Ways to Never Lose Creativity When Designing from Templates

AliceL Design Principles Jul 27, 2015

Have you ever worried that your works will end up looking alike? Especially if you design from templates regularly. I bet you have. Well, good news is - there are ways to never loose your creativity and still create awesome designs fast. Let's look into those ways closely.

Start With a Sketch

In our day and digital age designers have dozens of powerful tools that allow creating breathtaking designs without never touching a pencil. These digital tools are great, but using the same tools daily you can fall into the trap of creating the same things over and over again.

To break the vicious circle it's good to remember the basics and get back to the analog way of doing things.

Sketching a design on paper prior to moving to the computer has benefits:

  • It's faster to try our different concepts for the project and leave out the ones you do not like without waiting for them to render.
  • Paper and pencil are usually easier to get to wherever you are, especially if you carry them with you, so you can sketch whenever the muse strikes you.
  • It's also a good way to brainstorm.


The key here is to disrupt the routine, stop relying on the same workflow, especially if you already feel like you are loosing focus.

You do not have to be a master artist to sketch your designs, especially if you are just brainstorming on your own. Just let you mind wander, let the pencil follow and the way to unique designs is yours.

Add Analog to Your Digital Works

Another good way to disrupt the routine is to add analog elements to your digital works.

You can put some of those sketches in, or add a hand-drawn illustration or lettering. It doesn't have to be the whole thing, just some elements here and there.


You have to agree - adding a hand drawn element, making it a centerpiece of the design is a good way to create a truly unique project.

Look Into the Past

So called "vintage" designs are fully or partially retro-styled designs. Inspired by history, these designs borrow prominent, recognizable features of an era. Most popular these days are ArtDeco, Art Nouveau and Bauhaus.

art deco

Look into the masterpieces of the past, they are full of inspirational material. You do not have to copy everything, you can see a color in one of Rothko's paintings or a tricky pattern on one of Mucha's posters and start your project from that.

Use Familiar Things in Surprising Ways

If you ever find yourself using the same images in the same ways over and over again here's a nice tip for you - try to use those images in new, surprising, unexpected ways.

Clever, eye-catching, engaging design is what you can get out of this approach. Similar to a metaphor and play on words in writing, this way of interpreting relationships and meanings of common objects will make your work much more "alive" and memorable.

clever image

Start thinking outside of the box!

Don't Use Your Favourite Font Everywhere

Yep, we all have a favourite font, or 5. And we use them over, and over, and over again. You get the point, right? If you want to create truly unique designs you need to stop using the same things and techniques, stop the routine.


Typography is a powerful tool, it is a huge part of a website. There are hundreds upon hundreds of awesome fonts out there, there are new ones released daily, free and premium ones. If you can not find the font for your project (highly doubtful, but who knows) you can create one yourself.

Don't Overuse Stock Resources

Stock resources are great, there is nothing wrong with using them in your work. But chances are you have a pile of images you bought and use on a regular basis. Not good, if you do not want your designs to look alike too much, if you ask me. Plus other designers can use the same images.


Creating your own images you create original design, and that's precisely what you want. Or, you can customize the stock images you have, give it a bit different look.


Designing for a living can be tough when it comes to staying original and creative. Returning that creativity is not that difficult though. Look around you, life is full of inspiration!

My last advice for you, if you design from templates - choose the templates made specifically for your subject, there are thousands of web templates in every thematic category. This way you won't have to think about functionality and focus on design itself. Customize every little thing you can. And don't be afraid to think outside of the box!

What are your methods of staying original? Share in the comments below!

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