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 OpenType® and Unicode® 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 Flash® au­thor­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties with­in a con­sis­tent and fa­mil­iar in­ter­face style.

Seven-Up?

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 Macromedia® Flash® 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.

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12 Responses

  1. regina jenkins says:

    I need to know where i can find a com­par­i­son be­tween in-design and quark. WE use quark 7.0 for our graph­ic de­sign­ers but re­cent­ly got some out­sourced de­sign­ers tell my boss that in-design is bet­ter and that noone us­es quark, I need a back­up sto­ry on why to pro­mote quark vs. in­de­sign and what % of graph­ic de­sign­ers use in-design vs. quark, etc. can some­one help?

  2. Paul Chernoff says:

    The best thing to do is to down­load a copy of InDesign and use it in de­mo mode for 30 days, though I would al­so ad­vise buy­ing a good book. There are 2 good books out there for mov­ing from QXP to InDesign. They take dif­fer­ent ap­proach­es but both show you dif­fer­ences in phi­los­o­phy and how to do what you want in ID based on QXP ex­pe­ri­ence. I al­so learned new stuff about QXP while read­ing the books (Of course the com­par­i­son is be­tween QXP 4-6 and ID CS2).

    Before we switched to ID we found it al­most im­pos­si­ble to get any in­terns be­cause the ap­pli­ca­tions we got had on­ly ID ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause the col­leges were on­ly teach­ing ID. So I sug­gest tak­ing a sur­vey of lo­cal col­leges and see the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. You might find that there are a fair num­ber tak­ing QXP cours­es. You re­al­ly want to know the lo­cal sit­u­a­tion for this, not national.

    Which is bet­ter de­pends on a num­ber of is­sues, in­clud­ing what you de­sign. I am find­ing ID hav­ing ba­sic fea­tures that QXP lacks that are im­por­tant for mag­a­zine pub­lish­ing. People cre­at­ing ads will have dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria than me. For ex­am­ple, our staff that works on ads do not care about style sheets and mas­ter pages, but these two fea­tures are crit­i­cal to our staff work­ing on the ed­i­to­r­i­al side. And even with­in an ex­per­tise there will be dif­fer­ences of opin­ion. Concentrate on what peo­ple do­ing sim­i­lar work are using.

  3. Mjenius says:

    It all de­pends. I per­son­al­ly pre­fer Indesign, but that’s my pref­er­ence. It’s not true that “no one us­es Quark”. It all de­pends on what you do. Most cre­ative de­sign­ers lean more to­wards Indesign, while I think desk­top pub­lish­ing is still strong in Quark. For the most part I think free­lancers pre­fer Indesign be­cause it’s al­ready part of the cre­ative suite and had been burned by Quark in the past. On top that they won’t have prob­lem find­ing jobs with Indesign since it’s wide­ly used now. Assuming that you al­ready have cre­ative suite try us­ing both. Keep in mind that not every­one will like the switch to Indesign. You can de­bate if it’s worth mak­ing the switch all you want, but the ob­vi­ous an­swer is that it’s prob­a­bly best to be able to use both programs.

  4. UNIV says:

    The first thing to do is go to a more im­par­tial site, If you want hard facts, it’s very hard to get from this site, more of an Adobe backed mar­ket­ing tool, so very good for get­ting de­tails on the CS suite but not for DTP tool mar­ket comparison. 

    look at da­ta from both Company sites, look at what large Agency’s and pub­lish­ers are do­ing, as this changes based on your lo­ca­tion, while Europe is switch­ing back to XPress as a stan­dard the US is still very much split.
    Quark has the Speed and the tech­nol­o­gy and InDesign has some of the fea­tures. Mjenuius is cor­rect the on­ly rea­son free­lancers like InDesign is be­couse it’s free with the suite, and most haven’t used Quark or not since 5 at least.

  5. Curious says:

    Europe switch­ing back to QXP? Do you have any da­ta to back it up? I know a lot of print hous­es are tied to Quark, but on­ly be­cause they still use “an­cient ver­sions” and don’t want to up­grade due to costs, but pub­lish­ers and big print­ing hous­es are all in­to InDesign, at least here.

  6. UNIV says:

    I have been work­ing in pub­lish­ing for the last 25 years and work for one of the largest groups in Europe, last year we stopped the glob­al roll­out of InDesign and many of our hous­es and Agency’s have gone back to Quark, Adobe screwed our Dutch of­fice, of­fer­ing sup­port if they switched and then skipped out on them af­ter get­ting a press release.
    The gen­er­al ar­ro­gance of Adobe in Scandinavia is play­ing back in­to Quark’s hands, and Quark is do­ing a good job of com­ing back, bet­ter cus­tomer ser­vice, good strong tech­nol­o­gy and de­liv­ers on there word. All new for Quark but it’s work­ing. The in­dus­try is very small peo­ple talk, and no­body will tell Quark but there on the way back, they can’t get away with any­thing again but, bet­ter the Devil you know is the gen­er­al consensus. 

