Custom Design VS Template Design



There are many websites these days that offer ways for consumers and small business owners to take graphic design into their own hands, by way of pre-designed templates, “logo creators” and by offering design elements that can be arranged into a new creation. There are pros and cons to using pre-designed templates and hiring a designer to create a custom product for your business.

As a professional graphic designer, of course I have a bias towards hiring the right designer to get the job done. I believe that the sale of templates creates an unsavory market which undercuts professional graphic designers who need and deserve to be paid a fair wage for their skills and expertise. Take a look at these bullet points I’ve collected which analyze the pros and cons of both.

Custom Design


  • The designer will work with you to create exactly what you are looking for – Your finished product will fit your brand’s needs and solve a problem in your business.
  • Expertise in branding and in technical skill – Designers will lend their professional advice and help guide you to what will work for your audience, even if it goes against what you originally had in mind. Designers have seen a lot of great design, and a lot of bad design, and they will recommend what will work best for your brand.
  • You receive a customized design that nobody else has. Your final design will be made with care and love.


  • Usually you will have to work with your designers schedule, which can change from week to week, or perhaps they are booked out for a few weeks.
  • A professional graphic designer will charge an appropriate amount for their services, based off of their own skill level and the complexity of the design. They might only charge an hourly rate, while some designers charge by project.
  • On occasion, clients and designers may have trouble communicating or getting their ideas across. When there are too many expectations on the client’s end, it can be difficult for the designer to create exactly what they are envisioning.

Template Design


  • Quick and easy, you can usually download the template and add your information in yourself right then and there.
  • You get exactly what you see on the screen before you purchase it.
  • Usually priced very low, meaning the designer has to sell A LOT of that product before they get to see any return.


  • Other people may be using a design that is virtually the same.
  • You are probably not creating a long lasting relationship with the person designing what you’ve purchased.
  • There is a possibility that the template you purchase may not end up looking as promised, if you’re not completely familiar with putting the final work together.

Instead, create a bond with your local graphic designer, and they will get to know our business and create consistent graphics for your brand. A dedicated designer wants to do the job, do it well, and wants you coming back to re-hire them in the future! While it may seem easy to jump online and grab yourself a logo template, it can be detrimental in the long run. These templates and quick one off jobs are available to countless other people on the internet, literally anyone with internet access and a credit card.

There is a place in the world for template designs, especially for things projects that only need the design once. Personal invitations & stationary, creating collages for your home, and fliers are great uses for template design. Things that stick with your brand, like logos, infographics, and website graphics are best left to a graphic designer you trust.


Artists Making Art :: Artists Making Connections

Artists Making Art

Art. Tea. Good vibes. What do these things have in common? You can find all of them at Sencha Tea Bar every Wednesday night!

Last week I attended Artists Making Art, an event run by my friend Theo. Every Wednesday Theo invites the public to gather at Sencha Tea Bar and create some art together! You can contribute to a collaborative piece, or you can bring your own art to work on. Paints, brushes and a canvas are provided, but I chose to bring along some of my paint markers an one of my favorite art supplies: GLITTER!

Artists Making Art Jan

While Julie,  Theo and I worked on a painting together, Onah worked on some anatomy sketching. While we worked we  chatted all about life, our struggles, and our recent successes. It was a great environment to release some stress and get to know some other artists here in Madison. If you read my last post, you’ll know that a goal of mine in 2016 is to get to know Madison’s creative community better, and attend events where I can be creative and network. Artists Making Art was the perfect opportunity for this!

Becoming a part of Madison’s freelancing community has been so rewarding and wonderful, and I’m really excited to keep digging into the local creative scene. As a roamer, I settled in Madison just over two years ago, without any intention of staying for very long. In these past two years I have made plans to move, ditched plans to move, and daydreamed about tropical climates. But by some series of events, I am still here, and honestly I’m so happy to have realized how great of a city Madison is. Since committing myself to my freelance graphic design business, I have made so many amazing connections with other freelancers, small business owners and designers. I had no idea what kind of community I was jumping into!

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Much of the networking I have done in the recent months is thanks to 100 State. 100 State is a coworking community on the Square, where members can work, network, host workshops, and every once in a while there is a huge raging party! Since the first time I ever came to visit 100 State last September, I knew I wanted to be a part of the community and get involved. Since then, I have connected with the Freelancers Union Spark events, and help to run and promote the events. These events are hosted by 100 State on the first Wednesday of every month. They are a wonderful opportunity to learn some new things about freelancing and running a small business, and to network with Madison’s local freelancer community. Please consider coming to the next event!

I would love to hear about events here in Madison that focus around creativity like gallery openings, or that teach about themes in freelancing or small business ownership. I’m always on the look out for new things to do! I’d love to keep building my community, so please find me on my social media pages to stay up to date on events I will be attending!

Find me here:





How to Network When You Are Traveling

Network when Traveling-01

This month I was invited to take a trip out to New York with my good friend, and of course I jumped at the opportunity! I like to make traveling and experiencing new things a priority in my life; I love to explore new cities, meet the locals, and feel the vibes! Freelancing has really opened up my schedule to allow for more travel, which is one of my favorite freelancer perks! Because I have just started my venture into running my own business, I started looking for ways I can make my trip an important move for my design business. Here’s what I found worked out for me:

1. Utilize local connections to find opportunities to network.

I have been working with Madison’s local Freelancers Union reps to coordinate and promote the Freelancers Union Spark events. It’s been really fun to get to know Madison’s local freelancer scene, and because Spark events happen all over the country, I was excited to attend the October event in Manhattan. In addition to learning some new things on contract writing, legal issues and non-payment resolution, I also got to connect with the NYC Freelancers Union coordinators. They offered up some tips on getting more people to attend Madison’s events, and they were generous enough to send me home with some Freelancers Union t-shirts for my fellow Madison reps!

2. Find and visit businesses like yours that you can learn from.

I made a point to visit the Cotton Candy Machine, a shop in Brooklyn that’s run by one of my favorite artists, Tara McPherson. This has been a goal of mine for several years, because the Cotton Candy Machine is exactly the kind of small business that I believe in supporting. They run art shows frequently, featuring artists of various fields and selling their work and merchandise. The creative community that has been cultivated in Brooklyn was super inspiring! I was sad to learn that they will be closing at the end of the year, but I was glad to see it in person while I still could.

3. Make time for fun things that will inspire your business.

Exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a great way to remind myself of my creative background and my love for the creative process. Walking through those halls observing the intricate scarab carvings of ancient Egypt, the ornamental sculptures of south Asian deities, and the incredibly detailed American mosaic fountains cued up feelings of nostalgia. Nostalgia for the many art history courses I had taken during my studies, which were such a source of inspiration. The chance to view artifacts of such historical significance and gain perspective on the role of creativity in various cultures encourages me to work even harder to benefit others through my own creativity.

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Of course, there are many ways to get yourself out there and build your business while traveling. It’s also important to take a break from your business goals and take advantage of some away time! I look forward to learning and writing more on this subject, as there are so many places I am eager to travel to. Making travel a bigger part of my business is a dream of mine, and I would love to have more opportunities to grow my network.