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Understanding Squarespace templates

All Squarespace sites start with a template. Built by our award-winning Design Team, Squarespace templates determine a site’s style and functionality. When adding pages and arranging the layout of your site, 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 certain 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 Squarespace template is uniquely coded and built to be used exclusively with the Squarespace platform. All templates are available on any Website or Commerce plan. To explore our templates and see how real customer sites use them, visit squarespace.com/website and squarespace.com/commerce

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

Template differences and similarities

Each template expresses a cohesive creative vision and has 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.

Similarities

The following features can be used with any template:

  • Regular Pages - Regular Pages allow you to build a page from scratch on any template.
  • Collections - Although their appearance and features vary, all templates support collection pages. This means any template can have a blog, shop, calendar of events, and splash page, and can host images and music.
  • Core Commerce features - Commerce features vary by billing plan, but all templates can display and sell products.
  • Fonts and colors - All templates support the Squarespace font library and color options.
  • Content management features - With any template, you’ll have access to the Squarespace platform’s built-in tools, such as blocks, analytics options, and site management settings.

Differences

The following features may vary significantly between templates:

  • Style tweaks - Each template’s specific style tweaks allow for customization while retaining the aesthetic vision of a template.
  • Collection page options - Many templates have special features and styles built into their collection pages. For example, the Wells template has a unique feature that allows visitors to switch the Gallery Page between a slideshow and thumbnail images.
  • Index Pages - Only certain templates support Index Pages, and Index Page styles range from stacked banner images to thumbnail navigation grids.
  • Demo content - Demo content demonstrates the template’s strengths and features, and serves as an inspiration for you as you build your site.
  • Headers, footers, and sidebars - The template determines a site’s basic layout. For example, only select templates have per-page footers or headers or sidebars.
  • Banners and background images - You can add banner images or background images to many templates. Some templates support additional features like special banners and parallax scrolling.

Template families

Although they may look very different, templates within a family all have the same underlying structure and functionality. 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.

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 styled very differently:

Here's a list of each template family:

  • Adirondack
  • Avenue
  • Aviator, Aubrey, Encore
  • Bedford, Anya, Bryant, Hayden
  • Brine, Aria, Basil, Burke, Cacao, Clay, Ethan, Fairfield, Feed, Foster, Greenwich, Hatch, Heights, Hunter, Hyde, Jaunt, Juke, Keene, Lincoln, Maple, Margot, Marta, Mentor, Mercer, Miller, Mojave, Moksha, Motto, Nueva, Polaris, Rally, Rover, Sofia, Sonny, Sonora, Thorne, Wav, West
  • Farro, Haute
  • Five
  • Flatiron
  • Forte
  • Galapagos
  • Ishimoto
  • Marquee, Adversary, Alex, Eamon, Ginger, Mint, Shift (discontinued)
  • Momentum
  • Montauk, Julia, Kent, Om
  • Native
  • Pacific, Charlotte, Fulton, Horizon, Naomi
  • Skye, Foundry, Indigo, Ready, Tudor
  • Supply
  • Tremont, Camino, Carson, Henson
  • Wells
  • Wexley
  • York, Artesia, Flores, Harris, Jasper, Jones, Lange, Shibori

Customizing templates

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

  • On your Squarespace site, open the Template panel to see which template you’ve installed.
  • You can preview and switch templates at any time without losing your site’s content.
  • Make changes to your template’s style settings and structure using the style tweaks in the Style Editor.

How much you can customize your site’s style depends on the template. Some templates, such as Hyde, are highly customizable, giving you a lot of control over every detail. Other templates, such as 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.

Advanced customization

If you have coding experience, there are more ways to customize your template.

For advanced users, our Squarespace Developer Platform gives you full control over your template's HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Other than the methods listed above, there isn’t a way to directly modify your template’s code without enabling Developer Mode.

Note: Adding code to your site is an advanced modification that falls outside of the scope of Squarespace support. Learn more at Adding custom HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Template development

Our developers and designers collaborate to create templates that are beautiful from both an aesthetic and technical standpoint. From creating special features to selecting demo content, our team works to develop a cohesive creative vision for each template.

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 - Our designers use the template language JsonT to specify how data from our servers, like images and text, turns into the HTML that determines what's displayed on the page.
  • JSON - JSON is a data format we use to express the images and text you've added to your website 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.  

Life cycle of a template

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

As browsers 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 the Style Editor to make it more intuitive. Sometimes they’re new options, such as 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.

To focus on improving the templates that benefit customers the most, we occasionally discontinue some templates. Once a template is discontinued, it’s no longer available for installation, but you can keep using the template if you’ve already installed it on an existing site. To learn more, visit Discontinued templates.

FAQs

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, Aubrey, or Encore’s 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 offer, reach out to our Customer Care team. 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.

Certain templates allow some per-page customizing; 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 don't you have a template store or allow developers to 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, nor do we allow third-party designers to sell templates for use on a Squarespace site.

We do, however, have a list of Squarespace Specialists who 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