    It doesn’t take a ge­nius to work out that Quark is the in­no­va­tor and Adobe the fol­low­er in this case. Job Jackets, Composition Zones, Layout Spaces, Shared Layouts, Colour based trans­paren­cy. Real in­dus­try in­no­va­tions in the tools, pro­duc­tion driven.

    From what I see the US is be­hind in see­ing this due to the Adobe mar­ket­ing ma­chine, this web­site is a clas­sic ex­am­ple. Only pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion need­ed to get the re­sult you want, and that’s the re­sults that is the most prof­itable for the in­di­vid­ual. They look for where there pay day is coming

  7. Curious says:

    Thanks UNIV for pro­vid­ing ex­ten­sive re­ply. I’m just hob­by­ist my­self. I find QXP to be very light on re­sources and much more re­spon­sive on my sys­tem, how­ev­er I pre­fer InDesign to work in. It’s in­te­gra­tion with oth­er ap­pli­ca­tions and fea­tures are rather fan­tas­tic. Sure, it’s not per­fect, but it’s great. I haven’t worked in multi-user en­vi­ron­ment to see any (dis)advantages it has over QXP. For one user projects, it’s great.

    I just asked you to clar­i­fy a bit be­cause this is some­thing new to me. Of course, I have been read­ing all kind of sites, but ad­mit­ted­ly they are usu­al­ly pro-Adobe so this type of in­fo would most like­ly be disregarded.

    I know that ma­jor mag­a­zines here use InDesign. I al­so heard ma­jor UK Publishers moved to ID as well (and port­fo­lio of mags pub­lished with it is enor­mous) as well as some book pub­lish­ing hous­es in the US, so your com­ment sur­prised me. I’d as­sume that stop­ping mi­gra­tion process and re­turn­ing every­thing to old would cost more and be more time con­sum­ing than ac­tu­al­ly fin­ish­ing start­ed mi­gra­tion to new product.

    I’ll take your word for it though. I’m in no po­si­tion to pro­vide re­al­is­tic sit­u­a­tion. Adobe is play­ing European cus­tomers with its pric­ing. I wouldn’t be sur­prised if CS3 adop­tion is slow­er than ex­pect­ed here. Then again, Quark does ex­act­ly the same to us. Regarding sup­port – thank­ful­ly I nev­er need­ed it my­self. It would be knife in the back for Adobe to ne­glect cor­po­rate users and pro­vide them with mediocre sup­port. Quark’s icon­ic rep­u­ta­tion for bad/arrogant sup­port is prob­a­bly the main rea­son that drove peo­ple away form it. I’d sus­pect that Adobe would know otherwise.

    I wouldn’t call Adobe copy­cat. They are in­no­va­tors af­ter all when it comes to pub­lish­ing. The most cru­cial tech­nolo­gies used in that area are con­ceived in Adobe. the fact that both soft­ware (QXP and ID) are adding same/similar fea­ture is al­ways tricky. One can claim one is copy­ing oth­er, but it’s to­tal­ly ir­rel­e­vant to end user who had it first. I think the ar­eas ID lacked be­hind were more or less matched/surpassed with CS3 (PDF/PSD) sup­port…). For cur­rent Quark users, 7 is ma­jor up­date and it’s nice, but it of­fers noth­ing at­trac­tive to cur­rent ID users, IMO.

    You are cer­tain­ly right about mar­ket­ing though. It’s a pow­er­ful tool (just look at Apple). In the end, I doubt any ra­tio­nal per­son would in­vest their mon­ey sole­ly on hearsay. Both soft­ware can be test­ed and you can de­cide to make a pur­chase based on your own ex­pe­ri­ence. In cor­po­rate en­vi­ron­ments this is prob­a­bly hard/impossible, but still…

  8. Curious says:

    Please dis­re­gard my gram­mat­i­cal mis­takes. I can’t be­lieve that af­ter all these years I mistype some very ba­sic things.

  9. UNIV says:

    Are you a CS2 or 3 user?

  10. Curious says:

    I’m CS2 user. I have tri­al of CS3 in­stalled for test­ing purposes.

  11. UNIV says:

    Interesting com­ment about It’s in­te­gra­tion with oth­er ap­pli­ca­tions you made, Photoshop sup­port was far bet­ter in Quark un­til CS3 and now they are about the same, I think fea­ture to fea­ture they are much the same it’s just a mat­ter of preference.

  12. Curious says:

    I agree with you. They do things pret­ty much the same. Each has its own (dis)advantages. I just hope Quark keeps im­prov­ing XPress and start tak­ing on Adobe more ag­gres­sive­ly. More com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the two means bet­ter prod­ucts for end users. It all comes down to pref­er­ence which ap­pli­ca­tion you pre­fer to work in.

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