Jun 1, 2005

Design Community Dishes on the ‘Big Switch’

Source: Association of Alternative Newsweelies
Written by Erin Ryan

Progressivism is a core tenet of the alternative media, but most newsweeklies find this tenet lends itself more to content than form: i.e., editorial departments are expected to risk and innovate while designers are responsible for establishing a consistently styled framework.

For over 20 years, that framework was built almost exclusively in Quark, a software platform that took publishing from mechanical production to the desktop. Quark got a little too comfortable with its hold on the market, however, and Adobe crept in with some serious competition on the eve of the 21st century.

Many field tests and customer surveys later, the consensus among noted software analysts and professional designers is that while Quark has better color and Web capabilities, Adobe InDesign wins the features race in the essential categories of text and type, imaging, page layout, tables and overall quality. It didn’t take long for Adobe’s trifecta — InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator — to be unofficially declared the next techno-publishing hegemony, but Quark’s constituency has proven fiercely loyal and fiercely dependent on the only system it has ever known.

Unfortunately for Quark, loyalties are shifting as more and more papers witness the successful transitions and improved workflow of so-called “converts.” The debate is nearing the proportions of the Mac versus PC tumult, and the two camps are equally vehement about their reasons for either sticking with the program or (literally) throwing the drawing board out the window.

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