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dirty secrets template design

3 Dirty Little Secrets About Template Design

Oct 7, 2015

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The use of pre-fabricated templates has become a popular go-to solution for non-designers everywhere for everything from resumes to website design. It certainly makes it easy when all you have to do is drop in your content and go!

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Some templates are available for free and others you have to pay for, depending on what you need and where you’ve sourced it from. If you have a bigger budget, you might even hire a designer to help you make your own custom template… say for a PowerPoint presentation or a flyer. However, despite their widespread use and continued popularity, templates do have a few drawbacks that most people do not talk about. I find these especially come to light when a client requests to customize a template that has already been created. 

1. Templates are not a fool-proof way to cheap, beautiful design.

Templates definitely have their useful qualities, especially their cheap cost. But don’t think that just because you’ve purchased a template that the outcome will always be what you expect. Depending on how complex your design project is, you often need the help of a designer to ensure it looks its very best. Expecting a template design to also be a fool-proof formula for good design can be likened to asking a skilled craftsman to give you a 5 step process for creating a custom piece of furniture. Sure, you might have all the tools and the instructions, but it takes that extra skill and finesse that you haven’t been trained in to really give it a polished look. You may need to decide if good enough is good enough when it comes to your business.

2. Templates software can be limiting in customization.

The old adage “Beggars can’t be choosers,” fits nicely here. There are some really great templates out there for websites as well as presentations. But beware, all templates are not created equal. Some, if not most templates are not going to allow you to do whatever you want in terms of design. A good template will be somewhat flexible, but essentially, the more flexibility it allows, the more room you have to “mess it up” or stray from it’s original intent. If the template is well developed, it has been created to give you as little chance for error as possible (but of course it’s not fool-proof). If you are using a template design for a website, for example, check the specifications of it first before purchasing it and assuming it will give you certain customization options. You may not be getting everything you want.

Need a good recommendation? Divi is my favorite website template for wordpress or my Showit templates are perfect if you need something with a little more creative flexibility!

3. Templates can be technically buggy!

Templates from places like Envato or Creative Market can be great resources, but depending on the developer they can also come with a BIG unknown. You may not always know if the developer who created it used the best design principles, coding practices or even proper common sense. I’ve worked with many clients who have purchased a template design only to find out it was too difficult to use and customize on their own. Then the client needed my help to repair the template that was supposed to be out-of-the-box, ready-to-go and ended up spending more money than if we had just started from scratch with a custom design.

While templates certainly can be great resources, you may want to think carefully before making it your go-to design solution. If you are looking for the perfect template or even a custom design, talk to K Design Co. to learn about a design solution for your small business.

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Editor in Chief, Designer & Founder

kristin pruis

Before I enrolled in design school, I was *this* close to switching my major to become a writer. But God had other plans, and here I am, 10 years later, designing gorgeous brands & websites while nurturing my love for writing on the side.


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Teaching others everything I've learned about branding, design, and marketing over the past 10 years is a passion that truly fills my cup. No matter where you are on your journey of owning your business, I hope you'll find something here that you can take with you and leave you feeling inspired.


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