The Template Brouhaha Haha

 
Every couple of years graphic design is threatened by devaluation or extinction because our standards are being attacked by the forces of evil knights templates.
Remember the commercial where Apple claimed that with a Macintosh
computer designers would no longer be necessary? Alas, it never came to
pass, despite the persuasive 1984 ad campaign (above).

Remember when stock imagery was the scourge? It’ll take more than
that to squelch real talent. And don’t forget that for decades various template
companies have foisted their wares on the field (below top), charging
paltry sums for subscriptions to template libraries. Well, there will
always be clients who go for cheap, rather than good.

Now, one of the most highly respected editorial designers is producing templates too. Thanks to Roger Black’s “Ready-Media” template collection the design world is having a cow.
This is not Black’s first foray into template design, but it is the
first time, the promotion asserts, that “world-class media design been
so available, so accessible, so affordable. A cabal of highly skilled
designers have pooled their talent to give you outstanding media
templates for both print and web-based formats, featuring a huge
variety of pages. At a fraction of the cost” (below bottom).

Cabal? Its not the quality of the design that’s upsetting members of The Society of Publication Designers
(SPD), but the “fraction of the cost.” Well, maybe the quality too. And
that’s the sticky wicket, in this critical economic era, is charging a
“fraction” unfair and detrimental to the whole editorial design field?
Or is it a smart entrepreneurial idea, that will inject better design
into the field?

Debate rages: Which rings true? This from Dirk Barnett on SPD.org
“Thanks Ready-Media, you just set us all back about 10 years.” Or as
Ready-Media designer Robb Rice says, the templates  will leave magazine
designers “freed to concentrate on visual content.”

 


About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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