EDITOR'S NOTE: Mashable readers can save 10% on new Squarespace plans with the coupon code MASHABLE10.
Whether you dabble in drawing, painting, graphic design, podcasting, or music-making, staking out an online presence is key to getting your name out there as an artist. But therein lies an important question: How do you make a website packed with different forms of multimedia without getting bogged down in annoying technical drudgery?
Out of all the top website builders out there, Squarespace is a preferred choice for many creatives because of its all-in-one subscription model (starting as low as $16 a month) and extensive library of modern and visually rich templates. These pre-made, plug-and-play demo sites (called themes) make it easy to whip up an online portfolio that makes your work accessible to potential clients, with layout presets, font packs, professional color schemes, and drag-and-drop element blocks that make minimal coding experience a non-issue.
Squarespace currently maintains more than 230 different templates, making the decision of choosing one just a tad overwhelming. That being said, there are several ways of narrowing down your pool of applicants and, depending on the version of the platform you're using, you don't necessarily have to bind yourself to any single one.
Below, you'll find our guide to choosing the best Squarespace template for an artist's website.
Squarespace templates 101: A quick primer
There are two versions of Squarespace in use, and each has its own special way of handling templates.
Version 7.0 was launched in 2014 with 91 templates that it groups into "families." Every template in a given family is coded similarly to have the same underlying structure and unique formatting rules. This type of categorization makes it harder to switch between templates without risking content loss, but many longtime Squarespace users have stuck with version 7.0 to this day because some templates offer advanced style options that never migrated to version 7.1. (Parallax scrolling, infinite scrolling, and sidebars are just a few examples.)
Version 7.1 came out in 2020 with some 140 templates (and counting) that aren't categorized or grouped in any way; they all offer the same structural, formatting, and design options. This homogenization might be off-putting to more experienced users who want to do extensive customizing, but it comes with the huge benefit of being able to change templates without a hefty rebuild.
We highly recommend version 7.1 if you're a new Squarespace user simply because it's more flexible and future-ready, especially since last summer's release of Fluid Engine, the platform's latest content editor with more fine-tuned block arrangements and setup options. (Version 7.0 sites still rely on its classic editor.) You can try both versions during Squarespace's 14-day trial, but keep in mind that once you pick a version, you're basically stuck with it.
What makes Squarespace's templates so great for artists?
While some Squarespace templates make nice blogs and writing portfolio sites, the vast majority of them (across both versions of the platform) lean heavily on visuals. Artists can load them with full-bleed backgrounds, banners, galleries, grids of thumbnails, stylized landing pages, and other imagery without overcrowding or cluttering up their site. Better yet, all Squarespace templates come mobile-optimized from the get-go so these visuals look stellar on any platform.
All templates across both versions of Squarespace support its full suite of features, including ecommerce tools you can use to schedule appointments and build a simple online shop (say, if you want to sell prints). Here are some features that will be especially relevant to creatives:
Integrated lightbox functionality
Automatic image alt text and title tagging
Easy content importing from Twitter, Instagram, 500px, Bandsintown, Soundcloud, and Flickr
Buying and printing USPS shipping labels directly through the platform
Point of Sale (in-person selling)
Support for selling on Facebook and Instagram
Squarespace also maintains three mobile apps that work with its entire template library, which are all free with your subscription or trial. The main Squarespace app (available for iOS and Android) lets you upload new images, review site analytics, and manage your store's inventory on the go, while the Squarespace Video Studio app (available for iOS) offers tools for creating professional-looking videos out of photos and clips. Its newest app offering, Squarespace Unfold (available for iOS and Android), makes it easy to create stylized social content that's designed to get more eyeballs on your website.
What's the best Squarespace template for artists?
There's no definitive best Squarespace template for artists — and realistically, any Squarespace template can be turned into your dream site with enough fiddling — but many work better for artists than some of their peers.
You can begin to narrow your search by visiting Squarespace's "Templates" tab and sorting its library by "Type" and "Topic"; a Portfolio template geared toward Art & Design or Photography is probably a safe bet for your purposes. From there, Squarespace's Help Center suggests "[looking] for specific colors and layouts that appeal to you." You can preview any template to see what it would look like as a live site before you begin customizing it.
Need some extra guidance? Below, we dive into our favorite Squarespace templates for artists in 2023. Remember: Mashable readers can use the coupon code MASHABLE10 to save 10% on new Squarespace memberships.
Note: Most of our recommendations are from Squarespace version 7.1, but we've sprinkled in a few options from version 7.0 that continue to stand out.
UPDATE: Sep. 22, 2023, 5:00 a.m. EDT This guide has been updated to reflect our latest experiences with Squarespace and to include a new theme (Sackett).