The Template Brouhaha Haha

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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 Macintoshcomputer designers would no longer be necessary? Alas, it never came topass, despite the persuasive 1984 ad campaign (above).

Remember when stock imagery was the scourge? It’ll take more thanthat to squelch real talent. And don’t forget that for decades various templatecompanies have foisted their wares on the field (below top), chargingpaltry sums for subscriptions to template libraries. Well, there willalways 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 thefirst time, the promotion asserts, that “world-class media design beenso available, so accessible, so affordable. A cabal of highly skilleddesigners have pooled their talent to give you outstanding mediatemplates for both print and web-based formats, featuring a hugevariety 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. Andthat’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 designinto the field?

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


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