Quarkxpress v. InDesign - opinions?

We’ll be adding some Macs to our exclusively PC office soon, partly so we can have more graphic design capabilities. I believe I’ll be asked to choose either Quarkxpress or InDesign as part of that transition. I haven’t used Quarkxpress in years and my experience with InDesign is on the PC where it seems mighty difficult to use (we will get training with either platform). We’re hoping the new software will be easy to learn - currently, we’re saddled with MS Publisher, which seems to have a reputation as the dim-witted half-brother of graphic design software.

I’ll be working on graphics-laden fliers, brochures, mailings and newsletter-type offerings. Our web-publishing needs from this change are currently nil but that may change down the road, does either program offer a major advantage in that area?

Quark is on its way out. InDesign interfaces beautifully with all the Adobe products so you can just click on a image in InDesign to open it in illustrator/photoshop and edit it, save it and update it in InDesign. And Quark 7 can’t handle native Illustrator files. I’d advise going with InDesign.

I am very much a Mac person, but I’d like to point out that if you’re considering Adobe products (or even Microsoft Office), the PC can do everything a Mac can do, and sometimes better. My office is currently struggling with the fact that our designers (we create courtroom graphics) use primarily Macs, but our clients are almost exclusively on PC’s. This becomes a problem when we create editable PowerPoint files created with fonts that are not native or standard to the PC. The client either has to install our weirdo font, or we have to created the show with boring old Arial, or, we build everything in Illustrator and create static images which are then dropped into PPT.

I can vouch for this, I’ve been using a PC as a graphic designer for over ten years. It really saves me a lot of headaches working with a PC office.

That’s a really stupid reason.
If you don’t want this to be a possible problem just:
a) Load all the Macs with the “standard” boring PC fonts.
2) Have a list of “safe” fonts.
3) Don’t assume that everyone has the same fonts loaded that you do.

I can’t speak as to how Quark is now, but when I got this job 4 years ago, they were/are on PCs using Indesign. If you have a good instructor, they’ll help you realize everything from Quark works almost exactly the same in Indesign, just with a different label. i.e. runaround=text wrap. You can even set your shortcuts to be Quark’s shortcuts, but I stopped because it was messing me up between all the PC/Mac and ILL/PS/ID. (I still use Mac at home)

Text wrap is the thing in Indesign which still occasionally trips me up. Instead of treating every object as a piece of paper laid down on the board and the paper on top has dominant run around, all the objects can have their own settings and any one of them can be the dominant one.

We use a CMS system. If this is what you’re new to, it would be the thing that’s sounding complicated to you. It creates a link between the Incopy doc (text in the article) similar to a link that a placed image has. So everytime the editor works on text, we’ll know and be reminded to ‘refresh’ the article. Every text box has a label (head, deck, body, etc.) and every paragraph in those boxes uses paragraph styles (head, deck, body, subhead, etc). For web reuse, we collect the Indesign and Incopy docs, and send them to another group. I’m told they have templates that use the text box labeling and paragraph styles and it all gets formatted for web automatically. There’s also an email blast thing, but I don’t have to deal with that, I just know it exists because one of my editors has to do several a week.

I was supposed to be in training for 3 days but was done in one and a half.

When I was checking out the new Quark a year ago in the Apple store, it didn’t seem that much changed at all, and they hadn’t copied any of the really cool things that Adobe had done in Indesign. I’m only on CS2, and CS4 is coming out soon, check out some of the videos on Adobe’s site to see the cooler web stuff that they’re including in that version.

A really stupid reason for what? Not getting Macs? Your solutions only go so far. First, we encounter problems with line breaks when reading files cross-platform. In the legal world, something as seemingly insignificant as this can mean the difference between admissible and inadmissible evidence. You can tell me that we should proofread everything, which we do, but when you’re dealing with presentations containing up to 500 or more slides, and a big caseload, anything that will minimize possilbe mistakes and inconsistencies is extremely helpful.

Second, we have noticed several cross-platform anomalies in PPT (I know the OP was asking about Indesign), in which one version of PPT doesn’t play well with another. We can’t anticipate what exact systems each of our clients are using, so we have to keep things almost lowest common denominator.

My whole point is that if you’re a shop that is accustomed to PC’s, there is no real need to set up a whole suite of Mac workstations to accomplish what the OP is suggesting, and your potential for avoiding cross-platform funny business is certainly increased. I’ll say that Macs a lot cooler, but consider also additional IT expenses if you want to have everything networked.

I have InDesign CS on this PC right now, and I’m hoping some of the classwork will help me figure it out - I took a class for the software a couple years ago on a Mac and its a lot different.

I appreciate the feedback, I didn’t realize Quark was on the downslope. Can anyone give me some ideas of what I’m going to like better about InDesign over Publisher?

Quark is dead. Dead dead dead and gone. If people are still using it, it’s usually just because they haven’t upgraded yet. With InDesign CS and CS2, you could even open Quark files.

