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The time for templates

Roger Black - Wed, 11/03/2010 - 01:19

This fall there’s been increasing uptake of the concept of templates for magazines and newspapers.

After an astonishing reaction by magazine art directors on the launch of Ready-Media this summer (SPD.org), some of whom jumped to the conclusion that we were trying to put them out of work, most main-line designers and editors have come to see that templates might instead give them more traction, since:

  • We’ve actually been using templates all along for repeatable design elements.
  • In a time of scarce resources, templates can maximize the talent a publication has available.
  • Designers can turn to the visual content side of their job, if they can spend less time doing rote layout.
  • There’s a dawning awareness that we have to find a better way of moving content from print to web or from web to app than shoveling it by hand.

While Ready-Media is helping smaller publications improve their design or redesign with a “magazine-format-in-a-box,” many are customizing the templates to fit their own needs—either in-house or through our Design Room.

And bigger publishers are ordering up entire libraries of original templates to lower costs for start-ups. By adopting a template-based workflow, they can also budget lower production costs.

This workflow concept may be the real benefit of Ready-Media. By using dozens, or hundreds of pre-designed pages, a magazine or a newspaper can improve design, close issues sooner, and let the visual staffers spend more time on the actual content—like the cover.

We’re not talking about just style sheets. We’re talking about whole pages. And that includes the advertising positions. In the next months, we’ll be introducing matching web designs for some of the print products—and matching iPad apps at very reasonable price.

Ready-Media’s Design Room is starting to grapple with the issue of Content Management Systems (CMS’s) for print, web and mobile apps. Working with our partners at Danilo Black USA, we are ready to work with clients integrate a Drupal CMS solution.  Of course we know that many media companies already have a CMS platform, and we’re happy to help you adapt templates to work with it.

Thanks for the chance to share our thinking with you. There is a trial program for people who really want to test the idea. Give us a call at +1-212-918-0990. Or send me an e-mail message.