Bespoke vs Template front end design

Design - Bespoke vs template

You are getting a new website, and it’s time to talk about the front end design.

There are two main ways forward:


Template design
A premade, cheap, out of the box design from Themeforest or TemplateMonster.
Bespoke design
A design created from a blank sheet of paper by your designer of choice, leveraging your USP and competing in the best in your industry.

The two options are very different. How to choose which one is the best for you?

Let’s look at:

  • Budget
  • Time
  • Performance
  • Branding
  • USPs

Budget

A template design is often sold for a few 100s of dollars.
Please be aware… even assuming that the template is bug-free, your web developers might still have to spend hours to make the template work properly.

A bespoke front-end could involve creating wireframes and mockups, “cutting” and connecting the design to your eCommerce platform, and optimizing it to the pixel. This can take hundreds of hours. Even with the cheapest hourly rates, you can make some guesses.

The tempting way could be to pick a template design and make changes to it, but changes should not be major or this solution could quickly become more expensive than designing from scratch.

Time

A template design is usually implemented faster than a bespoke design, probably in a couple of dozens of hours. You must not skip your homework though, as you will have to spend time looking for the template that best meets your requirements, and to ask your agency of choice if they maybe have their own templates of choice.

Creating a bespoke design might require you and your agency to look at competitors, best practices, discuss mockups and UX, etc. It’s a matter of days, and not just hours.

You can skip some steps, or delegate them to your agency, but it will take longer than implementing a template.

Performance

Pre-made themes and templates are optimized to look and work well on the marketplaces you buy them from. Once you install them, upload your own modules, products and content, you’ll probably find out that they don’t look and feel as smooth as they did before. Your web developer will have to sort things out (this will take some time and money, which will possibly surprise you if you haven’t read this article). 

Pre-made themes and templates are optimized to look and work well on the marketplaces you buy them from. Once you install them, upload your own modules, products and content, you’ll probably find out that they don’t look and feel as smooth as they did before. Your web developer will have to sort things out (this will take some time and money, which will possibly surprise you if you haven’t read this article). 

Real-life websites based on bespoke front ends are typically faster than template ones. A bespoke frontend is designed to fit you, and well, rather than fitting many potential clients.

Branding

A template design is, by its nature, going to be more common than a bespoke one. What you buy has been installed on thousands of other websites. A bespoke design can resonate better with your overall branding.

Considering that it will hopefully be seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors, the bespoke design sounds more appealing.

USPs

Do you need to implement product configurators, special interactive pages, original functionalities, etc? A bespoke design is a way ahead.

Closing notes

Often, the main factor for deciding between a bespoke or template design is the budget.

If you look at it from a performance point of view, this might be an error.

An optimized, bespoke eCommerce front-end will generate more revenue at a parity of ad budget, it will represent you in terms of image and experience… What is saved on front-end development might have to be burnt later in additional advert due to worse conversion rates, for example.
In our experience, a bespoke design is always the best way ahead and worth every penny.

Of course, a template design makes sense if there is no budget, especially at the early stages of a new business. In that case, changes should be limited and it would be wise to budget for some optimization expenses.

For any question, doubt, or observation, please feel free to get in touch with us – info@advoxstudio.com

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