really put some serious thought into what your time is worth and which solution might be your personal best fit. There’s a lot of options and in business (and design) no one option fits all.

By the way, if you loved this tip and you want tips customized to your business, Grab your FREE 30 minute 1:1 Getting to Know You Strategy Session. Each session is full of tips tailored for your business to help you now. I do a very limited number of these sessions each month and these can only be scheduled through email, so if you want one, email me today! Let’s chat about how branding and design can get your business where you want it to be! Talk to you soon!