Brand Activation Management

How campaign design templates unlock creativity, not restrict it

June 2021 Written by Papirfly

In this article, you’ll learn…

  • Why the myths that templates limit creativity are actually misleading
  • How templates give teams the freedom to flex their creative muscles
  • What to do to make the most of your templates

You don’t have to look very far on the Internet to find templates for any number of marketing mediums. Website layouts. Email designs. Business cards. Social media. You name it, you can find a template for it.

The reasons why they are so widespread are fairly obvious:

  • They can be massive time and effort savers for design teams
  • They help preserve brand consistency by locking down critical elements
  • They can be moulded to the ideal dimensions for digital and print materials, from social assets to billboard posters
  • They make creating perfectly branded designs accessible to anyone, regardless of design skills

Sounds fantastic so far. But, these advantages are frequently contested with this counter-argument:

“By placing firm boundaries on designers and promoting the duplication of the same layouts, templates greatly restrict creativity.”

While this assumption that templates restrict creativity is understandable, when they are used correctly, this is far from accurate. In fact, they can give designers the opportunity to work more creatively and feel more empowered in their role.

Why do many designers despise templates?

As highlighted above, a core issue that designers have with templates is how they limit the possibilities to produce unique, bespoke graphics.

Quite understandably, this “conveyor-belt” style approach to asset creation goes against their passion for producing innovative, one-of-a-kind pieces.

A quick counter to this argument is that competent companies already place these boundaries through their clearly defined brand guidelines. This is critical to maintaining consistency across all communications, a powerful marker of brand quality and essential for building trust among audiences.

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With strict guidelines in place in place, designers can only push the boundaries so far in order to preserve their brand’s identity – any further and you can quickly lose recognition and trust among consumers. Good templates should manifest these guidelines, ensuring that anybody using them can’t stray away from the core foundations of your branding.

But, alongside these limitations on creative thinking, designers have further concerns about relying on templates, such as fears that templates will diminish the importance of their roles, making them dispensable if less-skilled workers can create graphics.

Again, this is an understandable concern. However, we would never advocate that templates exist to replace designers. A designer’s discipline extends far beyond just choosing from a predefined list of colours and patterns.

Without the unique insight and understanding that only a skilled designer can provide into any form of visual content, templates can result in a constant flow of bland, uninspiring and cookie-cutter assets.

We recognise that the core role of designers is being the overarching creative forces behind the brand. Rather than be caught up in the minutiae of producing repeat assets and making an endless stream of subtle tweaks, using templates ensures that designers can shift their focus to bespoke projects and creative thinking, while other, less-skilled employees can confidently work on day-to-day asset production.

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Do templates actually benefit creativity?

Rather than cut off designers’ flow, there are many reasons why templates go a long way to freeing up designers’ time and preserving their creative energy, while empowering others to play an active role in asset creation.

No more mundane tasks

A 2020 study by London Research into the working patterns of 700+ marketing professionals found:

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The use of templates means that those with minimal design skills can take responsibility for the more straightforward, mundane asset creations and tweaks. This removes the burden on your more qualified designers, who could be at risk of burning out or becoming disillusioned by making repeated adjustments or copies of old assets time and again.

More time for creative thinking

By freeing up your designers’ schedules, they will have more time to drive new ideas, research the latest trends and think conceptually, helping you stand out in today’s crowded market.

Not everything you push through your marketing channels necessarily needs to come from a template. While these can notably scale up the amount of content you produce for less time and money, for campaigns that need that extra creative spark or bespoke touch, you need your best designers on the case.

While your wider team uses templates to keep your content ticking over smoothly, you’ll have total confidence that all other collateral is going out perfectly on-brand.

Furthermore, this creative thinking time is likely to also form the basis for future templates, or helpful adjustments to your existing ones, which will improve the quality and attractiveness of your assets for your global audiences.

Conserving energy

It may sound frivolous, but even the prospect of your designers being able to go home on time and maintain more beneficial work-life balances, because templates have freed up their schedule, can greatly enhance their capacity to create and find inspiration for future works.

Designers can find inspiration practically everywhere, from films, television and books, to walking in the countryside. However, they are less likely to find new ideas when sitting behind the same desk, making miniscule amends to previous assets.

Let your templates do their job, so your designers can do theirs better, both inside and outside the workplace.

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How to make the most of your templates

With all of these benefits for using templates in mind, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Using templates to replace the role of your designers is a recipe for disaster. This approach will inevitably hamper the uniqueness of your content, as only the insight of an effective designer can craft visuals that really capture people’s attention and illustrate your distinct brand identity the right way.

The solution is to have your design team play an active role in the creation of your templates, so that these receive their seal of approval, before they can be harnessed by other, less-skilled members of your organisation to apply as required.

That’s why a solution like BAM by Papirfly™ offers you more than cookie-cutter templates that can be downloaded or bought online. As well as providing an array of pre-built templates, our powerful platform enables you to structure your own smart templates across all forms of collateral, which can then be harnessed by your wider team to produce high-quality, on-brand results every time.

Create templates for every channel; social media posts, video, posters, brochures, banners, signage. All this and more can be housed within your platform, equipping your teams to produce an infinite amount of perfectly branded assets.

This means total consistency and content production that’s faster and more cost-effective than ever before. The ability to quickly amend or adjust collateral for your global markets and sub-brands, all while your designers have more capacity and less pressure, allowing them to work at their most creative, without burning out.

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Empower your team’s creativity with smart templates

When used effectively and with the direct input of your insightful designers, templates can result in massive improvements to the productivity, consistency and ROI of your marketing output.

While your designers might immediately be hesitant about the idea due to the fears that we’ve pinpointed in this article, after using BAM by Papirfly™ these concerns will be replaced with celebrations for greatly reducing their share of mundane, repetitive tasks, and giving them the freedom to do what they do best: conceptualise and create great content.

  • Easy-to-use software and intelligent templates make creating exceptional assets simple
  • Provide your input on a wide range of fully bespoke templates
  • Reduce your dependence on external agencies to produce content that you could be creating in-house
  • Locked-down elements give you complete confidence that all content produced is consistent with your brand’s identity

Accelerated content creation is just one way that BAM can revolutionise your approach to marketing. Discover the full scope of our platform’s potential – get in touch with our team or arrange your free demo today.

by Papirfly

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