Digital Planner Templates: Pros and Cons

A common struggle for digital product creators is the struggle to decide it all items should be created from scratch, or if using the vast offering of templates is the way to go. I personally feel like this depends on the creator. If you are a wiz with your platform of choice, it might take you less time to create from scratch then it would to alter and edit a template.

On the other hand, if you tend to get frustrated with the digital planner creation process, and would rather skip the details and just get started with design, then a template could be the way to go. It's the ultimate choose your own adventure – and I'm here to help you choose! Oh – and don't forget – if you choose one path and feel like you should have gone with the other – you can just switch. No biggie. No stress.

Digital Planner Templates Pros and Cons

**Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you**

Pros: The Benefits of Digital Planner Templates

Digital planner templates come with a host of advantages that can streamline your design process and give you a head start. Here are some of the top benefits:

Cover page of a digital weekly planner with a minimalistic black and white design featuring the title 'WEEKLY Planner' in bold uppercase letters, followed by the subtext 'Linked and Ready to Go!' emphasizing its interactive and user-friendly nature

Time-Saving

Templates offer a ready-made foundation for your digital planner, cutting down on design time and allowing you to focus on customizing and refining your creation. Typically, digital planner templates will have some of the hyperlinking done for you, which definitely saves you some time in the creation process.

Planner page templates are easy to access and can be used throughout different projects. After downloading the template, you upload it to Canva or the platform you use to create digital planners and drop it in as needed.

I like these templates on Etsy, as well as this digital toolbox, to get started! We also have lots of templates with commercial use rights inside of The MDP Advantage-PLUS Membership.

Consistency

Using a template can help you maintain a consistent look and feel throughout your digital planner. This not only makes your planner more visually appealing but also enhances the user experience for your customers.

Inspiration

Starting with a template can provide a creative spark and serve as a jumping-off point for your design. It can help you visualize the layout and structure of your planner and inspire you to experiment with different design elements.

Since you don't want to sell the same planner all the time, you can use the templates to give you an idea of what you want to create for your end user. Simply use the shapes and elements in Canva to create your own page once you know what you really want!

Learning Opportunity

If you're new to digital planner design, using templates can be an excellent way to get you through the process of creating your first digital planners to sell. Templates take the scary out of those first creation steps!

If you need help creating a digital planner, check out our Creating a Two-Page Digital Planner in Canva course. It has click-by-click instructions for creating new digital planners, including hyperlinking and all that!

Cons: The Drawbacks of Digital Planner Templates

While digital planner templates come with numerous benefits, there are some potential downsides to consider. Don't let that deter you from using templates in your creation process, but always keep them in mind.

Limited Customization

Digital planner templates might not offer the level of customization you desire. If you have a specific vision for your digital planner, you may find that templates are too restrictive and don't allow you to express your creativity fully. Which, in turn, can cause more work for you to turn someone else's creation into your perfect planner.

When it comes to a fully hyperlinked planner, you need to understand that if you delete or add pages, you will need to re-link or add any hyperlinks you need. While that is not the end of the world, it can get confusing if you aren't familiar with the process.

Risk of Similarity

Since planner page templates are widely available, there's a chance your digital planner could end up looking similar to others on the market. This could make it more challenging to stand out and showcase your unique style. As I said previously, you should use templates at the beginning of your creation process but then switch over to creating your own unique planner pages.

When it comes to digital planners, you are really selling the ease of navigation for your end users. If you want to stand out, you'll want to start creating your own planner pages eventually!

Licensing and Usage Restrictions

Some digital planner templates come with licensing and usage restrictions, which might limit your ability to customize, sell, or distribute your planner. Be sure to carefully review the terms and conditions of any template you use. Typically anything you download from Creative Fabrica can be used for commercial use.

It has always been a little hazy to know what you can and can not do with the templates available from Canva. However, they recently released a guide and it cleared up a TON of confusion. Basically, you can use their templates commercially as long as you change something.

Potential for Lower Perceived Value

Using a template might lead to a lower perceived value of your digital planner, as customers may view it as less original or less tailored to their needs. If they are seeing the same pages over and over again from different sellers, they will likely go with the cheapest option.

But, when it comes to digital planners, you are selling the ease of navigation as well. So, like I've said, use templates to get going, but also ask your people what they need! Whether you connect with your audience through a social media page, a blog, or an email list – make sure to ask them how you can help them and what they need in a digital planner.

Striking the Right Balance

Now that you've weighed the pros and cons, you might wonder how to strike the right balance between using digital planner templates and creating your designs from scratch. Here are a few suggestions:

A balanced golden scale of justice on a neutral background, symbolizing judicial fairness and the equal administration of the law

Customize Wisely

When using templates, make sure to add your personal touch to create a unique and memorable digital planner. Experiment with different color schemes, fonts, and design elements to put your creative stamp on your work.

You never want to purchase a template and then add it to your store as is. Make it as unique as possible before listing them. And if you purchase completed digital planner templates, make sure to read the instructions for what you need to do if you want to make changes.

Mix and Match

Consider using templates as a starting point and then mixing and matching elements from various sources to create a more distinctive design. This can help you achieve a balance between efficiency and originality. It is totally fine to combine templates as needed.

Learn and Grow

As you gain experience and confidence in your digital planner design skills, challenge yourself to create more elements from scratch and rely less on templates. This will allow you to hone your craft and develop a distinct style that sets you apart from the competition.

Once you know what your customers need in their digital planners, you can create truly unique and beneficial planners for them! It's all just learning, trying, and doing!

The Bottom Line

Digital planner templates can be a valuable tool for both beginners and experienced designers, offering time-saving benefits and a source of inspiration. However, it's essential to be mindful of the potential drawbacks and find a balance that works for you and your creative process.

By customizing templates wisely, mixing and matching elements, and continuously learning and growing, you can harness the power of templates while still creating unique and captivating digital planners that truly resonate with your audience.

So, should you use digital planner templates? Ultimately, the choice is yours. Consider your design goals, your target audience, and your creative vision. If templates align with these factors and offer the benefits you're looking for, go ahead and give them a try! Just remember to stay true to your unique style and always push the boundaries of your creativity.

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