Template vs Layout

Oct 30, 2023 • 1 min read

Working and collaborating with other people in the design field, I always find confusion about the use of two terms: template and layout.

Before diving into the creative process, it’s essential to understand the fundamental difference between them and how they work together.

Templates are the backbone of consistency

Templates are like the architectural blueprints of your digital space.

They set the stage for your entire website or application, dictating its overarching structure and design.

Think of templates as the foundational skeleton of your project, holding key elements such as headers, footers, navigation menus, and placeholders for content.

Crafting Individual Page Stories with Layouts

Layouts, on the other hand, focus on the microcosm of your design — the arrangement and organization of content within a specific context or page.

Layouts determine how elements like text, images, buttons, and other UI components come together within a defined space. They’re all about shaping the visual narrative for each unique page.

Real Example

Inside a website, you have diverse types of pages, such as the homepage, article pages, and category pages.

The homepage layout shouts breaking news and features articles front and center.

Article pages emphasize the primary content, images, and related articles.

Category pages, meanwhile, prioritize navigation options to guide users to various topics.

Each layout tailors the user experience, ensuring the right content shines through while adhering to the overarching template’s structure.

Working in Harmony

Templates and layouts are not opposing forces but rather harmonious collaborators. Templates provide consistency and branding across your entire project, setting the stage for familiarity. Layouts, however, grant flexibility and adaptability to cater to the unique purpose of each page or screen.

The Takeaway

  • Templates are your design foundation, maintaining a unified look and feel.
  • Layouts are the creative storytellers, shaping the content’s presentation.

In your UI design journey, remember that a balanced blend of templates and layouts is key to crafting an engaging, aesthetically pleasing, and user-friendly digital experience.

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