If you’re an artist looking to display your work online, Squarespace is a solid option. It’s a versatile service well suited to artists, and so you’ve purchased your domain and are looking to get started.
However, there are a lot of template options available when you sign up to Squarespace, so how do you pick the best one? In this article we uncover the best Squarespace templates to display your artwork.
How to Narrow Your Search
The first thing you need to know is that Squarespace is there to make your life easier.
We’ve talked about the differences between Squarespace vs. WordPress, and from a personal perspective I fall into the category of “Squarespace fan”. But if you’re still new to the platform and you’re staring down at that full list of designs, the idea of customizing your portfolio can seem daunting.
To narrow your search, log into your account, click on the icon for your website, then click Design > Template > Install New Template. This will take you to Squarespace’s main template page, where you can click on the Art & Design category. By doing this, you’ll be whittling down your template options to a manageable handful.
1. The Ishimoto Template
Ishimoto is a great template for an art website, and it’s one that I used when I first set up my portfolio.
Sleek, full-screen, and optimized for landscape format, Ishimoto is perfect for anyone who has photographs or illustrations they want to display side-by-side that have a similar theme to one another.
A minor downside to this design is that it doesn’t work as well if you have very different image “styles”, as the difference between them can be distracting. Its website navigation is also not as accessible as some of the other designs on this list.
Right now we’re using the preview mode for viewing templates, so the screenshots you see are of the demo templates that Squarespace has put together. But Squarespace also lets you preview what these demos will look like on different types of devices.
To do this, click on the device icons in the top left-hand corner of your preview screen. It will show you how each template changes, depending on if it’s viewed with a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
2. The Wexley Template
Another great template for displaying your artwork is Wexley. It’s the one I’m currently using for my own website, as you can see by this screenshot of my art.
Wexley is a template that works best for illustrators. The grid is flexible, meaning that it will adjust how many images are on each line depending on their width. The white borders also help each illustration stand out from one another, which is good if you need to display very different images side-by-side.
3. The Flatiron Template
Flatiron is an all-purpose template that is equally well-suited for illustrators, designers, and photographers. It makes full use of the space available, and like Wexley it allows you to display your images in a grid.
The big difference between Wexley and Flatiron is that there are no borders between the grid items. Both styles work well, however, and at the end of the day this difference comes down to what you prefer on an aesthetic level.
4. The Lange Template
Lange is a great template for artists who need to display pictures of their physical art installations.
It’s also good for photographers, as it features a linear design where text pops up over each image as you scroll downwards. This keeps extraneous details to a minimum unless they are needed. It also lets the viewer know what they should be focusing on at a given point in time.
5. The Greenwich Template
Interior decorating is an aspect of design we haven’t really touched on, but artwork can play into it if you’re designing something in a physical space—a mural would be a good example of this.
Greenwich is Squarespace’s best answer to this issue, with a continuously scrolling, interactive design that allows you to make the most of your website by modelling it after the “virtual walkthrough” in a house tour.
6. The Wells Template
The last template we’re going to cover is one of the most basic that is offered by Squarespace, but it’s incredibly effective if you’re displaying portrait-oriented artwork.
The Wells template features a grid design when you first log into the site, allowing visitors to look at your full catalog of images at a glance. Visitors can also check out your contact links along the left-hand side, and the placement of these links makes sure that the eye will naturally drift towards them.
However, if your visitors want to zoom in on a particular image and they click on it, they are brought to the portrait view.
This new format allows viewers to focus on an image in its entirety. The handy Prev/Next controls in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen also allow them to flip through each picture without returning to the main grid.
Get Started on Your Website
As previously mentioned, this is just a small sample of the templates currently available on Squarespace. But by going to Design > Template > Install New Template you can search for a host of other designs.
If you already have an account with Squarespace you can easily get started on customizing your portfolio. You can also upgrade the one you currently have to find a design that betters suit your needs.
Your website isn’t the only thing you’ll need to worry about when you’re setting up your online art business, however. So if you’re wondering what else you’ll need to do, we have a list of the essential tools for illustrators.