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Understanding Squarespace templates

All Squarespace sites start with a template. Built by our award-winning Design Team, Squarespace templates set a site’s style and functionality. When adding pages and arranging layouts, you’ll layer your content onto the template's structure.

You can customize any template’s style to make it your own and showcase your site’s content. However, templates are like your body’s DNA—there’s a lot you can change about your site's appearance and functionality, but there are style parameters and special features built into each template that can’t be changed. These parameters are carefully chosen by our Design Team to help you create a beautiful, professional-looking site without hiring a designer.

Each template is uniquely coded and designed exclusively for the Squarespace platform. All templates are available on any plan.

This guide gives an overview of how Squarespace templates work and how they’re developed.

Template differences and similarities

Each template has a cohesive creative vision and its own style options, default settings, and demo content.

You can’t mix and match features from different templates, but many common features are available across all templates. For example, on any template you could create an About page, give it text and headings, and style the colors and fonts.

Similarities

On any template, you can:

  • Add Regular Pages to create custom layouts of text, images, and more.
  • Add galleries, blog posts, products, events, and music with specially designed collection pages.
  • Create bold, unique Cover Pages.
  • Display and sell products. (Commerce features vary by billing plan.)
  • Update your site's fonts and colors.
  • Access our built-in content management tools, such as blocks, analytics options, and site settings.

Differences

These features may vary significantly between templates:

Tip: Visit our template comparison charts for an overview of key options.

Template families

A "family" is a group of templates that all have the same underlying structure, style options, and special features. For example, the Bedford family has four templates: Anya, Bryant, Bedford, and Hayden.

We release templates this way to showcase their versatility and to help you find the layout and pre-set style options that work best as a starting point for your site. There are currently nine families that have multiple templates.

Exploring templates within the same family can help you understand what style options are available. For example, Brine and Thorne are in the same family, but are styled very differently:

Customizing templates

After picking a template that fits your site’s needs, you can customize it to help bring your content to life.

How much you can customize your site’s style depends on the template. Some templates like Brine are highly customizable, giving you a lot of control over every detail. Other templates like Forte have more streamlined options that help you set up your site with minimal fuss.

To learn about the specific style options for your template, visit our template guides.

Tip: If you have coding knowledge, there are more advanced ways to customize your template.

Template development

Our developers and designers collaborate to create templates that are beautiful from both an aesthetic and technical standpoint. The primary web languages that our developers use to build templates are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JsonT, and JSON.

  • HTML creates the structural elements of a template, such as where content displays on a page.
  • CSS determines the style options for a template, like colors and fonts. We use the LESS CSS preprocessor to streamline our process and help ensure continuity throughout the template.
  • JavaScript creates the core functionality of a template, such as galleries, image loaders, and other interactive features.
  • JsonT is the template language that specifies how data from our servers, like images and text, turns into the HTML that determines what's displayed on the page.
  • JSON is a data format that expresses the images and text you've added to your site in our editing interface. It's the link between the online editor and your template's JsonT code. You can think of it as the raw clay that is shaped by the JsonT. To see your site’s JSON, add ?format=json-pretty to the end of the URL while on any page of your site.

New templates and features

After a new template has been tested and finalized, we add it to our available templates.

As browser and user needs evolve, we update our templates and the Squarespace platform to keep up with new trends, and to ensure all Squarespace sites run at peak efficiency.

As a Squarespace user, you receive these improvements automatically. Often the changes are small, like updating the name of a tweak in Site Styles to make it more intuitive. Sometimes they’re new options, like being able to remove the space between images in the Avenue Index Page.

Note: Developers who’ve enabled the Squarespace Developer Platform won’t receive template-specific updates.

Discontinued templates

To focus on improving the templates that benefit customers the most, we occasionally retire some templates. A discontinued template is no longer available for installation.

If a template is discontinued, it no longer receives new design features (unless it's part of an active family, like Bryler, Lincoln, and Taylor). It may receive our latest features and functionality, as well as fixes for any critical issue that may arise. However, this is not guaranteed for every template we've retired. 

If your template is discontinued:

  • Your site will stay online, and you can continue to use and edit the template as you've always been able to.
  • You can switch to a different template, and switch back to the discontinued template as long as you don't uninstall it.

For a list of all discontinued templates, visit Discontinued features.

Templates and languages

In any template, you can change your account language. This changes the settings that help you navigate Squarespace and edit your site.

In the Brine family, you can change your site language. This changes the built-in text visitors see, like dates, form field labels, and navigation controls.

We have separate template stores for each supported language, so you can start a trial and pick a demo site in your language. These template stores contain a selection of templates from the Brine family. 

Tip: For any template, we have tips for writing in your language.

More help

To learn more about templates, visit these guides:

FAQ

Can I combine features from different templates?

Each Squarespace template has its own specialized code, which means you can’t mix and match features from different templates. For example, you can’t add an Index Page from one template and then use a different template’s Gallery Page.

You can achieve different layouts within your template by adding a Regular Page and customizing it with blocks, or using the unique layouts of Cover Pages. Here are some examples:

  • If you don’t like your template’s Gallery Page, you can use one of our Gallery Blocks instead.
  • Summary Blocks pull content from different collection pages and display them on Regular Pages. For example, you could use a Summary Block to imitate a thumbnail Index Page.
  • If you like the look of Aviator or Aubrey Info Pages, you can create an Info Page-like design on any template by adding a Cover Page with the Card layout.

If you want a feature that your current template doesn’t have, contact us. Our Advisors may be able to help you create the effect within your template or suggest a template that fits your needs.

Why can't I control how my content looks on a per-page basis?

We design each template with a cohesive aesthetic. This creates elegant, modern-looking sites, and helps you build a consistent brand.

You can customize some templates per-page; for example, in Supply you can set a different background color for Products Pages and Index Pages. In general, however, the style rules for site elements like colors, fonts, and header sizes will be consistent across your site.

Why don’t I have total control over every style attribute on my site?

Every Squarespace template has been crafted by our Design Team. Our designers develop style rules for each template that help you create a beautiful website without starting from scratch or needing advanced design skills. They also employ the latest coding techniques to ensure that your site is compatible with modern browsers and mobile devices. 

To help your site stay consistent, and to prevent conflict between different elements (for example, a site title that’s bigger than the header), templates have pre-determined style tweaks with set parameters. Advanced users can further modify their site’s code with Code Injection, Code Blocks, CSS Editing, or the Squarespace Developer Platform.

Why can't developers design and sell their own templates? 

Our templates are one of the things that make Squarespace special. We take great pride in creating templates that meet our standards of excellence and are optimized for the Squarespace platform. Therefore, we don’t make our templates available for other platforms, and it's not possible for third-party designers to sell templates for use on a Squarespace site.

We do, however, have a service that connects you with Squarespace Experts. Experts are familiar with our platform and might be able to help you if you need customized coding, design, or development assistance beyond our Customer Care support.

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Understanding Squarespace templates