Templates and Libraries - Your key to saving time
Benefits to Templates
Creates Consistency - Needless to say, having a template that you use every time you create a specific document will create unity among your materials. So set up templates for your letterhead, quotes, invoices, proposals, anything you are creating on a regular basis. That way your client will know the same company that quoted them is billing them!
Saves Time - It will take time up front to create new templates (but much less time if you have your style guide ready), but TRUST ME, you will be so pleased with your self with you go to quote someone and you just open up your template and start typing. No thinking about the design, just putting in the relevant information.
Builds Trust - I don't know about you, but if I received a bill from Macy's and it looked like someone opened up Microsoft Word and started typing, I'm probably not paying the bill or at least I am calling them to make sure they are the company that is actually billing me. Even though you may not be a big company, building trust with your clients can start now. Make sure they know ALL of your materials are from you!
Helps You Stand Out - Creating consistent graphics for your blog posts will make them stand out on social media. Melyssa Griffin does this so well. Anytime I am scrolling through Pinterest, I instantly know the pins from her website. People become familiar with your look and if you are producing great content or products, once they know it is your post they are more likely to click. Believe me, I scroll through Pinterest FAST! So the fact that Melyssa's pins get me to pause is a real win for her.
How to create a template in Illustrator
FYI- Creating a template in Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop is pretty much that same in them all, so this should help in those programs as well.
Open a new document whatever size you'd like. In this document, we will be creating a variety of artboards for each social media post. So I would go somewhere like here and decide which posts you will be creating most and create those sizes.
Create more artboards. Click the button that the left arrow is pointing to in the image below. That will allow you to draw a new artboard. You can adjust the exact size by changing the pixel numbers in the boxes at the top, where the top arrow is pointing.
Create as many artboards as you'd like. If you post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, make an artboard for everyone! If you would like to make one and use it for all your social media accounts, that works too. Just make sure you know where each platform will be cropping your image so you can ensure nothing important gets cut off!
Create your template! Start designing what you would like your graphics to look like. The sky is the limit!
Now that you have your basic design done, it is time to save your template. Go to File > Save as Template. Navigate to where you would like to store your template, and WA-LA you have yourself a template.
Open your template. As you will see when you open it, it will be a new, Untitled document. Now you don't have to worry about editing the original file and losing it. You will be starting with a fresh document each time and all your artboards and designs will be sitting there waiting for you!
Last but certainly not least, if you are using Adobe Creative Cloud, you should create libraries. These are my new bff. I think they are so incredibly handy. As someone who works remotely, as well as in an office, I use four different computers on a REGULAR basis. Using the CC Library has saved me so much time and frustration.
As you can see in the image above, there is a little drop down menu where you can select the library you would like to show up. Once that library is open, your colors, graphics, and fonts are all there waiting for you! You don't even have to navigate to find your logo anymore. You just drag it from the library to your artboard and there it is!
To get things into your library, you can click on the object and the boxes will populate with the current properties of that object. If you'd like to save the color, click the box with the color and it will create a square in your library for that color. If you'd like to save the font, click the "A" button and it will save it for you.
If you'd like to add a graphic, such as your logo, you just drag and drop it into the library. And there is stays!
This syncs with your creative cloud account, so you can sign into your account on any computer and your library will be waiting for you. You can access your libraries in all the Adobe programs as well. These save me so much time and ensure I am always using the correct colors and fonts. Check them out and start creating some libraries!