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Squarespace templates

According to Squarespace, their templates are “award-winning”. But that could mean anything, really. It could even just be marketing mumbo-jumbo.

So I decided to investigate.

A few Google searches later, I found the truth: Squarespace has actually been shortlisted and won a few Webby awards, including one for the best visual design.

But you know what? Everyone seems to agree anyway. As our full review of the website builder notes: “hardly any other company understands how to stage its product with such perfection. Everything looks cool, fresh and impeccable”.

And the templates are no exception.

But will you find your happiness with their selection? Let’s go through a round of questions / answers to find out.

How Many Squarespace Templates Are There?

One of the first things I’m after when rating templates is a good selection. But as someone who has wasted hours of my life going through hundreds of WordPress templates, I can also tell you that too much choice can be a pain.

squarespace templates popular templates

So the first great news here is that Squarespace seems to hit the right spot. There is a total of 110 ish templates, available in the following 14 categories:

  • Online Stores
  • Portfolios
  • Business
  • Professional Services
  • Community & Non-Profits
  • Blogs
  • Restaurants
  • Events
  • Weddings
  • Photography
  • Music & Entertainment
  • Health & Fitness
  • Travel & Tourism
  • Personal & CV

It’s a manageable number. But if you do the math, that’s not many templates per category. It’s because each template is flexible enough to be modified for multiple purposes. For instance, the Sofia template appears in the Professional Services, Personal & CV, and Portfolio categories.

Another thing to note: the Squarespace catalogue of templates and families is always evolving. For instance, 8 new ones appeared in 2018. They also sometimes discontinue old templates, but don’t worry too much because you can still use them and support will remain available.

Is There a Difference Between Templates and Squarespace Themes?

No.

They’re the same thing but with a different name. Squarespace themselves call them templates, not themes. But… there’s also the template families.

Wait, What Are Squarespace Template Families?

Good question. The first thing to understand here is that all Squarespace templates share the same basic features, allowing you to add:

  • Layout pages (with text and multimedia)
  • Collection pages (for blog posts, events, or product pages)
  • Cover pages
  • Display and sell products
  • Change font and colors

But then, Squarespace templates are also based on families. Each family shares the same underlying structure, special features, and unique site style options.

squarespace template adversary

The Adversary template, used for a band website

So for instance, the templates Adversary, Alex and Ginger are all based on the Marquee family. Some unique features of that family are:

  • Site header can be fixed at the top while scrolling
  • Logo size can’t be changed
  • Sidebar isn’t supported
  • Parallax scrolling works on banners

Which leads us to the next important point: how to choose the right Squarespace template:

How Should I Choose a Squarespace Template?

Because each family has specific features, you should really think about how you want your site to behave. Do you want to list your blog posts in a grid? Do you need a content sidebar? How about navigation links in the footer?

I know it sounds a bit overwhelming, but luckily Squarespace has a handy template comparison chart here.

Of course, you could also simply browse the template catalogue and see which one takes your fancy. There’s even a search bar at the top that asks what the goal of your website is.

squarespace template searchbar

I personally think it’s a weird question to ask when filtering keywords would work just as well. But hey – maybe their AI is smarter than I am.

Some Examples of Squarespace Templates and Families

Okay, as Squarespace themselves say: a good place to start is the Brine template family. It’s the most popular and flexible one, used to build over 40 templates. It has an Advanced Products Page, parallax scrolling, and a stacked Index Page.

squarespace template brine

Here is the original Brine template in action, which is the base for an online store that sells pickles. Now I don’t know about the business potential, but the design looks great.

But here’s the magic of template families: here is Brine completely transformed into a Restaurant website called Basil. Below is the menu page, which uses a “collection page” to add items.

squarespace template basil

And here it is again, transformed into a template called Hatch, which would work great for a personal website or freelancer portfolio.

squarespace template hatch

Here are more examples I really like:

Great Squarespace Blog Template – Tudor

squarespace templates blog tudor

I mean, just look at that. Tudor is a magazine style, clean, 3 column layout (which can be adapted), nice modern typography, minimal social media icons. It makes me want to start a blog just to play with this template.

Great Squarespace Template for a Portfolio – York

squarespace templates portfolio york

York is used here for a designer, but anyone who creates with visual media can make their work shine. The pictures take center stage, and you get more info when you hover over them, perfect for a quick project descriptions or case studies.

