For the first time ever, representatives from arch-rival design programs Quark and InDesign convened in the same conference room Tuesday at the International Regional Magazine Association’s annual conference in Duluth, Minnesota.
Tension was kept at a minimum during the 90-minute session, as both men shared the time to explain new features from the programs. Light-hearted jokes were exchanged on both ends as attendees asked candid questions regarding the design capabilities offered from both programs. Neither Chris Luger, desktop tech services consultant from Quark Inc.’s Midwest division, nor Colin Fleming, solutions engineer at Adobe Systems Inc., would comment on the session.
Conference attendees, however, were buzzing about the session and the individual group roundtables that followed. “I think it was largely handled well,” said IRMA member and attendee Lionel Hughes, editor of Prairies North: Saskatchewan Life Magazine. “I could see the two gentlemen were under a lot of pressure and they did a good job.”
Luger explained the 160 new features found in Quark’s latest program, Quark Express 7.0, which boasts additions of more versatile pallets, split-view screens and transparency and compositions zone capability updates. Fleming followed with a modest presentation based upon the “Do what you want” motto of the Adobe InDesign program, highlighting the program’s user-friendly click and drag capabilities.
Getting the two companies to send representatives to the conference was a bit of a challenge according to Lake Superior Magazine editor Konnie LeMay, who, as a member of the conference’s hosting magazine, was the woman behind the arrangement. “At last year’s conference some of the magazines were switching from Quark to InDesign and since some of us didn’t know the difference between the two programs, we thought we’d bring them side by side this year,” she says. “It’s an important investment for [publishing] companies.”
The Quark people were more responsive to her inquiries at first, she says, and it took a little more effort to get the Adobe people to respond. The Minnesota-based sector of Adobe assisted LeMay and made arrangements with the company’s west coast headquarters. Neither speaker was paid for his services. “It’s an interesting time for these types of programs,” says LeMay. “I suspect that they are not dumb, they’ve looked at one another’s programs and they know whatﾑs out there. We didn’t expect fist-cuffs, it’s Minnesota after-all.”