Posted 18.08.2011 @ 11.42PM
Adobe are developing a new product called Muse, for graphic designers who want to easily create unique and professional HTML websites without writing code. What do you think about it?
I'm apprehensive about Muse. I think graphic designers should learn and master basic front end web design (HTML, CSS and a bit of Java) and Muse holds you back from that/
I've had a small muck around with the program that's a free download under beta release. I can see it's attraction, it makes the process of designing a website very visual and accessible to graphic designers. But I've got a few concerns, so if you can excuse my postulating, here some points are:
1. I think Design is all about detail. It's only once you get into the very raw core details of what your doing that you can master something and shape it to your will. It's why we kern, it's why one A4 sheet is thinner than another, it's why we have Pantone Colours. Because we acknowledge that there's subtlety in the detail that we need to understand to design.
The same is true of web design. The detail is in the code. And Muse obviously hides the code.
2. Adobe are producing a program that has a scope, it's versatility hopefully will be impressive, but it will be limited and so will you. If a client wants this and Muse can't do that- what do you do? Web designers hit the books, they learn how to do it, they figure it out and build on a base of knowledge- because they are continually working at mastering the detail/code.
What does a Muse user do- wait for an update from Adobe?
3. A lot of clients need websites that run on a content management system, so they can edit content on their website and keep it up to date themselves. With Muse (it seems) you are locked into using a CMS called Adobe Business Catalyst, a product with ongoing fees for your clients and upfront costs.
I haven't used Adobe Business Catalyst, but I have used a lot of different CMS and I'd say having the flexibility to choose the right CMS for the client is key to making a good website. With Muse, you don't have that option.
I look forward to playing around more with Muse, I'm sure it will do somethings well, and it might even make my own workflow faster and fun. But for the industry, for the web and for designers- is it the best thing? Are we selling ourselves short by using such tools- should graphic designers master front end web design? Or leave it to front end developers?
Posted 03.08.2011 @ 10.56PM
Thanks for the replies.
::Design is a bit of a luxury that not everyone can afford and it can be quite difficult to assess its actual value to a small business.
Totally agree and I guess that's the crux of what I'd like to get at. Is it a luxury and how do you assess its actual value to a small business?
Take IKEA, good design done cheaply. Basically making a interior design approach affordable for low income earns such as students and young families. Could the same be done for Graphic Design? Could our hypothetical fish and chip shop be a model for a high turn over design studio, that can handle small budgets quickly and retain a reasonable profit margin?
Anyway- pointless speculation from a naive design graduate whose only days away from starting his first real design job. But I guess I feel like there could be some interesting ways to cater to small business with small budgets. And I guess I feel like there's a big discussion behind how valuable small budget business is to the design industry.
Posted 02.08.2011 @ 5.54PM
Thanks for the replies so far.
::Do you think you could convince that fish and chip shop that the money they spend on design will convert to extra sales and make them a profit?
I don't know- I would assume no I couldn't at the moment, but I guess that's what I'm curious about. What's the pay off vs the cost of design? Is it enough to argue that as an investment for the smallest of businesses? To speculate about the Fish and Chip shop, if the menu items were easier to read r (thanks to some kerning, new lights and high contrast type) it might make customers order quicker and therefore increase efficiency/profitability in a small way.
::You're deluding yourself if you think design is "essential" to every business. Many get on quite fine without any specialist design input, and would make no additional income/profit from it.
There are plenty of successful business with crap logos and poorly designed collateral, I take your point. But I feel any business could benefit from having clearer communication with their clients or customers, I'd guess that's what I'm offering as a graphic designer.
I'll try and dig around for some research and report back if I find anything.
It would be great if there was an industry study concerning how profitable small business were and how much they spend on graphic design, to indicate how the investment pays off.