Small Changes, Big Improvement – How to Make a Template a Masterpiece
Fotor offers some great templates to help you design your banners, social media posts, flyers, and other communication materials. But those templates are just a starting point. Let’s look at ways you can make a great template into a great design.
Before You Begin
Like any other art form, design requires a balance between exploration and decision. As a designer, you will need to open your mind to a variety of ideas and ways to solve a problem, but you will also need to have the confidence to be decisive and bold. To do that effectively requires you to know what you want to say with your design. In the design world, we call it Identifying the Problem.
If you identify the problem correctly, you will be more likely to solve it. If you identify the wrong problem, your solution will not work because it solves a problem that does not exist.
In the design examples that follow, notice how each revised template makes one clear visual statement. It solves a communication problem giving the reader every visual opportunity to understand the message.
If I told you the layout on the right was based on the template to its left, would you believe me? Maybe not, but it is true. The designer defined his problem, explored ideas, and made confident choices to come up with an effective design that communicates one clear and simple message.
The template on the left has all the elements for an interesting design, but does not solve a communication problem. Someone has to define that problem before it can become an effective layout.
The template has some graphic elements (circles), some text, and a background photograph. In the hands of an imaginative Fotor user, it can become a graphic design piece that communicates a message.
For this layout, the designer was not afraid to use only one of the circles instead of all three. He made that circle large and put it on the lower left corner of the layout. Notice how he had part of it extend beyond the layout border. He also changed the color to red – a color that attracts more attention than the cool purple of the original template.
Then he took the text and changed the fonts and sizes making the word “Crazy” larger. He also used a funky font for the word “Crazy” to illustrate the idea of craziness. The text is a tint or a percentage of the red color used for the circle which ties the text and the circle into a unified mini-layout that is read together. You can get more inspiration from our previous blog: How to Make Your Words Standout and be Read
Additionally, the designer changed the photograph to one that not only has more interest than the original, but emphasizes the model’s ruby red lips as well. Notice how the designer used her red lips to link her with the red circle and used the direction of her head to draw the reader to the text. Everything works together to make one statement. The only thing missing is the product, which is probably lipstick.
This is an effective layout because the designer used the elements provided in the template in ways that tell a strong story. He defined his problem (tell women about the benefits of our lipstick), explored the use of color, fonts, text and graphic elements, element sizes, and photography to make one bold and clear statement.
In the next two layouts, the designer created an elegant, yet strong message by giving the layout some breathing room.
In this solution, the designer chose to keep the original font color and the original layout. She improved the impact of the design by choosing a condensed font and by reducing the words “SPRING FASHION” and “2016” so they occupy less real estate on the layout. This opens up more space to display a better photograph.
In this case, the designer chooses a picture of a model on a beach. She also used it as a black and white photograph so it would not clash with the soft purple of the background.
Now the image has lots of empty space around the model allowing for judicial placement of the headline and the year. Notice how the text does not crowd the picture, but frames it. Notice too how much easier it is to read in the revised layout than the original template.
This layout does the same thing, but in a different way. Essentially, the designer kept the layout format, but made some simple yet effective changes.
She opened up space for the text by making the text smaller and putting the word “UNUSUAL” in a box with a background that uses the same tint color as the type. By putting the word “UNUSUAL” in the box instead of the tagline “From Around the Globe”, the designer made a bold decision about what is important.
She opened up more space by making the photo larger and moving it to the right where she trimmed it on a different angle from the template. This added more breathing room for the text which attracts the eye and makes it easier to read. By making the photo of the cat larger and only showing its eyes, the designer creates a sense of mystery that can pique a reader’s curiosity.
This designer used simple techniques to add some emotion to these messages.
By adding a graphic element on the left side of the layout and moving the text to the far right, the designer is able to draw the reader’s attention to the headsets and then to the text which is handled tastefully and has plenty of empty space around it for emphasis.
Here, the designer used the dramatic angles of the building against the sky to frame the text, which makes the layout even more dramatic.
By reducing the font sizes and changing the font for one line of text to a more illustrative typeface, the designer draws the reader into the words. Putting the “View Services” button directly under the text makes the entire area one complete graphic element that is easy to read. Adding a background color to the button that matches the building trim not only calls attention to the button it connects it to the design in a way that completes the layout.
As in previous layouts, this one is improved by putting the text outside the photograph. Despite the fact that the photograph is smaller, the reader is more drawn to it because it is uncluttered and makes the visual statement intended by the photographer. Also, notice that in this instance, the designer chose not to add color, yet the revised black and white version effectively attracts attention and easily conveys the message.
I hope these demonstrations will help you to see the value of using a template as a starting point, not an ending one. Consider what you want to say or what problem you are trying to solve and then playfully explore different possibilities using the template elements. When something looks good to you, be confident and bold – make the decision and commit your design to it. Remember, if you don’t like what you did, Fotor will always let you change it.