If you’re on Squarespace and you love learning about its latest improvements, then this post is for you!
If you’re on Squarespace then you might have heard about its upcoming new platform, 7.1, which is about to be released in late 2019 or early 2020.
Every few years, Squarespace refreshes its platform with new code, a new look, and new functionality. This is both good and bad: While they will still support older versions for some time, they spend most of their efforts on the new platform and sites on older versions become decrepit.
And if you’ve been using 7.0 or an earlier version, there are a few things you should know right off the bat here:
First of all, 7.1 is a whole new platform. Don’t be fooled by numbers. While it has a lot of similarities to 7.0, so much has changed.
Version 7.1 aims to make styling and consistency easier for DIY designers and small business owners, the people who use Squarespace the most.
And most importantly, while sites on the old version (7.0) will still function, you’re going to have to switch to 7.1 to get ALL the new features and updates.
So what does this mean for you if you’re on 7.0. And is 7.1 good enough to switch to?
Today we’re going to take a quick look at some of the major changes on 7.1, including:
How templates work
Changes to the Site Styles section, and
What’s still missing from 7.1 (because it has a lot of room to grow)
Let’s kick it off!
All Squarespace 7.1 websites will be built on the same template.
Big Change #1 : There’s Only One Template
Let’s give a big hurray!! Now, instead of going through dozens of site options and trying to find the perfect template as you did when starting a Squarespace site in 7.0, all sites will be built on a single template.
With older versions of SS, you had to choose a template based on two things: how it looked and what it was capable of. Each template (or template family) had its own functionality.
For example, my website is built on the Brine template, which was the most advanced and newest template. Brine includes index pages, optional parallax scrolling, slideshow banners and more.
Squarespace 7.1 is a little like Brine 2.0, taking some of its best features and making them even better.
Now, you can still scroll through lots of site demos and start with the “template” that most closely resembles your vision. But you can also change EVERYTHING up later. Without switching templates and losing your formatting.
All you have to do is click the little plus sign to insert new sections into any page. Or rearrange sections as you like, and even change the background color and font styling for individual sections (more on that later). No need to stack index pages, so this is better for SEO and it’s easier to keep your URLs clean and simple.
So improvement #1 is a definite win for 7.1!
It’s so easy to insert new sections into the same page now!
Big Change #2 : Site Styles
The next big change is in the site styles panel, and there’s both good and bad to this change. Let’s go with the good first.
Squarespace has done the work to make styling your site easier by making a few beautiful font combinations for your use. All you have to do is go into the FONTS menu and choose whether you want a sans serif, serif, or a mixed font set. Whatever you choose will be applied to all text on your site, again, with the goal of making your website look more “designer” and cohesive.
But what if you want to use another font, like one of the (hundreds?) of fonts available before from Google or Adobe? That’s still possible. It just takes a little digging around.
To customize any font set, just go to the Advanced gear, and you have the change to change fonts for every element on your site. This is another huge win for 7.1.
The Fonts panel contains pre-made pairings, but you can still customize everything with the gear icon.
The Colors panel contains pre-made palettes, but you can also choose your own color combinations.
So what’s the not so good part I mentioned a minute ago? As of now, you can’t upload your own fonts. So if you’re using a unique typeface for your branding, you might want to import your logo as a .png and use a similar “Squarespace-approved” typeface for your website.
I’m hoping that in the future, we get to upload our own fonts so we get the full ability to customize sites to our hearts’ content 🙂
Other Things I Hope to See in Future Releases
I’ve briefly gone over two of the main changes that you’ll notice as soon as you jump into the Squarespace editor.
But if you’ve been designing on Squarespace for a while, you’ll soon find out that there are other things “missing” from what you’re used to.
For example, there’s no parallax scrolling. Is this a thing of the past? If you must have it, there’s a workaround video on YouTube by Schwartz-Edmisten Design..
Also, there are no summary blocks. So you can’t create separate blogs and pull content into different areas of your site this way. (This is a big part of any SS designer’s workflow, so we’re hoping to see those come back!)
There’s no separate mobile editing. 7.1 is designed to be more responsive, so you can’t change up elements on your mobile. You’ll also notice that there’s no tablet view.
And finally, there’s currently no way to import or export products or blog posts. This is another setback, though I think the Squarespace engineers might be working on it. So if you’re thinking about moving to 7.1 to get all the new goodies, you might want to wait until this is developed? Otherwise, you’ll be starting your site from scratch.
Wrapping it Up
I’ve just touched on the tip of the iceberg for this new release. There are so many changes to explore in the style editor, and tips for making unique Squarespace websites with this new version.
All in all, I love the site styling changes because you can choose to go simple or choose to dive deep into customizing every element of your website. And yes, you can still use CSS to create unique layouts.
Version 7.1 is close to an official release date, and this is the platform that Squarespace will be updating in the future — improvements to 7.0 will eventually be phased out.
Should you “upgrade” your website by switching to Squarespace 7.1? We’ll explore that in upcoming blog posts and we’ll be giving you tips and as always, we’ll be giving you tips and tutorials on improving your brand and website with good design.