• Writer for DDI on Medium

The Difference Between a Template Design and a Stencil Design

Not all designs are static, there are some designs whose content changes within the framework of the design and designs which are fully customizable but while this is not uncommon for designers to understand, it creates confusion in the mind of the customer where they assume purchasing a design, means they can use it as a template base for other designs and it somehow exempts them from repeat charges. So to simplify the design process, I created these categories which expresses the basic nature designs can take on. Based on the type of design you need, your work can fall into one of two categories or even both.

  1. A stenciled design,

  2. A template design

  3. or a template within a stenciled design

A stencil design differs in function from a template design. Stenciled designs are unchanging while template designs can be customized. When a template design falls within a stenciled design, it simply means that your content is meant to be altered but the framework of the design stays the same.

How does this affect your cost?

You may think, “Hey I got a design I already paid for, I’m giving my permission for thus…” to most definitely cut cost, but you both incur the same charges whether the framework stays fixed and the content changes (template within a stencil) or the framework varies and the content varies (template).


Time spent on production of a product, is time invested in your brand. I help small service businesses communicate whats different and special about them so they can illustrate that message more effectively and so they can reach the kind of customers they actually want to work with and the design is a small part of a much bigger picture.

What do you really value, communicating your value or getting a cheap design?

Because a cheap design can save you money but great branding can bring in money and if its communication, Its short sighted to assume that you’re simply investing in a cool design when you are clearly getting so much more.

What you need to know

If the content of a design needs editing, it's usually applied to mistakes or outdated information. These types of changes has it limits and are normally quite small eg. a word, punctuation, numbers or even a sentence.

However, when the purpose of the design changes along with the content its no longer editing. For example; one of my client’s Laughlin and De Gannes when they place orders for business cards, they usually do it by name and this indicates to us if its a card we’ve already done and if it is, its considered a re-order. If changes are requested and its small, its considered an edit but when they place orders for cards we’ve never made its treated as a new design just like its understood that its a new order.

It is important to approach designs with purpose. Ask yourself “what do I need this to do?” and while you're at it, figure out where your values stand, that way, your investment won’t be such a hard pill to digest.

I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB

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