Designing magazines using QuarkXpress

I’m designing a school magazine and I searched for the right program for the job. Many people recommended QuarkXpress for professional designing. I tried it and found its interface to provide basic functions. My questions are: What makes QuarkXpress a professional program? What can it do that photoshop/word can’t? And what are the tasks that professional designers find in QuarkXpress?

The different programs are used for different tasks.

Word: Used for typing (word processing). Imagine, in an old-fashioned newsroom, the reporter sitting at his typewriter, banging out copy. Now, when he’s finished typing that, those typewritten pages don’t just go straight to the presses. They have to be prettied up. They go to the person doing layout and typesetting. (That’s why you need Quark.) Now, Word can do more things to text than an old typewriter can, but it’s not as good as Quark.

Quark/InDesign: Quark, while long a favorite, has been almost killed off by Adobe InDesign, which ripped off Quark’s features to marvelous effect. These programs are used to do layout (positioning text and images on a page) and typesetting (making sure that the text is the right font, right size, proper spacing, proper hyphenation, etc.). Quark and InDesign are also great for flowing text. (That’s a verb.) When you have a multi-page story/article/book, you generally set up a template so that each subsequent page looks more or less the same (body text in the middle, maybe in 3 columns, page numbers at top or bottom, name of publication at top or bottom, ads to one side or the other, etc.) and then flow the text into those pages, so that the story automatically fills up the space available on page 1, then page 2, then page 3, etc.

Photoshop: Photoshop is an image-manipulation tool. The exact analogue for it is the photographer’s darkroom at the newspaper. Someone brings in raw film, then you take it into the Photoshop and touch up and manipulate the photos as necessary. Nowadays, Photoshop has grown way beyond mere photo touch-up, and you can use it to design Web pages, etc.

Illustrator: Used for creating vector art. Google vector art to get a better explanation, but a basic difference is that vector art acts like computer fonts (which can be scaled to any size without loss of quality) rather than the bitmap images you work on in Photoshop (where the image gets jagged/grainy if you enlarge it too much). Illustrator is excellent for creating single-page designs, and the only thing to use to create business logos, etc.

If you’re currently a student, and plan to use the skills you’re learning, out in the real world . . . learn InDesign. That’s what the pros are using now. The one thing that ticked me off about Quark was each time they came out with a new version they’d wait a year or two before selling it as an upgrade. If you wanted to be current, you had to pay the full price for the new version. I will never forgive them for that greedy policy, and I’m very happy using InDesign instead.

If you really don’t know why you shouldn’t use Photoshop or Word for a newsletter, there are some really basic things you’re not understanding.

Well, the OP does have a point, sort of. The “professional package that is InDesign” is not, but should be what a regular word processor’s “Print Preview” feature looks like. The whole typesetting universe is constantly behind the times and software woefully limited for what it does. It gets the job done, for a very narrow definitions of job, but the printing industry is incredibly set in their ways and whatever works for them, works. The fact that a package that costs nearly a grand has a feature set that can be best described as “LaTeX vomiting all over MS Paint” is pretty pathetic.

There’s really nothing that makes QuarkXpress or InDesign “professional” applications other than the fact that what they do is what they do, and it would be a huge pain in the ass to do in Photoshop and pretty much impossible in Word. There is no reason to innovate when you can just throw some XML and transparency at something and call it a new version. If you compare latest Photoshop to say Deluxe Paint from 1986, and then latest InDesign to Ventura from 1986 it becomes painfully obvious how little has changed.

I know that what I’m going to need is to creat a template for the pages. The template should divide the page into columns, determine the size and type of the font, position pictures, and have a header and footer.

What I need to know is the other possibilities of such professional programs that would make my work much more easier.

For years, Quark got away with extremely crappy customer service because they were the only game in town; PageMaker was a VERY distant second. When I was working pre-press and a “RageMaker” file came in, whoever picked up that job groaned very loudly.

I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you looking for alternatives to Quark or InDesign? Because what you’re describing (mulitpage documents, templates, columns of text, etc) is EXACTLY what those programs do and excel at.

