This app is a Featured Review
Featured apps are what I use regularly in my workflow and have earned
high praise from many people for their quality, features and support.
Try Stencil for free
Create professional Designs without Photoshop
Stencil lets you be a designer even if you never have set foot in design school or opened Photoshop. How does it work so well? See the full review below.
In this Stencil review we will look at why it works for non-designers and what to expect when upgrading to a paid subscription.
And for you WordPress users out there the latest news is that they now have a plugin that allows you to create designs within the media manager.
And for those of you looking for a Stencil discount or coupon code, I let you know what to expect there too.
What is Stencil
Stencil is an SAAS (software as a service) app for creating professional looking graphics for web, print and social media. It was originally for social media purposes and making images that get shared. So much so that the original name of Stencil used to be Share as Image and you can still see remnants of this in Stencil with features such as 100,000 inspirational quotes.
However, the latest version of Stencil excels because of its extensive library of over 2 million royalty free images, it's the main reason I use it to be perfectly honest. They also have templates made by professional designers which helps if you are not one yourself to get designs up faster.
As mentioned before they now have a WordPress plugin so technically they are no longer just an SAAS, however you will need an online account with Stencil for the WordPress plugin to work. They also have extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
Who are the founders of Stencil
Stencil is a small but well-run startup co-founded by Adam Rotman and Oliver Nassar. At the time of writing the team comprises four other employees covering areas such as business development, content marketing, community manager and customer support.
Their mission statement (viewable on their about page) is to
“Help you make images faster than ever,”.
Design quality results in a fraction of the time…
… Hey that's kinda like a real life stencil
You can see their quirky startup culture just from that short mission statement but don't let that fool you. I can confidently tell you they achieve their goal not just by my own experiences but also the 170,000 other users that now rely on Stencil for their graphic design needs. The beauty of the app is just how quick and easy it is to use.
How to use Stencil
Stencil is super easy to use as the video demo below shows.
One thing to note that is briefly shown at the end of the video is templates.
This helps you to get your designs up to another level because professional designers created them and then you add your own content and images to make it your own.
Once you have a style, you are happy with you can then save your own template and keep reusing it for future projects to keep your online branding consistent.
As I'm typing this, I realize this is something I should do more of myself as I typically would just launch a blank slate choose a photo and add text as I did in the featured image for this post so I followed my advice and see about improving the featured blog image and what I ended up with was virtually the same thing I originally designed. So a little of a constructive criticism to the Stencil team to improve their template library for featured blog post images. They have templates for social media and promotional banners but not so much for blog posts.
This template area is where Canva is beating Stencil.
Stencil Key Features
- Over 2 million royalty free stock photos
- 750 templates
- Over 100,000 inspirational quotes
- Over 1 million icons and graphics
- 2,500 Google Fonts
Upload your own fonts (Mic drop feature!
- 39 custom image size templates for all use cases
- Browser extensions
Stencil Client Reviews
Noah Kagan – Chief Sumo at AppSumo
The quickest way for me to prettify an image. Super helpful!
Katie Lance – Social Strategist and Speaker
What a super simple tool – we love it! It makes our job so much easier.
Nathan Chan, CEO at Foundr Magazine
Can I just say that I adore Stencil?! There is simply nothing like it.
Next I would like to compare the free plan of Stencil to their unlimited plan.
Stencil Free vs Stencil Unlimited
- Create up to 10 images per month
- Limited photos
- Limited icons
- Keep up to 10 favorites
- Unlimited images
- Over 2 million photos
- Over 1 million icons and graphics
- 2,500 Google Fonts
- Font uploads
- Logo Watermarks
- Keep unlimited favorites
- 750+ Templates
- 100 Instagram SMS / month
- Premium Support
A few thoughts on the above
It's a compelling argument to upgrade as you can see – there is another option they call Pro, similar to the Unlimited plan but it only allows for 50 images per month. They price it at $9 per month paid annually.
In terms of guarantees they offer a minimal 7 day money-back guarantee but honestly if you first try the free version and upgrade from there you probably won't be requesting a refund because you know what you are getting.
You might have also noticed the Instagram SMS option which allows you to get a message on your mobile phone with the image you designed in Stencil that allows you to share to your Instagram account. It's a workaround that other companies have pioneered because of Instagram's usage policy for third party apps. So if you love Instagram that is just for you.
- Free version is a great introduction to the app
- Large library of royalty free high quality photos
- Inspirational quotes built in (Great for getting images shared)
- Upload your own custom fonts (premium feature)
- Template library needs to grow
- WordPress plugin not supporting page builders like Elementor (Has to be used from the basic WordPress editor/Gutenberg)
Are there Stencil Up-sells
Thankfully, after choosing your desired plan there are no up-sells, they present you with an easy to follow on-boarding process to get you designing images like a pro in no time.
Yes, there is a big elephant in the room here and their name is Canva.
Canva is arguably a better platform because it has so many more design options available to you including the ability to create logos, which you don't get with Stencil.
There are two drawbacks to Canva vs Stencil though.
- Stencil is even easier to use than Canva for creating shareable images (which is remarkable)
- Canva has an annoying policy of charging you for every little element of their premium designs. They literally charge you for a straight line icon sometimes!
So after heavily using Canva for about a year I now use only Stencil. I fired up Canva for the first time in ages the other day because I needed a logo but that's it.
Do I recommend Stencil
100% YES – if you are new to Stencil try their free version and see how easy it is to add graphics, text and icons and share to your website or social media. Once you have played with it their premium plans which start at just $9 per month are a steal especially compared to more complicated software like Adobe Photoshop.
That being said, if you are a professional, Adobe Photoshop is still king but if you are not like I am but appreciate good design, then try Stencil here for free.
Get a free trial of Stencil
get in touch with your inner designer
Stencil Coupon or Discount
This is interesting because no there is not a discount right now but yes there have been some incredible and fairly regular deals in the past where you pay a onetime fee and you get access to the Pro version for life.
In fact, this is what I did when I bought it from AppSumo.
And I am confident you will see this deal again because they are still in a growth phase and they have stiff competition from Canva so they need to keep doing things to stand out. So with that in mind I will publish any Stencil coupon codes I find below but also my advice if there are no promotions would be to keep tabs on the good people at AppSumo as they regularly feature deals with Stencil.
But don't let that stop you from having a free account right now with Stencil (your time is just too valuable).
I will display any other Stencil coupon codes found below (if any)
How to claim Stencil Bonuses
Looking for a bonus when purchasing Stencil? Well, you are in the right place because when you use any link on this page to buy you can claim one of the premium bonus packs below.
Important: Right click links and open in a new private/incognito window to ensure your claim with us.
If you purchase today, I can offer you ONE of my premium Stencil bonuses. I have lined up great gift packs in the following categories.
- Website and Graphic Design
- Affiliate Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Conversion and analytics
- Video Marketing
- SEO Marketing
- Social Media
- Webmaster Tools
- Marketing and PR
To claim a bonus pack email support at paultherond.com.