The differentiating factor between “design process” and “design-as-a-product” is that one is noun and one is a verb. The design process requires that a graphic designer craft visual content to communicate a message, including creating layouts, applying typography and planning out the display of graphic elements to suit a user's need. Design-as-a-product on the other hand, allows anyone with minimal graphic design knowledge to select from a list of templates that are ready to be used. Using templates can save users time and are usually generic enough to fit most information. However, the generic nature of templates can be restricting and can limit your ability to accomplish what you’re setting out to achieve. So, what’s best for you and your business? Should you go the template route or create your very own unique design? Check out these 5 tips!
Define your budget.
If your company has the budget for a custom-designed website, there should be no reason for you not to go this route as your website is the representation of your brand and the hub for marketing. Since this is where majority of your customers will come to find you, your website should be invested it. If your company does not have the budget for a custom-designed website, design as a product will be route to go. Although you may miss out on quality and custom functionality, you will receive a pre-packaged design that will save you from having to hire an outside vendor and are typically simple enough to navigate on your own.
Develop your timeline.
The benefit of choosing a pre-packaged template is that you can turn your website around much quicker than having a custom website built which can take up to 5 months to go live. Custom websites rarely require one person to build as there are many moving parts that are simply unavoidable, including planning, wireframes, prototypes, copywriting, testing and search engine optimization. If you are tight on time and are need of a quick website for a nearing product lunch, you will likely have to opt for design as a product. You may even be able to build out a single landing page, for example if you are hosting a one-day event, and skip building a whole website to save you even more time.
If branding is very important to you, then a custom designed website will give you the necessary personalization to build your brand identity. As mentioned above, your website the central hub to where your customers go. Therefore, building your unique brand personality will only be feasible if you embark on the journey of building your website from scratch. Design as a product can be limiting and make it harder for you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and stand out from the crowd. If a design template is your only option, it's possible to choose a template that will build an emotional connection with your audience, but designing from start to finish will give you to the freedom you need to truly attract your visitor.
Need for functionality.
When deciding between design as a product and building a custom website, consider the type of functionality you need for your business. Do you need a highly secure website? Do you want to deliver a unique user experience to your customers? Though easy to make, template-based websites are not as secure as custom-built ones simply because hackers can attack all of the websites that use the same template. Should you choose to opt for a template website, ensure that it is mobile friendly as you can’t afford to lose customers based on this functionality!
Flexibility and growth.
Determine whether your company is going to grow and evolve in the coming months and years. If design as a product is the best route for your, template based websites often offer coding to add additional features to your website but remember that it is much harder to remove features from templates and they can slow it down. Custom-built websites offer the ability to grow-as-you-grow and if you expand your business, your graphic designer can build it in such a way that your website can be adjusted and developed.
10 Questions to help you get started
Here are a 10 questions that can help you get started on understanding you project and whether design as a product or custom design is right for you:
With these questions to help you get started, you should have an idea of whether a template or custom website is right for you.
Interested in working with fivestar*?
If you decide that it is valuable and profitable for your business to have custom software, fivestar* can develop solutions that centralize workflows, optimize processes, and enable decision-making through real-time data and business intelligence.