The school of printing at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology–which is considered pretty cutting edge in the industry) wasn’t even teaching it anymore by around 2003. I started school in 2001 and only used it once or twice my freshman year. InDesign is what you want to go with–also, it’s much less of a hassle on the learning curve front if you’re going to use other Adobe products for design.

As far as InDesign being difficult to use…I’m not sure why you think that. If you’re used to using Quark and are switching to InDesign, the hotkeys are either the same by default or can be easily switched. I think they were set to the same as Quark’s by default, because Adobe is cutthroat like that.

PCs are also just fine for designing on. The reason people usually opted for Macs when using Adobe product is because of the business connection between the two. They’ve been slowly drifting apart. (cite from 2004: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1012-5181434.html) Cross-compatibility between platforms was becoming pretty standard even a few years ago, and I really haven’t run into any issue with the latest Adobe software.

A few caveats regarding that, though:

  • Apples tend to have some nice fonts that I, personally, enjoy using. But those are easy enough to buy (OpenType! yay!) and install on PCs.
  • When using PCs, avoid using TrueType fonts–they get all nasty when it comes to printing. Stick with OpenType fonts.

RE: the advantage of InDesign over Publisher

I’ve only used Publisher a few times, because it irritated me so after viewing InDesign. A few things I remember are some tools for textboxes, displaying the pages, displaying images, and hotkeys were either missing entirely from Publisher or didn’t give me as much control. InDesign allows me to get into a good flow, while Publisher seemed to get in my way. But that’s just my personal response to the software. To me, InDesign was much more enjoyable to work with.

I’ve been working on web projects more lately and I haven’t used InDesign regularly for a year and a half or so, so maybe someone currently working in print will have some more specifics for you.

I just want to add my voice to two points. First, get away from MS Publisher as soon as you can. It can’t handle a serious shop and doesn’t have the options you will need. It’s a poor excuse for a program.

Second, an informal poll of my graphic-design friends seems to be the InDesign is the way to go right now. As far as the learning curve, my experience wouldn’t be useful here, as I had 20 years of experience with Pagemaker and I find InDesign to be quite similar, and for me, easy to learn. YMMV.

However, these apps have been running neck-in-neck for a while. I’l bet that the next version of Quark, assuming it isn’t abandoned by the developer, will leapfrog over InDesign and the advantage will flip-flop back until InDesign brings out a new version…

I wonder how many commercial printers would even want to touch a Publisher file. I haven’t used Publisher in ages, but I could almost guarantee that it would not have the imaging and preflight capabilities that Indesign has. I think we can safely call Indesign the standard of the industry at this point in time.

I know my main exhibit printer recommends Publisher for people that do not have the means to use InDesign or Quark - but most of their work is campus oriented so not for pro designers. He had the same problem as me, with people submitting huge Powerpoint files to print.

At my previous job, I did a lot of large scale printing for people - You would not believe the crap files people would submit to us. For some reason, almost everyone would make their posters in Powerpoint! I have no idea why they anyone would use video display software as a publishing program.

Anyway, I was trained in Quark in Journalism school up to 2004, and even then the profs were saying most people used Indesign in the real world. I didn’t find Indesign CS3 particularly hard to pick up with my Quark learning, and its compatibility with Illustrator, Photoshop, and the Bridge tool is really marvelous beyond words. I’ve used it on both Macs and PC, and didn’t find it that difficult to switch back and forth.

When InDesign came out it was described as the “Quark Killer.” But that was premature hyperbole. I’m equally proficient and comfortable with Quark and InDesign; it really doesn’t matter to me which I use. But more and more people are using InDesign, so just to avoid problems that’s what I’ve been using.

But definitely forget Publisher.

One of the main reasons we are switching is that none of the three print vendors we deal with work with Publisher. We’d started saving items as PDFs and getting them to the vendors that way but the preference would be to have InDesign or whatever as the program to use.

One of InDesign’s greatest assets is that its interface is very Illustratorish. I found it confusing at first, but then I realized it was basically Illustrator, with Quarky abilities. It uses bizarre terminology for the Quark veterans (I still say “collect” instead of “package”), but it doesn’t take long to get into the InDesign groove if you’re fluent in other Adobe interfaces. And the data merge abilities are legendary. I use it frequently for mailings.

(sob) I loved Quark, but I do realize it’s quickly becoming a thing of the past. I was a Mac lover, too, and my husband, also a Mac afficionado, sometimes fantasize about setting up a Mac network parallel to our PC network, so we can have the best of both.

Indesign, definitely. Quark is fading rapidly, and good riddance.

This makes me sad, but not from a practical standpoint. The Quark designers started here in Colorado and I remember when they were researching how we put newspaper pages together back in the early 1980s. I finally got to work with my first QuarkXPress in 1990 and I was blown away by the fact that the designers had incorporated our actual tools as virtual tools in the program. It was a dream to work with and I loved it. It’s hard to believe how long ago that all was. :frowning:

I don’t know much about Quark RE the company or development cycle. Is there any chance they are working on an upgrade or is the product no longer being maintained or upgraded?