7 Ways Templates Can Decrease Our Productivity

by Oct 7, 2014freelancing, Graphic Design, Marketing, Web design

productivity & Templates

Templates can decrease your productivity

I don’t know about you, but as a web designer in Knoxville, a graphic designer, and an author all rolled into one, I work really hard. I tend to put in long hours each day to get my work done. Some would say that I am overly ambitious. The truth is, I have a lot of goals that I would like to achieve. Any time that you can save yourself some time on a project, it’s worth it. Some designers would say that using templates to start your projects can save you a lot of time. While this may work in rare cases, I’ve found that templates tend to decrease your productivity and a number of ways. Let’s take a look at the ways templates can decrease your productivity.

Difficult to Edit

Whenever you download a template on the web, whether it’s a print design template, or it’s a template for a website, you are taking a gamble. You have no idea how the template is made, and there’s no way to tell beforehand how skilled the designer was at crafting it. If you’ve ever had to go in behind another designer and edit a website without comments in the HTML, then you know what I mean.

They Stifle Your Creativity

Instead of using a template as a jumping off point, many designers use mockups as an end result. In the end, your project lacks originality, and you are uninspired to complete it. This lack of enthusiasm makes you work slower, and can make you dread working on the project at all. Think about how you work with vigor when you are inspired by a project or you are in the zone.

You Tend to Make Careless Mistakes

Cutting corners tends to affect your entire attitude. Not only are you cutting corners on your design work itself, but chances are you’ll end up cutting corners in entering the content as well. You are more likely to make careless mistakes, because you’re simply plugging in values. You are not actually thinking about the project itself, you’re just thinking about getting it done.

It Cheapens Your Work

Using templates cheapens your work as a whole. If your own work doesn’t have any value to you, then neither will your reputation. Taking less pride in your work means that your work as a whole will mean less to you. You’ll be less likely to comb over your work and check for mistakes, or errors.

Over Time, Your Work Suffers

You may be able to tackle a project in record time, but over time, your work will suffer. The whole point of being a designer is being able to solve problems creatively for business owners. This skill improves as you work each day to solve problems for your clients. If you are just plugging in values, you aren’t honing your skills, and you aren’t improving your abilities. Design is like a muscle. If you don’t work it on a regular basis, it will be weak and it will stay weak. It will take you longer to finish projects and come up with solutions as a designer.

You waste time looking for the right one

Just like you would for stock photography, you can spend hours looking for the right template to fit your project. Why? I can understand the idea of looking for the right photo for a project, but the time you spent looking for a template and modifying it could have been spend creating your own solution that showcases your skills.

You Have to Make it Fit Your Project

Even if you happen to find the right ready made design to fit your project, you’ll still have to modify it to suit your needs. Sometimes, you have too little content, or too much. Trying to make something fit where it doesn’t belong, or there isn’t enough room makes your work look bad. You also waste time trying to restructure the document so that it fits your content. The end result may not even look as good as you’d hoped, which defeats the entire purpose of using a template in the first place.


The next time you think about cutting corners and jumping into a template for your next design project, remember these pitfalls. Pre-made designs may seem like a great solution, until you factor in all of the time you spend looking for the right one, modifying it, and making it fit.

Do you use templates for your design projects? If so, how do they help you to be more productive? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.