Stencilled hand paintings in the Cueva de las Manos, Argentina

Using a template is not a new idea. Wall paintings in the Cave of the Hands in Santa Cruz, Argentina date back some 9,000 years. It is believed that the stencilled hands on the cave walls marked a rite of passage into manhood.

Woodcuts, from the 9th century onward are another form of using a medium where a basic design could be used to recreate a structure – which could then be enhanced with color or other means.

Contemporary art holds well-known examples. Perhaps Andy Warhol is one of the most renowned. His portrayal of well-known cultural icons as diverse as Coca Cola, Marilyn Monroe and even Queen Elizabeth demonstrated how a templated design could be transformed into free-standing versions of an otherwise identical theme.

Since the popularization of the internet less than 20 years ago, there have been some remarkable changes. It is extraordinary to realize that Lycos, the first commercially successful search engine arrived as recently as 1993. Yahoo was just a year later and Altavista a few months after that. Google didn’t arrive until 1998, but there, a new formulaic approach to relevancy ranking would change the entire industry and permanently affect design and development strategies.

The prime focus of an effective modern website is no longer just to ‘look good’, it must perform. Performance is measured by rankings and traffic … and Google performance is the standard by which most websites are measured.

The WordPress engine lays at the heart of Daylight WebsitesWordPress is the most popular CMS in use today. It was first released in 2003 and as of this morning, over 25 Million users agree. Many view WordPress as a blog engine and they are right, but what most do not realize is that huge enterprise environments such as CNN, BBC, TIME and even Flickr use the WordPress architecture. MediaPost recently stated:

In short, WordPress is not merely a blogging tool. It’s a platform that can lead to an explosion of new media properties capable of text, video, audio, music, animation, interactivity, online merchandising, podcasting, and even social networking. Successful innovations will rapidly take root and expand while unsuccessful ones will quickly perish or remain marginal.

Read more: The Implications Of Blogging, MediaPost

To an average website owner, when considering website design, the plethora of possibilities are paralyzing! But WordPress has yet another winner in its armory – the templated WordPress Theme. There are literally thousands of pre-formatted and customizable designs available.

And here we return to the stenciled hand prints of 7,000 BC. The mancubs of prehistoric Argentina may not have been able to draw a perfect hand on their sacred cave walls, but they learned to blow pre-mixed colored minerals through an animal bone over their templated hand. The result was an effective and recognizable representation.

Daylight Websites specializes in mixing the colors and electronically spraying a design over a client’s choice of stencil. The effect is not only unique and recognizable, it is the 21st century equivalent of an indelible mark on the walls of commerce.

In this series, Tim Twinam will continue to explore the history and culture of the Internet and the impact of modern day tools such as WordPress. Subscribe to his WordPress Series by email.

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