When Design-a-saurs roamed the Earth
When dinosaurs ruled the earth, life was pretty good – for the dinosaurs at least. Food was plentiful, gobs of primordial ooze to wallow in and if anything got in your way, well, you just walked through it as though it wasn’t there. A good climate and ample food meant that dinosaurs were free to grow as big as they were able, with little need for innovation or evolution. Then one day, everything changed. A massive asteroid struck the Earth in an explosion of dust, steam and smoke.
According to paleontologists, this catastrophic event caused the earth’s atmosphere to rapidly cool, completely changing the ecology of this once prime dino habitat. Being quite resilient, life on Earth began to adapt to this new climatical reality. With the loss of abundant food and colder temperatures, the massive lizards with small brains and big stomachs died off while the small furry mammals with bright eyes, bushy tails and shrewd intellect started their long climb up the evolutionary ladder to the top of the food chain.
The economic melt down seems to have had as much of an impact on the print and publishing world as that massive meteor did to the dinosaurs many millions of years ago. The evidence is all around us. Adobe, in spite of releasing their most aggressive Creative Suite upgrade to date has seen sales dry up to the point that they’ve had to layoff more than 600 employees worldwide.
Big software means big overhead, in every sense of the word. Ongoing 18-month development cycles coupled with spiraling marketing and support costs become unsustainable when the global economy cools rapidly. In the software world, evolutionary software offerings are being produced by small development companies working with limited budgets and necessarily low overheads – similar to the post-apocalyptic rise of the mammals. A very good example is the breakneck sales pace of home grown applications for the iPhone platform. Small one and two man developer operations are gaining huge profits virtually overnight when a successful application hits Apple’s online applications store. This trend is also appearing in other major software sectors including the graphic arts. Small companies with limited staff and resources are producing some surprisingly robust applications covering all aspects of design/premedia and prepress. In the next issue of Print Action magazine I review several of these up and coming “small, furry mammals” of the software world. Check back about mid-month for a link to a PDF copy of the article or buy an honest-to-gosh ink and paper copy of the magazine (keep print alive).