Think of it this way: you create your content in Photoshop (edit raster images), Word (write copy), and Illustrator (draw graphs, logos, and other “line art”). Then you assemble your pages in a page layout program, which gives you exact control over placement and layout of your page.

Professional page layout programs possibilities list:

begin list
Adobe InDesign
QuarkXPress
end list.

That’s all. Really. Either one will work for what you’re doing, but if you’re going into the field professionally, I’ll echo the call to learn InDesign. I laid out my college’s ~45 page literary magazine (with photos as well) in InDesign using pretty much the exact process that Turek outlined. I laid out a friend’s ~228 page softcover book in InDesign as well. Every day we publish, I lay out some pages of my college’s newspaper on InDesign. It is an incredibly versatile tool, and doing any one of those things in Word or Photoshop would have been a tremendously difficult and frustrating thing to do. You can use Photoshop for word processing and Word for rudimentary photo manipulation, but I’d recommend against those as well.

There IS an open-source program that seems to have many of the same features, though I haven’t used it and therefore I don’t know how well it actually works. It is Scribus.

Technically, you could use Adobe FrameMaker as well. Technically, you could also give a box of rabid weasels as a housewarming gift…

FrameMaker can be very good for maintaining consistency, especially in long documents with multiple sections/chapters. It neatly handles styles, conditional text, and XML/SGML structure. It performs basic word processing and graphical functions. It helps you create solid PDF output. However, it is near-universally reviled for its difficulty of use and utterly oblique bugginess. I’ve used FrameMaker for years (I’m on version 7.2 at the moment), and the best thing I can say about it is: It’s better than Word.

Oh, come on! All these journalists and no one’s suggested CCI yet? Sure, it’s kind of a steep learning curve and it’ll cost six figures to set it up, but once you get it you can work at The New York Times if you so please. :smiley:

Seriously, I would recommend you pick up a copy of InDesign, or the whole Adobe Creative Suite if you can swing it. They do sell it for academic pricing - I think InDesign by itself is about $200 and the suite with InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop runs about $500.

Right now I’m using PageMaker 7.0, which has served me well for the publication of a small monthly magazine for five years. Basically, I’ve used versions of Pagemaker for the last 20 years or so. During that time, I’ve worked at a weekly newspaper, a small job printing shop, and for laying out brochures and ads for a tourism office.

I’ve never really had a problem with a printing company accepting a PageMaker file.

How does InDesign differ?

You’re using Pagemaker for a print publication?? :eek:

While I fully acknowledge the ascendency of InDesign, at this point I still use Quark only because I am more familiar with the program. I anticipate that this will change shortly, as I am already producing one-off designs and preliminary templates for newsletters and brochures using InDesign. Perhaps the most important advantages InDesign has shown has been superior PDF creation and full compatibility (including most keyboard shortcuts) with other Adobe products (Photoshop and Illustrator primarily for print publications) but honestly IMO Quark also gets the job done: either are simply tools and a good designer can use either to good purpose. That being said, if you are just starting out, InDesign is probably the best one to get into from the get-go. You’ll avoid headaches in the long run.

Yes, but it seems it wasn’t really all that long ago when I was using a CompuGraphic, an X-Acto knife and hot wax. . . And thirty years ago at my first job, I used to hand set lead type from a California job case.

How many kids today know where the term “leading” comes from?

Hey, I still know how to use a ruling pen!

They don’t even know what leading is, let alone where the word comes from. By thirty years ago, I had moved up to a Mergenthaler V-I-P. Remember paper tape?

I don’t remember paper tape from personal experience, but my grandfather was in the composing room at the New Bedford Standard-Times and used to bring home punched rolls.

The shop where I started working had offset and letterpress departments. For small jobs like dance tickets, I would often hand set type and run the job on a hand-fed Chandler and Price press. We had a Heidelburg letterpress, too. Most of our lead type came from a larger shop up the street.

The reason I mentioned “leading” was that Adobe PageMaker does still use the term.

When I started on PageMaker in the mid-1980s, it was made by Aldus. Adobe bought it later.