To create a functional and aesthetically pleasing template, you will only need Adobe Photoshop and idea/theme in mind. As a basic layout, I recommend having the card name at the top, image beneath it, and the card text beneath the image. Stats can be added in any of the corners, sides, or on the bottom middle of the card. I recommend using corners as they are distinguished from the rest of your card. If your cards have costs, they should be on either the top right or top left so when you fan out your hand, you can easily identify which cards you can play that turn.
Starting the Template
To start a template, create an image with the dimensions you want your card to be. I recommend using 2.5 by 3.5 inch cards, as more card games are in that size and you can use most deck boxes, binders, and sleeves with your cards. If you are using the Gamecrafter, you can find templates for cards on their website based off of your card’s dimensions. Once you have your image together, start by adding a border (if you are using one, which I recommend). Using the rounded rectangle or rectangle tool, create a rectangle over the area which you want your border to surround. In the properties tab, select “subtract front shape”. Once you have created your border, add the basic shapes for each of your shapes (Name, card type, art, cost, stats, ability, etc). After adding these shapes, you need to make them stand out so your template doesn’t look flat. Go to the Layer Style tab for each of the shapes you want to stand out, and select “Bevel & Emboss”. Play around with beveling until you have reached the desired bevel, then repeat this process until you are satisfied.
To make your template look even better, you need to add textures. If your game is based off of, say, spell casting, you should search up “parchment” on google and find a suitable image. Scale it to fit into your card and adjust the opacity onto a similar color as the imported image. You can also go to the Filter tab and use various filters to change the appearances of images, such as the Clouds filter or Fibers filter (Which I use for my game, Amalgam).
With this simple guide, you can kick start your template design and have something functional and aesthetically pleasing to work with.