By Jim Bray
How do you create a corporate identity if you aren’t
an ad agency or professional graphics designer?
Well, if you own or buy the CorelDRAW suite, you can download
its Design Collection, a bunch of templates the “graphically
challenged or naive” can use to give their business a
fresh new look.
And if you are a graphics pro, you can take the templates
in this collection and rejig them to fit your own needs and
tastes. It’s kind of like jump starting your creativity.
Okay, the design collection isn’t the be-all and end-all;
there is a finite number of templates and, let’s face
it, if every business chooses the same (or similar) templates,
none of them will have their own corporate identity. But it
can be a good start.
Corel says the Design Collection is aimed at small businesses,
many of which undoubtedly don’t have a lot of budget
headroom for such arguable luxuries as creative design. It
helps them create marketing materials, even a corporate identity,
without hiring an ad agency.
Still, creating your own corporate identity can be tough,
even if you have the proper software. Many people (including
yours truly) are reasonably fluent with graphics creation programs,
but have never been to design school or art college. Products
such as DRAW, especially with an enhancement like the Design
Collection, can help them crank out a workable solution or
inspire them to greater heights of craftsmanship than they
could come up with from scratch on their own.
And if you’re just learning DRAW, the Design Collection
can help you get up to speed by giving you a simplified interface
that makes it even quicker to get up and running with a design.
I have to admit I wish I’d had such a free add-on when
I first started playing with DRAW back in Version 3.
Using the Design Collection is very easy, too. When you first
fire it up, you’re brought to a “welcome” screen
that offers a wizard-like way to create your identity. Click
the “begin” button and you’re whisked to
the first main screen, which offers another step-by-step process.
The first step is to choose a layout from choices that include “card,” “folded
brochure,” “stationery set” and others. There
are more boxes than there are choices, which led me to believe
that the set was only partially complete (and perhaps Corel
has updates planned for down the road), but I was assured that
the blanks are there for aesthetic reasons so I guess their
designers were hard at work too.
Step Two is to choose a look for your project, from a selection
of designs you scroll through to find the one that’s
perfect for you (or that you want to customize).
Step three is to open the design in CorelDraw and get to work
personalizing and/or customizing it.
Completing a folded brochure in DRAW, for example, can be
done merely by clicking on various sections that are labeled
with what the creators recommend you do. For example, page
one of the template includes spaces for the name of your business
(and logo, if you have one), the key message you want to get
across, a subheading, and a text box for your copy. If you’re
up to speed with DRAW you’ll have no trouble using the
templates, and if you have any kind of skill at all you’ll
be able to bend them to your will.
I was disappointed in the relatively limited number of design
choices, but on the other hand this is a product that’s
merely meant to supplement the existing collection of Corel
templates that come with the CorelDRAW suite, of which there
The downside for those who don’t have DRAW is that you’re
out of luck. I imagine that’s the idea, from a marketing
standpoint, the Corel people had in mind.
The CorelDRAW suite is already a powerful set of products
that competes well with products such as Adobe’s Creative
Suite. But Adobe has recently released a new Creative Suite
as of this writing, while DRAW 12 has been around for a while,
so this may be an attempt to keep customers from defecting.
I’m speculating, of course.
Alas, while the Design Collection does add some nice meat
to the Suite, I’m not sure it’s worth the money.
According to Corel’s web site, only customers who buy
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 boxes marked with this special
promotion can download the Design Collection Volume 1 from
Corel for free. People who’ve already bought the suite
have to pay $100US to download Volume 1, with volumes 2 and
3 (which each add 50 templates to Vol. 1’s 100 designs)
running fifty greenbacks a pop.
This seems to penalize existing Corel owners which I’m
not sure sends the right message to Corel’s loyal customers,
especially since the whole collection costs more than the entire
suite at the upgrade price – and you can bet Corel will
want these people to upgrade to the next version of the Suite
one of these days.
But for those who can get it for free, it’s quite a
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think