Best Squarespace Template for Photographers – Ishimoto

squarespace templates phptorgapher ishimoto

I really like how this Ishimoto theme lets you highlight one big picture and allows users to quickly navigate a gallery thanks to the carousel. It’s minimalist, effective, and beautiful.

How Much Customization Do I Get?

As you’ve seen with the Brine family, you can completely transform your template by moving elements and using the standard customization options. This is all done through the Site Styles.

squarespace templates site styles

Site Styles example with the Brine template

Site Styles will let you modify things like:

  • Typography: (font family, color and size)
  • Sizes and values (for padding, spacing, etc)
  • Images aspect ratio
  • Background image
  • Showing and hiding elements
  • And more…

After making the changes, you can decide undo or save them. If saved, they will appear live on your site.

But if you want even more customization options, you’re in luck because Squarespace also offers:

  • Blank templates: choose a blank template instead of using a demo with its content, this could give you more creative control.
  • Custom code: Yes, you can add HTML or CSS to your site. But you’ll need the Business plan to do so, and support won’t help you if something goes wrong (until you remove the custom code).
  • Premium features: depending on your Squarespace plan, you can add premium features such as the aforementioned code blocks, JavaScript injection, and more.

A final thing to note: when you sign up for a free Squarespace trial, all the Premium features are automatically enabled. However, you will lose them if your plan doesn’t support them later.

Can I Change My Template Later?

Yes! And this is a big plus compared to other website builders like Wix, which do not offer that feature. You might have to tweak your content to make it work, but it’s perfectly possible to give your site a complete revamp by switching templates later.

Also, you can completely reset your current template if needed.

Are Squarespace Templates Mobile-Friendly?

By default, yes. All Squarespace templates are designed to be responsive, so the elements will rearrange themselves to look good on screens of any size.

However, you might need to tweak a few elements to make the site play nice. For instance, see how the title on this Mojave theme is too big for a small screen?

squarespace templates mojave mobile

The title might need to be shortened or resized manually for mobiles

Also, you can make your site even mobile-friendlier by following a few tips and tricks.

How Much Do Squarespace Templates Cost?

That’s an easy one: they’re all free.

But you can also purchase tailor-made templates directly from designers. These tend to hover around the $100-300 mark.

Can I Find Squarespace Templates Elsewhere?

Yes, as noted above. Just search for “Premium Squarespace templates” and you’ll come across a few developers who specialize in selling custom Squarespace designs.

And yes, it’s perfectly legit, as long as your developer uses the Squarespace Developer Platform. But you can also buy template kits on some websites that come with step by step setup instructions (you basically use their artwork and build the design in Squarespace yourself). This seems like a complex roundabout way, but could be useful if you want to independently change your site later.

Important thing to note: if you simply copy and paste the code yourself, it will fall outside of the scope of Squarespace support.

As to other pros and cons of a Premium Squarespace template? I’d say the main advantage is that your site will stand out from the crowd. Even with all the customization options, you’re likely to find more and more sites that look a lot like yours.

But it can also be expensive, especially if you need to purchase changes later on. Sure, there will be a flat fee for the template, but you’ll be tied to the developer’s code, and they might not offer unlimited support.

Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Squarespace Templates

There is a lot to like about Squarespace templates. The website design is impeccable, as expected, but the customization and range also appear to give just the right amount of choice without being overwhelming.

Pros of Squarespace Templates

  • Stylish, and aesthetically pleasing
  • Decent selection
  • Good flexibility and customization options
  • You can add custom code
  • The templates can be changed without losing content

However, I can understand how some people would want more customization options or choices. In that case, I would probably recommend you look at Wix (flexible enough to place everything manually from the editor) or Weebly (which lets you tweak the code to your heart’s content).

Cons of Squarespace Templates

  • Need to research template families for specific features
  • Customization might require premium features
  • They rely on big, beautiful images. If your content isn’t as high quality, the templates quickly look less attractive
  • Templates are customizable, but still based on rigid grids. You don’t get full control over elements like with other, more flexible builders.

And that about covers it. Anything else you’d like to know about Squarespace templates? Let me know in the comments below.

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