Quark Gives You Ten Reasons Why
Recently we’ve noted that Quark, Inc, publishers of electronic layout stalwart QuarkXPress, has rolled out a new campaign extolling the benefits of the new QuarkXPress 7. Adopting the top-ten approach and apparently appealing to QuarkXPress laggarts still working with QuarkXPress 6.x and earlier, the campaign lists the top ten reasons to upgrade to the current version.
What are they? We took a look.
The Ten, In Order
1: Outdesign the Competition: “Outdesigning the Competition” here refers to leveraging three of QuarkXPress 7’s new graphics-effects features to eliminate the need to switch to another application to apply them: opacity control, automatic drop shadows, and alpha channel support, to obtain workflow efficiency improvment.
2: We Know Your Type : This one throws a spotlight on another definite XPress improvement: Quark’s improved OpenTypeÂ® and UnicodeÂ® support and its improved glyphs palette, which they tout will reduce the need for the QuarkXPress designer to memorize keystroke combinations or use third-party applications.
3: Reduce Palette Clutter: This accentuates the benefits Quark’s interface improvments obtain for the user. The new Measurments Palette, with it’s tabbed context-sensitive behavior, is a definite improvment, Quark-wise; it brings more controls to the table than before. And in V7, QuarkXPress now has sophisticated palette grouping behavior added to the interface as well as workspace customization.
4: Synchronize your Content: Highlights the improved content synchronizaton quality of QuarkXPress 7, which now extends to box attributes and content as well as text and pictures alone.
5: Come Together. Right Now: Emphasizes the role of Quark’s Compsition Zones technology in adding the dimension of collaboration to the QuarkXPress experience.
6: Show Your True Colors: Defines the place V7’s color management tools in providing accurate and dependable color-correct output
7: Achieving Output Perfection: Explains that QuarkXPress 7’s expanded list of output formats (now including the PDF/X standards, XHTML and XML amongst others) and Quark’s new Output Styles feature allows better multi-format publishing and better control over those formats
8: Open Doors With Open Standards: QuarkXPress now groks the open Job Definition Format (via Job Jackets) and the industry standard Personal Print Markup Language.
9: Avoid Workflow Drama: This is about one of the strongest features of QuarkXPress 7, the Quark Job Jacketsâ„¢, which can be created at the beginning of a print job and travel with that job everywhere, defining and reinforcing project-wide settings.
10: Put Your Ideas In Motion: The advent of Quark Interactive Designer touts FlashÂ® authoring capabilities within a consistent and familiar interface style.
We think it a fair question to pose, in the light of the coming of Adobe’s multiplicity of CS3 editions, that are these truly upgrade-worthy reasons–are they compelling?
From the point of view of the QuarkXPress 6.x-and-before user, they seem to be subjective from a certain point. The ten reasons are, to a certain degree, dependent each on the needs, environment, and skills of the individual XPress user: not every Quark user will need to create Flash content, many freelancers probably fly straight and level without needing to output XHTML, and Job Jackets in V7, while commendable, have a famously non-intuitive interface.
Personally speaking, as a designer who uses QuarkXPress v6.5 in the workplace, there’s much to like in XPress v7, and as someone with a foot in both worlds, given the choice between upgrading and not upgrading, I’d go with the upgrade. Still, returning to the abstract, and given the continuing rivalry between Quark, Inc and XPress and Adobe InDesign, it’s hard not to imagine two points of view here.
To the seasoned QuarkXPress user, Quark’s Top Ten will prove a compelling case for upgrading. QuarkVista and PSD import were like a breath of fresh air in version 6.5, and the cited improvements do bring some long-needed functionality to the quondam electronic layout king-of-the-hill. The debut of Quark Interactive Designer is a definite feather in Quark’s cap, giving Quark designers the ability to author interactive mobile content without having to have Adobe Flash.
To the InDesign user or convert, however, the case is less compelling. Adobe’s Creative Suite 3 line is bringing major juice to InDesign, including many in-application graphic styling functions that Quark added to XPress in v7. Not only that, the seasoned InDesigner may well find that the improved Quark interface (which is to Quark’s credit), seems to be…well, InDesign-y, which grouping of palettes and a powerful context-sensitive measurements palette cleaning up palette clutter (which, ironically, was a historic QuarkXPress benefit–the lack of palette clutter in XPress versus palettes for everything in InDesign). Moreover, the grouping of functions under the XPress umbrella and the addition of an allied Flash authoring application (which Quark desicribes as creating MacromediaÂ® FlashÂ® content, despite the Macromedia brand being extinct for more than a year) suggest that Quark is beginning to see the light of a sweet Suite approach.
The Bottom Line
Quark makes a strong case for upgrading to v7, and, as a matter of fact, the top ten list is a good picture of the admirable strengths of the newest XPress. If you’re a v6.5 and earlier user, look out: Quark’s out to get you, and in a big way.