Seven years ago (surely a century in internet time) I posted a blog post which I won't summarise, but repeat here as it's short:
It's a big deal when a magazine or a newspaper has a redesign. Similarly with websites. It's something to do with the fact that it's easy to churn out issue after issue/page after page using the same layouts, fonts etc.
I would have thought that in the dynamic web world you could spend more time with your templates, spending more effort making them work harder for you, so each new page looks like an evolution, or a minor redesign, whereas you haven't put any effort into that page, you just put it in at the beginning. Does that make any sense?Today, I've just read an article in Contents magazine, Made to Measure, which expands that idea, and is so much better written than I could do. It doesn't say that all the work can be done at the beginning, but with thought I agree with them that some work needs to be done for each article.
So if static templates are too limiting, but per-piece art direction is too costly, how else can we make scalable, sustainable digital publications that are beautiful and accessible? To find a middle path, we can take a cue from the art of the tailor.