Why and How to Use Templates Effectively

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In desktop publishing, templates are pre-designed documents that we can use to create business cards, brochures, greeting cards, or other desktop documents. Some types of templates include:

Mix and match elements  using a Wizard or by choosing items from a list that the software assembles into our final product.

Pre-designed formats for documents where all we add are our own words in place of dummy or placeholder text. Graphics and typestyles are part of the template.

Pre-designed formats for documents that have placeholders (grid lines, boxes, dummy text) for key elements, text and graphics. We add our own text and graphics and choose the appropriate typefaces.

Many programs include their own set of designer templates for a variety of documents.

You can also design and save your own templates. Let’s look at some of the ways that templates can work for you.

* Pros & Cons of Using Templates

You might have heard (or even thought it yourself) “Real designers don’t use templates” or, “Templates are a substitute for real design.” But there are times when using one is the most appropriate choice. Some times and ways that templates can work for you:

– Save time with templates.

– Offer your client a less expensive alternative to your original, made completely from scratch designs.

– Use templates for routine forms for your own use (invoices, etc.) so you can spend more time on client work.

– Maintain consistency with newsletters or between related marketing pieces.

– If you’re a non-designer, use templates to give a more professional edge to your own marketing materials.

– Build your first Web page with templates until you become more comfortable with Web publishing.

– Maintain page-to-page consistency in a large Web site and simplify updates.

Remember, in many cases templates are designed by well-known designers. We often look at the work of others for inspiration, using templates is simply another way of borrowing from the talents of those around us. Starting with a template is a smart idea. However, there are still many ways to personalize them without sacrificing the benefits of speed, variety, and consistency.

* Tips for Using and Personalizing Templates

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