Create a beautiful magazine with QuarkXPress.

Posted in by Nazrul Islam . Filed in Graphics Design


Welcome to magazine design with QuarkXPress. In this tutorial series,  step by step we’ll create a beautiful magazine. If you’re unfamiliar with QuarkXPress, don’t be afraid, you’ll get necessary skill while creating this magazine.

When I attempted to write this tutorial, one of my friends told me “Please don’t! people will kill you only for QuarkXPress”. Thats true, now a days most graphic designer will pick Indesign to create Magazine layout or similar task. Even a lot of people hate QuarkXPress for poor documentation and some other claims that its not user friendly. What’s the fact behind it?

QuarkXPress in print industry.

QuarkXpress – a powerful and blazing fast software in print industry. Quark started it’s journey in 1987 with an initial release and after 27 years later, version 10.1 is running during writing this article in 2014. Once it was king among all desktop publishing software until Adobe joins the battle with Indesign.

The game was not so easy for Adobe itself. To compete with Quark, they first accrued another publishing software Pagemaker, which was a little competitor for QuarkXPress. Adobe forced Pagemaker’s development with his power and try to replace Quark. Result was hopeless for Adobe, Pagemaker was not so fast neither feature-rich to match QuarkXPress. Actually Pagemaker’s architecture wasn’t in a favour to achieve performance like Quark. Adobe realised this truth and start Indesign development separately in 1999. Pagemaker’s life end with version 7.0 in 2001, and some of it’s feature merged with Indesign CS2.

After 2002 Indesign starts to taking place over Quark, it become popular in new generation designer. Adobe also has a well known background in both home and corporate user. Quark was limited to some old fashioned corporate industry. They started to think like “We are legend! so why engage home user for small bucks?” That was a great mistake for Quark, truth is at the day end home user leads the corporate. Quark  doesn’t had any interest to make learning resource. Their official documentation seems a garbage collection to comparing Indesign.  Have a look on the google search trends.

quarkexpress-fall-in-searchQuark falling from mountain in google search trends. New generation designers engaged with Indesign and Adobe produce great learning resource for them. Quark even doesn’t do anything to build a user community. Their official facebook page has only 4765 follower where Indesign has 493,655.

Another disgusting matter is their price, Quark charged almost 900 USD for a single software where Adobe bundled Indesign in their Adobe Creative Suite Design Standard for 1300 USD including Photoshop and Illustrator. In DTP production, Photoshop has no real competitor till now. So if any one buy Quark + Photoshop those costs 900 + 700 = 1600USD, alternatively they can buy creative suite for Indesign+Photoshop and get another 4 software for free. Got the sense? why Quark fall behind. Quark was in a galaxy away distance to Adobe’s marketing plan.

Why QuarkXPress again?

You may have a question like Indesign has great features and price value when bundled with Creative Suite. So why QuarkXPress? Probably price game is changed from QuarkXPress 10, at last they got some sense. Price doesn’t reduced so much but they bundled a package including  Corel AfterShot Pro, Five high quality print optimised Fonts and other two utility software for 999 USD.  A massive offer actually, excluding these software price standalone QuarkXPress stands for 213 USD only. They’ve done the same tricks like Adobe. Probably its too late, Indesign already taken lead in print industry.

At this point you may still confused considering Indesign features.QuarkXpress 10 Xenon GraphicsEngine Quark doesn’t have rich toolset as Indesign, But it has something different else. Quark is outstanding fast for quick production. It can handle a large 44 inch newspaper spread sheet smoothly where Indesign has some lagging. You can’t masseur it on small single page, try on a 100 page magazine or a newspaper spread sheet. You’ll find the answer and agree that QuarkXpress is fastest page layout software. QuarkXPress 10 introduced a brand new graphics engine named Xenon, supporting retina display and hardware accelerated rendering for smooth image processing.

Professional production always bounded to dedicated time frame. You don’t have all day to mockup a single page. Mouse using is forbidden in such situation, you have to do it with keyboard shortcut mostly. Let me share my personal experience, I worked four years as a Page Mockup Artist in Newspaper industry. Most day I found final edited document at very 11th hour, then surrounded by all sub-editor and every one telling me hurry, we are crossing the deadline! Do you imagine how much pressure I’ve to handle? Quark was lifesaver on such situation. It’s simple interface and fast speed helps me to meet deadline.

Any Newspaper or Magazine designer should have similar experience. Indesign offers some complex drawing feature, but who cares about drawing in a tight shedule? If you have a artistic mind and have enough time in hand go for Indesign else chose Quark for faster production. Don’t have Quark yet? Try a 30 days test dive from here. Enough for today’s introduction and welcome to our next lesson titled QuarkXPress document setup and exploring user interface.


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