If you are regularly created graphics and visual marketing for your business, you may be wasting a lot of time. Not because created beautiful, branded and well-designed graphics isn’t worth spending time on, but because creating something new and from scratch each time you need a graphic is wasting time, when you could speed up the process.
Not only speed up the process but it also helps you to stay on brand. Preventing the temptation to experiment with new fonts or colours and stray from your brand style.
So instead of the constant roundabout of creating new graphics every time you need one, it is time to stock up on a collection of templates, that you can easily pull out and edit everytime you need a graphic.
Templates make the whole process of creating graphics for your business so much easier. You don’t need to dread all the work ahead when you have something to promote or share. You can simply open up your template files, put in a new photo and change the text, save a copy and you are good to go.
What kind of Graphic Templates do you Need?
Take the time to look at what you are already regularly creating your business and graphics you find yourself making all the time. This is a great starting point for creating templates. Think about all the parts of each thing you do in your business and all the graphics required for it to come together. Such as when I write a blog post, I need a featured image, a pinnable graphic, a facebook promo graphic, an Instagram promo graphic, a twitter promo graphic, and an Instagram stories graphic. And if the post has a free content upgrade, I also need a pdf sheet or booklet and a small blog post size graphic to promote and encourage downloads of it. So as you can see just one task, like a blog post can require a lot of graphics, and so by listing it out and creating templates for each, it makes creating blog posts much more streamline.
So ask yourself;
– What forms of content are you creating and what graphics does that content need?
For example, blog post graphics featured images/ thumbnails, Pinterest graphic, live video/ youtube or podcast episode graphics, course or membership site new lesson graphics or workbook templates, free download and content upgrade templates.
Tip: A great size for a Pinterest image template is 1000x1954px
– What promotions do you run and what platforms do you use to advertise them?
Do you have regular sales, webinars, events, markets, workshops, live broadcasts, tutorials or other promotional events? Then how are you usually promoting these? Do you create posters, flyers, social media graphics? For each of the platforms and methods, you use to promote, create graphics templates. Create a file that is the right size, make a basic layout and pop in some filler text, using your brand fonts.
- For instagram I like to make graphics that are 1200px square
- For Twitter and Facebook I like to use 1200px x 230px
- For instagram stories I use 750px x1334px
– How are you marketing to your business and what platforms and graphics do you use to market?
Beyond specific promotions, what are you using to market your business and be seen, and what graphics are needed to support that? List all the social media platforms you use, and consider the types of posts you make. For example, if you like to post quotes or motivational phrases, you can make templates for that. If you share testimonials from clients, why not make a testimonial template. Even simple things like a product or lifestyle image with your website address at the bottom can be set up as a template, just a file that is the right dimensions with a layer for your image and your web address already down the bottom.
Keep it Diverse but on Brand
Don’t think that creating templates will stifle your creativity or make you look too repetitive or boring.
Having templates keeps you on a brand as you have the fonts and colours already set up ready to go. While using the same basic style, fonts and colours may seem boring and repetitive to you. Keep in mind that your audience is not looking at and always in your business the way you are. You see it all day every day, but it is just a moment in their day.
Staying true to your branding makes you memorable and easily recognisable, creating brand recognition and reliability.
You can still get creative and diverse with your graphic, by creating multiple templates for each type of graphic you need. Start with a base, by setting up a file the correct size you need. Then add in images, text and colour blocks, and then play with a variety of layouts and configurations to make a selection of templates to work with. Also create a few types for each, e.g If you were setting up Facebook templates you could have one for promos, one for quotes, one for blog posts and one for products, and then variations of each.
Even if your graphics are quite different each time, you can set up consistent elements. For example, if you put on a monthly art show, and have an artist create the poster each time. You can still create consistency and speed up the poster design process by having a template in the correct size with the text in position and a spot for sponsor logos, so all you have to do is drop the artwork in, edit the text and swap any sponsor logos and itis ready to go, rather than always starting fresh.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the need to create so many templates though. Start with a few of the most needed, and over time and to your collection. Play with new layouts and ideas now and then and save it as a template to use again.
Keep it well organised for better workflow
To keep your templates manageable, organised and easy to use start with a templates folder on your computer. Then create subfolders for each platform or workflow, depending on what you find more convenient. e.g you could have a blog post folder for all graphics related to blog posts, or an Instagram folder for all types of Instagram posts. You can also do both and just have copies of the templates in each, so whatever your need is, it is easy to find and create what you need.
For the templates themselves be sure the structure your layers so it is easy to edit. You may want to name layers and remove any messy layers created in the design process. Keep it clean and easy to use. Remember if you ever have to ask someone to help you with graphics, you want to be able to hand them templates that are easy to use and make sense. Always make sure your fonts are editable, and if you are setting up templates for workbooks or documents, you may also want to create a folder with all the linked images and fonts, so if you need to work on another computer or hand it to someone else for help, everything is together.
I hope this has helped and inspired you to start a template collection and save yourself time in the design process.