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Monday, July 16, 2018

Mastering Squarespace templates

This guide consolidates key information about Squarespace templates, including terminology, comparison charts, and selection tips so you can do your best work on Squarespace.

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Key terms and concepts

Getting to know Squarespace language will make finding and asking for help easier:

 

Templates are like your DNA – there’s a lot you can change about a site's appearance and functionality, but certain style parameters and features can’t be changed. You can’t combine templates, or pick and choose which features to add to a template. After picking a template that fits your site’s needs, you can customize it using the Style Editor.

Parallax scroll: A special scrolling effect where the background image moves slower than the page content in the foreground. It creates an illusion of depth and immersion.

Responsive design: An approach to web design which makes web pages resize automatically based on the size of the browser window. All Squarespace templates are responsive and mobile friendly.

Switching templates: You can switch templates at any time, but we recommend previewing it on the site first. If you’re switching to a template in another family, the styles and content may not render as expected.

Template: The foundation of a Squarespace site which determines its style and functionality.

Template family: A group of templates that all have the same underlying structure, style options, and special features. For example, the Bedford family has four templates: Anya, Bryant, Bedford, and Hayden.

For more Squarespace terminology, visit our glossary.

 

Template comparison charts

Here's the official Squarespace comparison guide of key features organized by template family.

Some Circle members have created their own template comparison charts too. While they occasionally fall out of date, you may find the additional perspective and alternative comparison designs helpful:

 

Template selection tips

Now that we've covered Squarespace template basics, it’s time for an important decision: which template is best for each project? We’ve gathered tips from our in-house designers and the Circle community, to help you frame your thinking.

 

Features

At the start of a client project, ask them about websites they like. Help them identify the structural elements of those sites that stand out to them. Tom Locke of Noughts & Ones asks new clients questions that point to certain template families. For example:

  • Do you want parallax scrolling?

  • Do you like full-bleed banner images or do you prefer more white space and padding around images?

 

Asset check

Content can make or break a site. If a client has little to no high-quality imagery, opt for a template with plenty of white space, rather than full-bleed imagery. No images? No problem. Check out this guide to building a site without images.

 

Look past demo content

Template demo images are great for general inspiration, and help demonstrate how the end result of a template could look. It also helps the average customer pick a template that could work for their specific industry or business. But more experienced Squarespace customers like Circle members understand that it's not the only thing that matters in a template. Look past the content, and focus on how the template functions. Are the galleries carousels or slideshows? Is there a secondary navigation? Do pages have banners? This is where our template comparison guide can come in handy.

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Site goal

The purpose of the site should drive its must-have features, which helps narrow down the suitable templates. Site goals typically fall into three categories:

  • Information: Provide information to visitors, like business hours, who you are, or an overview of a project

  • Images: Display imagery for creative professional or visually focused businesses like restaurants and weddings

  • eCommerce: Sell products, services, or media

 

Pick our newest template family

When in doubt, pick a template from the Brine family. Brine is our newest and most customizable template family with dozens of variants, each configured as a starting point for different types of sites. By presenting only Brine family templates to clients, you’ll become a technical expert in its functionality. Since Brine has our newest codebase, you’ll also benefit from the most support from Squarespace. While we fix bugs in all templates, bugs in newer and more popular templates like Brine are usually prioritized over others.

A nice tip: You can search "Brine Family" in the template store, and it'll display any template in the family. This is a neat shortcut for quickly finding the Brine template you’re looking for.

Want more?

Our Help Guides offer tons of advice on picking the right template for your project. 

Written by Erin Petree

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