Will ‘Paint By Numbers’ Design Templates Hurt Designers?

ready-media.pngEarlier this week saw the launch of Ready-Media, a collection of “just add content” templates for magazines, newspapers and websites “at a fraction of the cost,” says the site. At a fraction of the cost of what? The site doesn’t say, but presumably at a fraction of the cost of having a designer in-house.

Unsurprisingly, the design community had a lot to say about these templates, as evidenced by the comments on one blog post at the SPD.

“You’ve got to be kidding. Paint by numbers for magazine design?”

“Thanks Ready-Media, you just set us all back about 10 years. How many of us have fought hard throughout our careers to have beautiful design work shine in mainstream commercial magazines? Or try to explain to prospective clients during a tough pitch why the typography should be a certain way, finessed just so to give a magazine that perfect typographic personality that will make it stand out from all the others? Not anymore. This cookie-cutter approach is absolute anti-design and will kill any exciting magazine design innovation left out there (which is already fast becoming extinct). What a joke, and absolutely disappointing.”

One designer chimed in to say this: “Call me an optimist, but I think this is good news for all terrific magazine designers everywhere. This is rock bottom.”


From the other side, a few designers mentioned that hey, these templates don’t look all that bad. “As far as I can see Mr Black’s templates are cleaner and better than most small budget newspapers and magazines that I see.”

And the template design kept somebody in a job for at least a while. But what do you think?