When I was a young designer, I was really interested in always doing something “new” in the area of interactive design. Could I put a new spin on it? Could I design something that didn’t resemble what other designers and software companies had done?

Designers and many visual artists share this interest in the Always New. But for a Website design, just how important is it to be 100% innovative? And, more importantly, what aspects of a Website do you even want (or need) to be highly original? There are many elements in a Website design effort, from content strategy to execution – do you need everything to be original? It’s worth giving this some thought.

The competing concepts of Formula vs Innovation have been fighting it out on the Internet for years. At this point, in many ways, Formula has won (at least on the Web – mobile is its own frontier).

But my attitude towards this has changed greatly. I see many areas where standard approaches (aka formula) can be more helpful than wild innovation in attracting and engaging users with your Website. In particular, standardized approaches to a UI are extremely helpful for the speedy, efficient, and clean execution of Websites.

There was a time when I would never have touched a Website template.  No, no no – we only did custom Websites for our clients. But Website templates have come a long way since the early days of cookie cutter Websites. These days, Web templates are not only a great starting point for a Website (it can still be customized), within certain price points they are essential.

The advantages of starting with a Web template are many.  From the client’s point-of-view, they can:

  • Save time
  • Save money
  • Speed the process.

From the designer/developer’s point of view, Web templates come with pre-configured options, making it simpler to implement:

  • Responsive, usable designs with pre-configured “grids”
  • Color palettes and type styles
  • Graphical elements, including buttons and icons

Keep in mind, there is also nothing stopping a Website design/development/client team from taking a Web template and customizing it as much – or as little – as needed. Whether you’re a designer or a client, it’s worth keeping in mind that the process of creating a Website from scratch is not always worth the effort. So many terrific starting points exist now with Web templates, that a templated approach – even if it’s just the beginning of a design effort – can make your Website go up more quickly and smoothly.

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