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Kessler Associates blog: Designers don't build effective templates

Over the winter a couple of projects came in with a request for additional work to be carried out on the supplied files - one involved a PowerPoint template and the other Word templates, both of which had been built in-house by design agencies. It turned out that the PowerPoint template wasn't even a template, it was a presentation document.

The designers involved in building them (who shall remain nameless) knew so little of the subject of template construction that they thought a document with the right layout design could be a template, or that the half-a-job they'd done on building a template was enough.

Instead, their documents were badly set-up, containing several serious errors.

Kessler Associates PowerPoint templates image
A large number of sample slide designs can be set up to cover all eventualities when it comes to creating PowerPoint presentations, and if you're the designer of those slide designs then feel free to work your magic on their appearance, but please allow us to create them for you in PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, images were overlapping the edge of slides and hadn't been compressed or cropped in any way, making for an absolutely massive file size (we're talking about several minutes required to send it out via email). The language settings hopped between US and UK English, making future spell checks a nightmare. Nowhere near full use had been made of PowerPoint's master slides.

In Word, the template was nowhere near user-friendly or robust enough to survive the process of creating new documents. Images hadn't been set in place properly, inappropriate text boxes had been placed on the page, no use had been made of the 'Styles' ribbon, and the headers and footers needed resetting, among other things.

Both files needed serious rebuilding into fully functioning templates with a trimmed-down file size and images which actually worked. It was done, but probably not as quickly as building a brand new template. In the end, both agencies were sent 'proper' template documents which not only worked as they were supposed to, but were user-friendly and easy to understand.

Kessler Associates template requirements image
Any finished templates will match your design layouts as accurately as possible, and potential problem areas can be flagged at the design finalisation stage if designers get in touch early enough


The moral of the story is that designers should feel free to design absolutely wonderful Word and PowerPoint templates, but the construction work really should be left to the experts. With almost a quarter of a century of experience with MS Office in its various incarnations, Kessler Associates has tamed the beast and knows exactly what to do to achieve your designs quickly, efficiently, and even cost-effectively.

Template designers should design, but please let the template builders build.


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