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The Difference Between a Layout & a Template

Examples of a layout and template for sketchnote

When you start sketchnoting, It’s totally normal if you feel the urge to capture the information in the same way that you would on lined paper, which is left to right. Overcoming that habit opens up a world of possibility and while it can feel incredibly freeing, it can also feel overwhelming. In the examples throughout the book I write the titles at the top of the page. I often start sketchnoting at the top under the title. But really, you can start anywhere you want. Every time you create a sketchnote, try starting in a new place on the page and see how that feels. By testing different layouts, you’ll likely end up with a preference or two. A layout is the way you choose to place your information on the page. Where do you want your eyes to go first? How do you want to direct them around the page? A layout can be really important in a situation where the information presented has a correct order (like a series of events or a set of instructions). In that case, you want your eyes to flow from step 1 to step 2, and so on. You can start your sketchnote with a general idea of how you want it to flow around the page—or you can make it up as you go along. Either way is totally valid, so don’t worry. Here’s some examples of layout flows that you can use.

A layout isn’t the same thing as a template, which is more structured and usually involves knowing a bit about the material before you begin. A template divides the page into sections in advance, while a layout is a looser, more flexible way of letting information flow onto the page.I generally find sketchnoting templates to be unhelpful (they’re too structured and don’t let me freely capture information) so I’m not going to dig further into them here. They’re easy to find online if you want to learn more!

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