So what's really wrong with using templates for business purposes anyway? I totally get why people do it. They're usually free, or very cheap and people who use them typically don't have a designer on staff to set up new business cards, etc.. A lot of templates even look pretty good at first glance, depending on where you get the template from, of course.
So, if they're free/cheap, easy to use, and built into whatever company you're ordering the product from, then why shouldn't you be using them?
First & foremost, what I'm talking about here are template designs for company use, such as: business cards, letterheads, logos, etc..
What I'm NOT addressing here are templates for: website design, greeting cards, invitations, and other things of that nature!
The 2 main issues I have with using templates are:
1 | TEMPLATES ARE MADE TO APPEAL TO A LOT OF PEOPLE
That may seem good, so why it could that be a negative thing?
Templates are designed by somebody, yes; but they aren't designed specifically with YOU in mind. In their most basic form, they may not even be designed for a specific set of customers (for example: restaurants, nail salons, writers, body shops, photographers, etc.).
So if they aren't made for anyone specific, how are they supposed to help you stand out among your competition? Templates are designed to appeal to a wide audience, so that in itself is good. However, it's one thing to APPEAL to a wide audience, and quite another to be REMEMBERED by that audience.
For example, if you don't have a logo for your company, maybe you decide to go to VistaPrint to order business cards, because they have good pricing and they give you the option to use any one of their templates before you place your order. You can type in your own information, but you're using their design. Sounds good, right? I'm afraid you're wrong! =)
Yes, it will save you a little time right at that moment, but that design you just bought with your order is not yours alone. Other people are using that template too, with no changes between orders aside from different information in the text. It's not even designed with your company in mind!
Did you make the right choice when you chose that template?
WHAT IF YOU:
- chose it because it has music notes on it and you like music, but your business cards are meant to be used at your nail salon? (A problem I see all too often!)
- chose a template that has clip-art of a fingernail being painted with red polish, but your cards are meant to be used for freelance makeup artist services? (Chances are people who see that business card will think you own or work in a nail salon, which is misleading, isn't it?)
- are a photographer so you picked a template with a camera on it? (Not exactly a unique idea, I'm afraid...)
A designer like myself will always design your project with you and your industry specifically in mind, which is why (if you want to stand out) it's always better to get something created by a graphic designer instead of using a template.
Not to mention (again), because that template was free/cheap, you're not the only one in the world who's using it and that immediately wipes away any chance of being unique in your industry (not a marketable quality for you)!
2 | TEMPLATES TAKE AWAY A POTENTIAL JOB OPPORTUNITY FROM DESIGNERS LIKE MYSELF
This is admittedly not your problem and more of a problem specifically for designers. When customers opt to use a template instead of hiring someone to design something specifically for them, it takes a job away from those of us who work in this field.
Just a thought to keep in mind as you move ahead! =)