The increasingly common use of customizable templates among graphic design artists is a hot button issue that has many professionals raising their eyebrows. For example, does using a pre-made layout inhibit creativity? Is it fair to the paying client to take advantage of the work of another designer? The answers to both questions depend on the flexibility of the template, as well as the client's specific needs. To determine whether or not a customizable template is appropriate for your next project, consider the benefits they have to offer.
Reduced turnaround time
While your priority as a professional is undoubtedly the integrity and originality of your work, your client may be more interested in how soon they will receive the finished product for their next campaign. Cutting back on the time it takes to execute the most basic tasks of your project with a pre-designed template is a time-saver for you and often a service to the client.
Sound design principles
Depending on the service you choose, you will find that many customizable templates are created by professionals with an eye for detail and a passion for excellent design. As a result, they often take pains to ensure that good design principles are followed. Whether you choose to abide by those principles or change things up a bit and throw the rulebook out the window is entirely up to you, but knowing that the artists behind many templates today are meticulous professionals themselves is a plus.
Greater creative focus
While the time-saving benefits are often cited as reason enough to consider using customizable templates, often overlooked is the greater creative freedom they offer. With the initial background set, designers can get to work right away on the artistic aspects of the project.
Granted, at one time customizable template options for designers were limited. The marks of an amateur were almost guaranteed to come with the package. Fortunately, today templates come as blank slates with only the most essential work already implemented, leaving designers free to add their own vision to a clean, professional-looking canvas.
Pre-designed vs. pre-formatted
Finally, consider the differences between “pre-designed” and “pre-formatted” templates. Pre-designed templates are generally complete and simply need a few photo and logo replacements as well as text content. Pre-formatted templates are indeed blank slates. They have no graphic design elements on them whatsoever. Instead, they come already prepared in the proper color format, size and resolution. They also include helpful layout guides, such as bleed lines, cut lines and safe area lines.
Customizable layout templates take the guesswork out of file setup and help ensure a perfect print run, whether you're designing brochures, business cards, catalogs, flyers or other marketing materials. Instead of spending time tediously setting up your files, you can get to work on the creative aspects immediately. This means you are able to do more with less – and still create completely custom artwork – while saving money. You can pass the savings on to your clients in competitive bids, or you can retain the profits for yourself.