Roger Black’s launch of Ready-Media is still getting flak, including a rough assessment from Pentagram principal Paula Scher. Understand, now, that Sher has templates of her own to offer, in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard, for the business world. A quick Google search reveals the scorn she received from the design community.
But she doesn’t promise “Just add content.” Her product announcement in 2007 offered the following disclaimer:
“No template is a substitute for hiring a professional designer,” warns Scher, and indeed at Scher’s suggestion the HP site includes a prominent link to the AIGA designer directory. “But at the very least, I hope we can stop a few innocent people out there from using Comic Sans.”
And templates are nothing new. Even InDesign comes with templates, albeit thin, for newspapers, newsletters, menus, etc.Without my Blogger and WordPress templates, I couldn’t do three blogs a day. But could Black have anticipated the reaction he got and headed it off with a less strident slogan, maybe something that doesn’t imply that design and content are separate things.
And Black’s DaniloBlack website goes further: “Why grapple with disruptive innovation when you can leverage on it?” Just who’s leveraging what here?
Another question — if this is aimed toward smaller operations that can’t pay for an art director, just what would a template package cost? You’d still have to license certain coordinating fonts, I suppose. They also offer coaching and logo creation. Is Black selling us a designer-newspaper-in-a-box or is this a way of offering consulting gigs by way of Roger Black Lite?