Should You Use A Template?

Should You Use a Template? | How to Know If Templates are Right For You

I love how strongly people feel about templates. I've heard both sides...

"Oh you should NEVER use a template. Everything needs to be 100% original."

"I LOVE templates. Why spend hours in Photoshop or get a headache trying to figure out code in Wordpress? With templates all the work is done for you!"

"I use a template for everything: emails, contracts, business cards, invitations, my blog and website. Even my wedding vows were purchased from Fiverr." 

Haha just kidding with all of that. 

Obviously I'm biased because I design templates. But the truth is that templates can be super helpful and they save a LOT of time, headaches and money. They may not be for everyone but here are some ways to know if they are right for you... 

First of all, let's back up and define the term.

A template is something that is pre-made and customizable. As an example from my shop, I design cards, books, forms, and marketing materials in Photoshop. But I save them in a way that makes it easy for someone to replace the design with their own information and photos. They can move things around, change sizing, wording, colors, etc to make it their own. The purpose of a template is to give you huge head start. Scroll down to see a list of my favorite template resources.

You should definitely try a template if...

You're short on time

Let's face it, life can get busy! For example...You would love to have a lovely birth announcement for your newborn. But oh, right. You have a newborn. So when will you have the time to come up with an elaborate Photoshop design? Don't sweat it. Get a birth announcement template, plug your info and send that baby to print. Then you'll have more time to snuggle your real baby and maybe grab a nap;)

Birth Announcement Template by Laurie Cosgrove Design

You're not quite ready to hire

It's that awkward in-between stage where you make enough to pay the bills and maybe even buy the fancy coffee. But not quite to the point where you can hire an expensive designer and developer team to get your blog looking professional. There's no shame in that. There are amazing blog templates and super helpful blog template shop owners (cough:: Kathy at Nudge Media) who would love to assist you. You can always add on more custom features later as you grow.

You don't have expertise in that area

If you sometimes read legal forms and have a minor panic attack, you are not alone. Big words scare a lot of people. But it doesn't mean you have to give up altogether if you can't afford to hire a lawyer. There are really helpful professionals who create contract form templates just for this very reason. You can make sure you're covered even if forms aren't your thing.  

Should You Use A Template? | Make sure you know the basics 

You know the basics

This is very important but a lot of people don't take it into account. If you buy a template, you have to have to have to know the basics. It's really sad to spend money, even a small amount on something you can't use. So make sure you know the basics before you buy. For example, if it's a Photoshop template, make sure you've used Photoshop a few times before and know your way around. Don't assume that you can learn the program in a day because it can be really frustrating to hit a wall. If you don't know the basics, you can always search for online tutorials or ask the template creator if they charge a fee to make the changes for you.

You have trustworthy resources

It's true that not all templates are created equally. Check the feedback ratings and customer reviews. See if there is a freebie or trial version you can experiment with first. Ask questions if you're not sure what's included. 

Here are a few of my favorite places to find quality templates...

Blog Templates - Nudge Media Design, ProPhotoblogs

Website Templates - Squarespace (What I use now after trying Blogger, Wordpress and Shopify - So incredibly EASY and all templates are included),  GoLiveHQ

Photography Templates - My ShopDesignAglow

Email & Newsletter Templates - Jasmine Star, Mail Goods

Logos, Resumes & Stationary - Creative Market, Behance, Graphic River