Copying and pasting, graphic designer and editor Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey begins:
In the everyday material world a template refers to some kind of repeatable outline used to cut metal, rubber, cloth, card or other pliable matter, while down in the depths of molecular genetics it is a strand of DNA that sets the genetic sequence of new strands during replication. Both definitions readily extend to graphic design, where a template can equally mean a specific form designed to be repeated, or a set of principles that inform an approach. If you cast the net of definition wide enough, in fact, most of what passes for graphic design these days amounts to a template in some shape or form. Consider for instance that the underlying grid of a typical book or website is a standard framework repeated over and over with more or less difference from page to page; or that any series involving some degree of graphic consistency, whether posters, magazines, emails or social media posts, consists in the repetition of formats, materials, typefaces, colours, or image types. Unless we’re talking strictly about a one-off, graphic design is either based on – or presupposes – something else.
Templates in graphic design are associated with convenience and efficiency, their dual purpose being to speed up work by circumventing the need to make decisions, and to ensure consistency by restricting the parameters of possibility. But they can be deployed in other, less reductive senses too. Here are three more or less distinct types of templates designed with various collaborators, each based on a snowball of reasoning gathered along the way. On revisiting them I was surprised to see how neatly they trace the gradual shift from physical to digital media over the last couple of decades.
Stuart will present three projects which file under this category of Templates. First, will be The First/Last Newspaper, a durational publishing project:
Next he will speak about Bulletins of The Serving Library, and then finally, the graphic identity for The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London:
And inbetween, I am guessing Stuart will provide some glue which attaches one project to the next. He will join us from the EU via Zoom.