Only a few years ago, Quark ruled when it came to magazine design. But that may be changing as Adobe’s InDesign, part of its Creative Suite package that includes PhotoShop and Illustrator, is taking a serious bite out of Quark’s market share.
Production directors across the publishing spectrum have either already made the switch to InDesign or are considering it. Hearst Publications, Meredith and Future Networks are some of the larger publishers that have made the move. And this year’s Quark Award, honroring the U.K.’s best-designed newspaper, went to The Daily Telegraph , which is designed with InDesign.
“We’re using Quark, but we’ll look at InDesign and consider the switch,” said Keith Hammerbeck, director of manufacturing services at Advanstar. “If we were just starting as a company, it would get serious consideration.”
The attraction of InDesign is that it is part of a package of products that publishers already use, including PhotoShop and Illustrator, and can be priced similarly or even less than Quark’s design program.
Pfingsten Publishing is in the process of switching from Quark to InDesign.
“We had budgeted at the start of the year to upgrade the Creative Suite,” said Nick Mlachak, director of operations for Pfingsten’s Financial Services Group. “So it really feels like we’re not making any extra expenditure for InDesign, while, obviously, if we had decided to upgrade with Quark, that would have been another major expense.”
Hammerbeck said the transition to InDesign would be difficult not from a user perspective but from an IT perspective. “Going from OS9 to OSX was a long, time-consuming process. They’d have their hands full again with this, but it’s probably something we should be using. InDesign would be cheaper for us to use.”
Watt Publishing made the switch slightly less than a year ago after using Quark for more than a decade. The company wanted a design system that would be able to produce PDFs quickly and would have XML capabilities.
Making the switch was not a great hardship, said Jeff Swanson, production director at Watt Publishing. “Training wasn’t difficult,” he said. “We bought some DVDs, had user meetings and worked our way through it over two months.”
Pfingsten chose InDesign after a three-step review process. First, representatives of Quark and Adobe came in to present their programs to staff members. Next, the programs were tested on Pfingsten’s system for a few weeks. Finally, a cost comparison was made.
“InDesign came out on top in every category,” said Brad Garlich, art director of Pfingsten’s Mortgage Originator. “That made the decision pretty simple.”
Garlich noted the ability to move different files from PhotoShop to Illustrator to InDesign to InCopy was a huge selling point. Pfingsten, which has six publications in two business units, had been using a fairly old version of Quark, 4.1. “We had to have all sorts of ways of getting around things in order to just make PDFs or bring certain files from one program to another,” Garlich said. “Now we don’t have to worry about that at all.” Pfingsten hopes to be completely moved over to InDesign by year’s end.
Will Eisley, Adobe’s group product manager for layout products, said, “Page layout is the `mission critical’ application for many publishers, so changing products is not undertaken lightly or often. For businesses to change they must see the bottom line benefit in dollars of switching to an all Creative Suite work flow.”
The heightened competition has pushed Quark to deliver faster on its products. Its most recent upgrade, 6.5, was free and the hope is to have the next version completed by year’s end or early next year. It will focus on such areas as multichannel publishing and collaboration with other programs. Quark has also lowered its price to educational facilities.
“Clearly Adobe has greatly improved on their offering with InDesign over PageMaker,” said Marc Hornd, strategic marketing manager for Quark’s Desktop. “And quite rightly they’ve increased their market share with what they’ve done qualitywise. ... The fact is that thousands of our customers have looked at the two offerings on the table and said, `We like what Quark is doing.’ "