We’ve all spent time staring at a blank screen, wondering where to start. It’s the design version of writer’s block. And, if you’re familiar with design concepts and tools, but not a full-time professional, then you know templates are a great solution.
“Being able to get something done quickly and efficiently is the biggest step,” says Gordon Lyon, principal product manager at Adobe. “We wanted to present a series of templates that would give designers a jump start to get over that initial hump.”
Even so, while using templates is good for inspiration and skipping the setup, to get the most out of templates you still need to know how to use the software features to customize the template for your own unique project. We collaborated with Brian Wood and Colin Smith, two phenomenal creative trainers, to design eight fully instructional templates that work the way you do.
Those instructional templates, now available on Adobe Stock, can help you get your project started and finished in a timely manner. Here’s how to use them in your next design project:
1. Learn step-by-step inside the program. Instructional templates are carefully designed by a team experienced in how to effectively teach others to use design software. We put just as much effort into creating the instructions as we did designing the template. Also, since the instructions are built right into the template and available from the command+n (or ctrl+n) shortcut for a new document in Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC, you don’t have to spend time starting and stopping a video tutorial in another window.
Says Jan Kabili, manager for learn content at Adobe, “The wonderful thing about this format is that you can do your learning and your creation all from inside the application. You don’t have to be jumping in and out. You’re getting real practical experience within the native environment itself.”
2. Create projects you’ll use. Eight instructional templates are currently available — four in Photoshop CC and another four in Illustrator CC. The templates cover a variety of projects most commonly needed in the workplace or for your personal interests — from social media graphics to promotional materials to invitations and presentations. Instructional templates are specifically meant to help you learn more about design and design tools, while creating something you need at the same time.
“These templates are a series of practical projects that we think will be useful; things you actually may use in the real world. At work, you may need to create graphics you can use in a presentation. Or at home, you might want a great-looking invitation. In the templates, we give you all the starting imagery that you need and then provide step-by-step instructions to make that project your own,” explains Jan.
3. Expand your skillset. Even if you already have a comfort level with certain design tools, instructional templates can help you learn new features and skills. Experienced designers, for example, can benefit from expanding their product know-how as they select a variety of elements to customize in different projects and follow suggestions to become familiar with additional features. One very useful feature is the ability to save to CC Libraries the fonts, colors, images, and other assets used in your design so they are all easily accessible for future projects you may create with any of the Creative Cloud apps.
Gordon explains, “In the process of using instructional templates for projects that are useful to you, we believe you’ll become more comfortable with the skills you need to work with the larger template collection — which includes a few thousand options.”
We know you wear a variety of hats and more often than not you need high-quality materials quickly. The flexibility built into instructional templates is key for designers of any skill level, but especially important when your primary expertise is not design. We want to make sure that when you’re done with your project, you’ll have a new product, new skills, and loads of new confidence.
“Our main goal is to help users feel excited to use the application and feel like ‘Hey, I can do this,’” shares Jan.
Instructional templates are currently accessible to anyone with Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC — right from the start screen or when opening a new document with the keyboard shortcut command+n (or ctrl+n). We’d love to get your feedback — just start a new discussion on the Adobe Stock forum — on how the templates work for you, how you use them, and where you might have difficulty.