Templates and unleashing creativity.

I saw an interesting post that captured beautiful work by skilled digital artists. They were given the same base template of having a window with passing by details outside and were asked to create something unique in it. The results are amazing.

This reminded me of a conversation I have with my wife often about creating blog templates for her business. Whenever I discuss this, I’m met with harsh pushback. “It will kill creativity.” or “It won’t be unique enough.” However, that’s dismissing the value of templates and mischaracterizing what I consider to be a template. A template is only a structure. It allows people to know the components that need to be present without constraining them on the details. Something that constrained the structure and the details would just be called a “copy”.

So, what is the value of a template? It allows for the focus to be on the details rather than on the “structure”. This unleashes creativity just as can be seen in the animations below. It also helps to make sure that the key components that are critical to producing results are included and can be easily checked for.

Good templates don’t limit creativity, they unleash it. How do you know you no longer have a template? When there are no longer infinite possibilities, at that point you are over-constraining things.