The predesigned website template trap

- February 14, 2012 2 MIN READ

Some predesigned website templates act as a handy framework for you to simply insert your branding. Others pretend to BE your branding – and that’s a dangerous trap many soloists fall into.

What do you mean ‘predesigned’?

Predesigned website templates are offered on many online printing sites, as well as website building and e-marketing sites. You can choose red flowers on a pink background, or corporate grey with green lines and text, or perhaps a sky design with red text. The choices can go for pages.

What’s good about these sites

Online printing services, for example, can be a wonderful way to get your hands on a range of marketing materials at an incredibly cheap price – particularly for small runs. This could mean business cards, rubberstamps, lawn signs or even mugs. Many online printers have website and email marketing services as well. Thankfully, they also have the option to upload your own design.

Business card example

Going down the predesigned template track, you choose one of their templates, type in your name, address, phone, email and web address and hey-presto! You are looking pretty darn spiffy. So what’s the problem?

One problem is…

If you take the design and have someone else print the material then you’re often in breach of copyright – even if the template design is tweaked. So if you want to print with anyone else down the track and you have based the entire look and feel of your business on the template, you are in trouble. You need to re-brand.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business branding section.

The real problem

Others are also using the template you have chosen. This defies the whole point of branding, which is to present yourself as something special. If someone sees your design and recognises it as a generic design template – which is becoming more and more the case – you look like you haven’t had enough money or care to have your own brand developed. In short, it reduces your image of professionalism. 

Don’t be seduced by the price

I know enthusiastic soloists who have completely by-passed their own branding and embraced a online pre-designed template. Why? Because it’s cheap and easy while making them look good. Or so they think. These people love showing off all the new marketing materials they’ve just bought …without their logo. The logo that’s established their image over the years. I could cry.

Please, hire a graphic designer…

…preferably a graphic designer who understands business branding. Feel free to show them the design template you love. They might be able to do something similar – but not the same.  And remember, the design isn’t for you – it’s for your potential clients. So just because you love the pre-designed template doesn’t mean they will. 

Have you had any experiences with predesigned website templates? Good or bad, please share them below.