Templates suck, especially when it comes to websites!

by Auston Davenport and Teddy Pierre | Sep 7, 2022 | Behind the scenes, Blog, Design Inspiration, Technology, The Digital World

Website templates suck. Templates are usually overused and can also be found on thousands, if not tens of thousands of websites. While some templates have customization options, they are still limited in their capabilities unless you genuinely want to put the effort in. At that point, you might as well build something truly unique. Additionally, templates often do not fit your website or use case 100% of the time. So… why do people still use them? The biggest reason is usually cost. Paying a developer to build a website can be expensive, and the option of using a template can be very alluring. 

With all of this said, templates are not without purpose. The biggest reason is cost. Not everyone can afford a web designer to build a fully bespoke website. This is especially true for those just starting out with their business. In that case, a template can be a great starting point. While you may start with a template, you shouldn’t stay with a template. You should replace your template with something unique as fast as reasonably possible. Templates can be boring and are often overused. Additionally, it’s extremely rare to find a template that 100% meets your needs. 

Some Clarification on Templated Websites 

By templates, we mean prebuilt websites that are ready to go the moment you purchase them. Many people will confuse frameworks for themes as the naming schema in most website platforms will use the two names interchangeably. A great example of this is the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. By default, when you install Divi, you get… nothing. Nothing is displayed when you make a page in Divi. That said, Divi does still provide themes, or in their case, layout packs. These layout packs would be considered your theme, whereas Divi will be the underlying foundation that supports the theme/layout. 

You may now be thinking, are there any actual reasons to use them on your final website? Well, the answer is actually yes. Templates can be an excellent source of inspiration for your own unique design. They can act as a foundation for something great. This is actually a tool that we use sometimes. When clients don’t know what they want, we either pick out a few templates to have them review or provide them a library of templates. We’ll ask them to specify why they do and don’t like specific templates. By using this method, we can draw inspiration from the positive aspects of the selected templates, and we can avoid the negatives of the templates. In the end, we will provide the customer with a bespoke website. This is also a path we recommend for those building their own sites. If possible, avoid the usage of templates and instead use them as a source of inspiration. With that said… the world of graphic design is a bit different.  

Pros and Cons of Graphic Design Tools  

While they are some benefits to using a graphic design tool like Canva, there are a lot of cons. One benefit is that it’s a relatively cheap or free design tool that doesn’t require much skill. Simply pick a template, put in your information, and you’re done. It’s so simple. Why would you not use it?  

Here’s the thing: everybody else using it has access to the same templates you’re using.  

Where’s the Originality in Your Logos and Designs?  

Templates are terrible for a few reasons. The most important one being they lack originality. Your business is not identical to anybody else’s business, so why should your website or designs be? How can you expect your ad to stand out and attract more revenue in a sea of sameness? What about your logo? That should be unique, right? Pick any logo on Canva and search for the image. You’ll find thousands of businesses using that logo. Canva can’t create vectors (a computer-made image made up of points, lines, and curves based on mathematical equations, not pixels), so any logo or graphic you create in Canva can’t be scaled in size without losing quality.  

While we’re on the subject of quality, it’s easy to spot a design created with Canva versus a program like adobe illustrator. Canva’s tools are restrictive, which leaves the creator with the end product of something looking cheap. If you do possess the skill to produce a nice design on Canva, anybody can replicate it without any legal ramifications. The biggest red flag is that you can’t trademark your logo. Canva states very clearly on their website that “Canva’s logo templates are customizable and can be used by anyone. This means that your rights to the logo are non-exclusive, and you can’t register it as a trademark.” And if you’re wondering how you can get the exclusive right to a logo, Canva says it best, “This isn’t something we offer at the moment. We recommend reaching out to a local graphic designer or artist instead.” 

There certainly are cases for the use of templates for websites and graphic designs, depending on your business’ marketing goals. If you’re ready for custom solutions that help set your company apart from your competition, give us a shout.  

Web Developer | Website | + posts

Auston has been building and maintaining websites for over a decade and loves the challenge of figuring out the logistics of a website design and bringing it from concept to reality. In particular they enjoy working with clients that bring new and interesting ideas to the table which always bring new challenges.

When they’re not developing websites, they enjoy 3D printing and other DIY projects. Some of their favorite projects have been designing 3D Printers and other CNC machines. They also love to create models from TV shows such as various spaceships and prop weapons.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Teddy Pierre grew up with the desire to create and transform his world. His parents, both immigrants from Haiti, instilled a strong passion for excellence in him at a young age, and supported his innate appreciation of technology and artistic creativity.

Teddy received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Buffalo. He is a UX/UI and graphic designer. He specializes in Adobe illustrator & Sketch.

A few words to best describe Teddy are curious, top performing, trustworthy and innovator.

In his spare time, Teddy is an adventurer and enjoys celebrating life, whether it’s skydiving, traveling abroad to experience new cultures, or trying out a new burger restaurant in his neighborhood. He currently resides in Atlanta, with his wife, son and three dogs.