During development of Terian ID Creator I’ve been concerned with the reliance on Adobe Indesign as the design and printing engine, especially when compared to other ID Creation software that include built-in design and printing engines. The primary focus of my concern was the additional cost to purchase Indesign which when added on top of the cost of Terian ID Creator could potentially become a barrier for new users.
However, Indesign is a tried and tested system whereas the resources required to develop a flexible design and printing engine would have been exorbitant. Rather than dwell on the potential barrier, I am determined to push the positive and highlight the advantages that such an extensive design and printing engine can provide.
Advantages of Indesign:
Indesign has been around for 15 years and is one of the most popular desktop publishing packages on the market today. This maturity of product is important, as I can be confident that the functionality of one of the most fundamental parts of the ID system is robust and extensive. There is no need to re-invent the wheel and I can direct my time to other areas. An early estimate regarding developing a design and print engine highlighted the challenges a single developer attempting to implement such functionality would face with the estimate being well over 2,000 hours of development.
Other ID Creation software have limited design flexibility, they can cover the basics but struggle to produce professionally designed looking ID Cards. Granted many people are happy with plain ID Cards, there really is no need to retain spartan designs when a customers corporate identity can come alive and pop or dazzle on a professionally designed looking ID Card.
Basic ID Card designs remain functional but they are reminiscent of the world wide web back in the early 90’s, websites were functional however they were often simplistic and sometimes downright terrible to look at. Ignoring the technical differences and looking from a design perspective, few marketing departments would accept web designs from the 90’s when they have the option of marketing something designed for a 2014 market, ID Cards should be no different, creative freedom can be unleashed.
In the future when I explore other markets, I can rest assured the design and print engine will not be a barrier for development, as Indesign is compatible with fonts for nearly all languages. Without this compatibility I could potentially be faced with the challenge of developing/implementing an untested design and print engine.
Disadvantages of Indesign:
As mentioned earlier, the biggest disadvantage of utilising Indesign as the design and printing engine is the potential for additional licensing costs. Prior to Adobe releasing Creative Cloud (CC) the initial investment for Indesign ranged from several hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars depending on the version selected. Fortunately Indesign CC can be licensed from as low as $69.99 per month, this certainly helps when considering the full costs of Terian ID Creator.
For customers wanting only the most basic designs the complexity of Indesign may be a turn off. Integrating with Indesign allows design freedom and customers may not be realising their full potential by sticking to a basic design.
Push the Positive:
Undoubtedly a potential barrier exists, however many projects face challenges and it will be interesting to see if the market is willing to overcome this potential hurdle.
At least I can honestly state that Terian ID Creator has the most advanced and flexible design and printing engine that I have experienced in ID Creation software.
If I was you, I’d make design consulting services available on the side.
I’m assuming they don’t need indesign installed for it to work, just to do the ID card design? If that’s the case, just say that you can design their card for $x an hour – guaranteed to be compatible. That way small clients who don’t want the extra cost for one or two cards have an option. (Plus another potential side revenue stream for you of course!)
Or does ID Creator rely on it being installed?
One slight hurdle for adding design consulting services on the side is the fact that I’m not a graphics designer, so currently that would be beyond my capabilities. However if I am able to grow the business successfully no doubt a graphics designer will be in the mix somewhere along the line, and then that path might show potential.
ID Creator requires Indesign to print cards.