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Should Graphic Designers Use Templates?

Graphic Designer Editing Design Template
An ongoing question regarding the use of templates, is whether or not graphic designers should use them for their design projects. There are many different providers of stock template resources including companies that create professional designs in-house such as StockLayouts and companies that crowdsource work from a multitude of designers such as GraphicRiver and Creative Market. These companies offer large libraries of industry-focused designs that include pre-designed layouts, stock images and artwork, and are able to be edited however a designer would like. This can be done using a host of graphic software applications like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, CorelDRAW, Apple iWork Pages, and Microsoft Office Word and Publisher.

When it comes to the question at hand, there seems to be two distinct arguments.

  1. That designers should consider templates as a resource and,
  2. That all work should be custom and templates should be avoided.

These viewpoints are best expressed in a good ol’ fashioned pros and cons list.

The Pros of Using Design Templates

– Profitability

– Get work done faster

– Customize to create one-of-a-kind designs

Obviously, a company’s ultimate goal is to be profitable. Simply put, templates can increase profitability. Think about it this way; If you as a designer have four projects that you need to be finished by specific dates, rather than starting from scratch to design custom materials, you could save days of time by utilizing ready-made templates, tailoring them to your clients needs. You could use templates for two of your projects while customizing the other two. This would also give you the opportunity to take on another job or two thus, increasing your profitability.

Another reason to use templates is that clients are always looking for a cheaper solution. If you can charge a client less for a project without sacrificing quality, they are often happy to receive materials from a template. This saves you time and you could do two projects using templates in the time you could do one custom project.

Of course, as stated, there are two sides to every argument. So here are the cons:

The Cons of Using Design Templates

– Less original

– Less tailored to clients specific needs

– May make you look like a less creative designer

The bottom line is that templates can help increase profitability. One designer commented, “Being a designer isn’t about creating everything from scratch. It’s about presenting a solution to a problem quickly, creatively, and effectively.” And, templates help you do that.

It seems that best practice would obviously be to consult with your client before you start. Ask them if they would be alright with you using a template. More than likely they will be happy to and if not, go from there.

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