25 May 2006

[design] QuarkXPress 7 Is In The Wild

On 23 May, the long-awaited QuarkXPress 7 was released by erstwhile DTP king Quark, Inc.

It, as I've intimated here, boasts new features:
  • Transparency ("color-level" transparency)
  • Composition Zones, which allow for mulitple layout artists to work on a single document.
  • An improved interface, with dockable and undockable floating palettes and a much-improved context sensitive Measurments palette, allowing users to approach an InDesign-like experience (access of most all functions through palettes), but enough like the traditional Quark UI that Quarksters don't have to change thier ways.
  • Job jackets, which enable project specifications to travel with the file itself.
  • And the most unique feature, for Quark: a street price of $749 (about $250 less than previous versions) and an upgrade price of $249, regardless of version, from version 3 through version 6.5. As Sandee Cohen points out here (at CreativePro.com) that's a significant improvment from earlier, where Quark charged you more depending on the age of the version you upgraded from.
The importance of the apparent new price philosophy should not be underestimated. One of the most frequent complaints about Quark's flagship is the high initial price-more than $1000–especially in a world where Adobe's Creative Suite offers vector and pixel illustration (Illy and PS), Acrobat for bashing up your PDFs and GoLive for taking it all on the web for just a fistful of dollars more.

The only competition for QuarkXPress 6.5 wasn't Adobe, though...it awas also QuarkXPress itself, specifically QuarkXPress 4. 5 wasn't recieved well and 6 didn't compel. The new XPress looks like just the sort of XPress that Quarksters have been wanting, and should keep committed Quark fans "on the rez".

Of course, because of past sins, Quark has lost a lot of former users; it's position at the top of the DTP heap (enterprise and single user) can no longer be seen as secure. Adobe's insurgency has kicked Quark in the ass, and after the cool reception 6 and 6.5 got, Quark finally brings it with 7.

I wouldn't expect this to be the InDesign "killer" (an ironic term, that), however. The shops and indviduals that have switched to Adobe aren't likely, given the many reasons why they left, switch back to Quark. I personally wouldn't say that XPress has pulled even with InDesign, exactly, but XPress 7 will keep Quark in the game...and keep Adobe innovating.

Having used both, while QuarkXPress 7 is a very good product now indeed, the company that makes it still has to stay on the game to keep up.

Really, regardless of whether or not you're a hardcore Quarkster or an unabashed InDesignista, we're all gonna win on this one. Quark's going to keep Adobe on its toes, and back the other way as well.

Quark, Inc: http://www.quark.com
QuarkXPress 7: http://www.quark.com/products/xpress/


Ujwal Tickoo said...

Hi Samuel,
Thanks for the comment on my blog which basically introduced me to your cool blog! Have been in the DTP world for a long time and because of the size of the blogosphere didnt stumble upon your posts. Am going to be a frequent vistor now:)
Love the Designorati site.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Hi, Ujwal!

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the visit and the thoughtful comment. Also thanks for mentioning Designorati. I'm especially proud to say I get to associate with Pariah and the gang there.

FWIW, I wouldn't have stumbled on yours, either, were it not for http://www.gfxdesignblog.com/ (Graphic Design Blog). Your posts are well-writtend and insightful, and I think your question about Quark v. InDesign is quite timely.

PS: you might enjoy another site I contribute to, QuarkVSInDesign.com.

For those who might be stumbling on this comment, Ujwal's blog is here:

We would indicate a visit...