I hate templates. I love templates. There you have it. Shit ain’t always binary.
I built my business around four key tools. The 24 Questions. A Fact Finding questionnaire for brand discovery. A brand/creative brief taken with me from McCann-Erickson, NY. And a marketing communications plan bequeathed me by Mark Pritchard (not the P&G one) who himself took it from Ammirati and Puris. All are fill-in-the-blank templates.
That said, it’s what goes on between the ears, using these templates, that makes the money — but a man has to start somewhere.
I tried to build another business (Zude.com) doing the opposite: allowing online users to build websites without templates. My heart was in the right place but it didn’t work. Facebook used databases and a template in the background to kick our ass. You have to pick the right battles.
Templates are what humans want. It’s how they organize and get started. Even a musician creating music must have a template in his/her head. A template of something.
If you ask me, templates are diminishing creativity. And as our heads and machines are getting more and more filled with data, we must resort to templates for order. Resist. Invent. Resist. Invent. This is how we get to better work. This is how we get to more artful work.