To Template or Not To Template
There's no denying there are countless template options to be found online today to purchase for both web and print marketing requirements.
As a valuable time and money-saving tool templates have their purpose, and rather than battling with the more difficult task of doing it yourself from scratch it allows you to focus on other things in your business.
The biggest issue I find for clients who purchase a template is that they then need to be able to make that template match their branding...
Just because you like the look of it and it offers all sorts of layouts - is it going to suit your content? Can it be adjusted to match the look and feel of your business?
Why is it important to create branded templates for your business?
More consistency in your visual marketing... leading to increased brand recognition.
Have you ever seen an advertisement, a television commercial, or a billboard and immediately recognised the company?
That's what I'm talking about when I say "brand recognition."
And that’s what you’re after as a business owner.
Using the same colours and fonts in your marketing designs, as well as similar graphic layouts, will help you create a consistent look throughout your marketing, which will help you become more memorable to your audience and generate brand awareness.
Templates are an excellent approach to accomplish this since they provide you with visual rules, allowing you to be more consistent with your marketing visuals.
In the long term, you can save time and energy.
If there's one thing I've learned as an entrepreneur over the years, it's that we have to guard our energy and make sure it's spent wisely.
It takes time and effort to create templates.
It is not on the agenda to reinvent the wheel for every graphic.
Creating templates is a good place to start if you want to reclaim your time.
Keep your style guide close at hand.
A good brand style guide, which includes a colour palette, font system, and defined logos and branded marks, is essential for any successful marketing design.
This will help you develop an on-brand look (both in these templates and beyond) and ensures that your marketing materials and graphics are visually consistent.
If this all sounds too much and you’d rather have it done for you as it’s not really your thing, then I’d love to help you develop your businesses branded templates.
The initial design and creation may cost a bit more than purchasing a template online, but you will have the added value of it being unique to your business, and any further items will cost less due to the design direction being established.
Custom design is used to meet individual demands and is tailored on a conceptual level, resulting in a better user experience whether in print or online.
Also with custom design comes personalised support from a designer who can match the style of your marketing materials to your business's objectives.
But purchased design templates have their limitations.
1. They aren't very flexible
You can't get creative with a template - that’s why you purchased it in the first place so you can use what’s provided. Sure, you can add your content like images and text, but to start changing layouts that’s where it will get tricky for you.
2. They're cheap
And this is their main selling point. However, when buying one you should remember that you're getting what you pay for. They're cheap and they can look cheap. Since your marketing items serve as the first impression to customers, using a template might trigger negative responses and affect the image of your brand
If you'd like to use a template and still build a positive brand image, choose recognised template providers and consider purchasing plans that grant access to more unique designs.
3. Users recognise them
Since providers of these templates use lots of advertising, they also help consumers to learn what templates look like. The features are distinctive enough so visitors instantly know that the brand didn't invest in a custom design and chose a quick solution.
Some templates suggest lack of creativity and laziness – and because of these, brand image can only suffer. Be honest, how many times have you seen similar looking layouts? It sure looks familiar to any user with good eyesight.
4. They're not unique
Template companies usually categorise their offer to reflect the need of different industries. The idea is good, but the execution is often lacking. Every industry is characterised by variety. How is one template supposed to work for all the different options? Will it help these businesses to differentiate themselves from others and be really applicable to their needs? Not very likely.
Plus, choosing a popular template, you'll find hundreds if not thousands of others that look remarkably similar.
And that's obviously not a method for standing out in the market.