Template Talk with Benjamin Dehant - Everyone can make templates beautiful

[Deleted User]
edited October 2021 in Templates

Benjamin Dehant—MURAL experience designer—builds innovative, engaging MURAL templates that allow workshop participants to dive into tricky problems and generate creative solutions. From burgers to magical portals, from the high seas to outer space, Benjamin’s murals put design right in the middle of critical conversations. 

Benjamin sat down with me to talk about templates and design. He will be around to answer any questions about his design process and template building for September 21, 2021.

Emilia: Can you introduce yourself?

Benji: My name is Benjamin, and I’m a designer from France. I currently work at MURAL,where I use MURAL to collaborate with my colleagues. 

Emilia: How do you use MURAL at work?

Benji: I create workshop templates that our company uses and our members use on a daily basis. My challenge is to make the templates: 

  • easy to use
  • easy to navigate
  • engaging

As you know, we are distributed all over the world, as we are a remote first company. MURAL is our main place to collaborate, work together, and give each other feedback. 

Emilia: What is your favorite template, and why do you like it?

Benji: My favorite template is quite famous. It's the Lightning Decision Jam Template from AJ&Smart, our friends from Berlin. It’s a template we host in the MURAL Template Library. It is my favorite, because it's the one that I use the most.

This template is a Swiss army knife for workshops. It's a workshop that you run with a team of 6 to 10 or 12 people.  It's made for brainstorming, voting, and choosing the next step of a project. Though, I find that it can be used in any meeting actually. 

I have facilitated it the most in my career actually. You can adapt it to anything. I’ve used it for big corporate strategy sessions, and I’ve used it to brainstorm online academy projects with friends. 

Instead of running a “normal” meeting where everyone wants to speak, and it isn’t too efficient, I use this template. I like this template because it meets the objective of most meetings without too much, blah, blah. 


Emilia: What is your best tip for designing great templates?

Benji: I come from a web design background. I really adapt what we do in web UX/UI, and I put it into the remote workshop world. So what does this mean?

It means that you have to think about the user experience of the participant and the person who is going to facilitate the workshop. 

You have to make it easy to navigate and facilitate. I look at the instructions and steps, in particular. Like if you were trying to navigate on the website, you need to be able to navigate it without asking questions. Your template is the same. Facilitators and participants should be able to navigate it without asking too many questions. 

The second part, I really try to make the workshop more engaging. Because it has been a year and a half of remote working, people are starting to get tired of this.

So, if you can bring to them a little bit of magic from nice visuals, you can turn your workshop/meeting into an experience that is more engaging. In the end, people are going to be more focused and more enriched, and you will get better outcomes. 

So my tip is for people to dive into visual design/instructional design and really think about how your template is set up. 

I think if you want to learn how to make better templates, you should look into web design, actually UX/UI, and then try to apply what you learn to your remote workshop work.


Emilia: Do you use MURAL outside of work? If so, how do you use it? 

Benji: Before joining MURAL, I used it for my freelance work. I used it to run workshops and build websites with my clients. I used MURAL to organize everything in one place, instead of having many different bookmarks and drives. 

On a personal note, I use it for almost any time I need to brainstorm something.

If I'm doing some kind of mood board research for any project, I use it. When I want to collaborate with people, I open a new canvas, and we start dropping ideas onto it.

I think some people even use MURAL for planning their wedding, for example, or for working on the design of their house.

I even use it for my social media planning. For example, I have a space on my Social Media planning mural for different types of content that I am building. There’s a LinkedIn part, a YouTube part.

Thank you for joining us today, Benjamin! If you have questions about template design, please ask them below, and Benjamin will reply and chat with you all about building beautiful templates. 


  • Benji
    Benji Mural Alum mod

    Thanks a lot for having me :)

    It was a pleasure to share some tips and tricks.

    If anyone has questions, do not hesitate to post them here.

  • Thank you @Benji I'm always looking forward to see what theme your next template will have!

    Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from? How do you come up with the fantasy worlds that can be found in your templates? Do you create all the illustrations from scratch or do you use existing images?

  • Benji
    Benji Mural Alum mod

    @Christina thanks for your kind words :)

    It's actually a really good question and I am not so sure about best practices for tablets but one thing that comes to mind is : trying to not have to zoom in an out too much maybe to make it easier to navigate and be sure they can edit stickies by performing some icebreakers including stickies creation.

    Sometimes we can have surprises with tablets so, double checking and making it easier is a good thing.

  • Benji
    Benji Mural Alum mod

    Thanks @Emilia

    Well, I guess inspiration comes from nature and the world ;)

    Pinterest is a good place for inspiration as well as dribble or just google search but with images rather than text.

    I like to see what people do in videogames and Webdesign usually and also real events to see how to translate it in the digital world.

    I guess I am a bit geeky so it helps when it comes to inspiration related to the digital world :).

  • Hi @Benji

    I've been following you on LinkedIn because you make absolutely STUNNING murals and I love to get inspired from your ideas!

    Any tips or tricks for us on how to create beautiful murals?

  • Benji
    Benji Mural Alum mod
    edited September 2021

    Hi @manuel , good question!

    Hi @Bananner_MURAL , thanks for your message :)

    I would say that the basics would be :

    Try to do at least as good as in any word or gdoc document, which means, make a big title for the workshop, smaller titles for activities and a smaller typo for instructions. ( Hierarchy of information).

    Add some colors and try to stick to 1-3 colors max, but you can play with the same color : orange background for a title and light orange stickies for example.

    Do not hesitate to add some gif or arrows or things like this to make it fun but try to do it in a way it helps people understand how to navigate your workshop.

    Finally, have fun and experiment ! creativity is a muscle that anyone can train so, have fun, be patient and be consistent ;)

  • manuel
    manuel ✭✭✭✭

    @Benji Thank you very much! Do you have any best practices or recommendations on how to create visuals like arrows (Affinity, Photoshop, Illustrator, ...) or do would you recommend to use existing images and icons?

  • Benji
    Benji Mural Alum mod

    @manuel well, I would really recommend to use native ones ( Mural icons and pictures ) you can already do a lot with them .

    Some extra tips :

    add png or gif after the name of the thing you are looking for in pictures,

    eg : "dinosaurs png" or even "dinosaur png gif"

  • Thank you @Benji for all of these helpful hints and tricks. If you have questions for Benji, you can post them here after the event. There may be a slightly longer delay in a reply!

    Secondly, @Christina, @Emilia, @Bananner_MURAL, @manuel thank you for all of these lovely questions that inspired such great answers. Happy collaborating!