Planet Quark Begins Its Orbit Today

PQ LaunchIt’s not every day that you get to launch a planet. This one is dedicated to the users of the most powerful content publishing program on THIS planet: QuarkXPress.

Planet Quark is an independent website. It was created by users of Quark products, for users of Quark products. It focuses on the reality of being a Quark user, with features such as:

Our “About” page pretty much sums up who we are and what we’re doing.

But why now? Why put all this effort into creating a Quark-focused website? For me, it’s because of the reactions I’ve witnessed from QuarkXPress 7
users — which are:

Relief. Then excitement. Relief that Quark has finally put together an upgrade that puts all doubt to rest about whether to stay with the product. And then unprecedented excitement about the innovative, unique features that Quark has introduced to the content publishing world.

Indeed, those were my exact reactions nearly two years ago when I saw early versions of QuarkXPress 7. Since then, my excitement has only increased by seeing users thrilled by unique, innovative features such as intelligent transparency and drop shadows, professional-level manipulation of native Photoshop and other graphics files, automatic color management, real-time collaboration features, and a completely new way to guarantee there will be no output problems.

Somehow, Quark managed to add all these new capabilities without rearranging their time-proven, efficient interface. In other words, everything’s where you expect it to be!

Meanwhile, Quark’s programming wizards have been continually releasing even more improvements for us, the users. Quark Interactive Designer was the first big, knock-your-socks-off surprise. Create Flash animations and presentations from within QuarkXPress? Using the tools and experience I’ve already got? What?! That certainly opens up a whole new world of business opportunities for users.

And then Quark releases Quark XPert Tools, for FREE. These XTensions add dozens and dozens of incredibly useful new features to QuarkXPress — features that in many cases we’ve been waiting years for.

And most recently, QuarkXPress Server 7. Talk about the future — being able to serve up graphically rich, typographically elegant, personalized designs for ANY viewing or output experience? From existing QuarkXPress content? Using the QuarkXPress interface? I have to say it again: What?!

That’s a lot to grasp in just one release. And that’s the happy challenge of Quark’s marketing department: how to convey these tremendous improvements to their user base. To do that, Quark has been taking it on the road with their free day-long Symposiums, online seminars, and appearances at conferences. They’re giving away training videos in the box and online. Free training materials and software for graphic arts educators. Seriously reduced educational prices. $249 upgrades from any version of QuarkXPress. It seems like they’re taking this bull by the horns.

I have been fortunate to witness a renaissance of invention and a reversal of attitude at Quark, and I’m out-of-my-skin excited to be sharing this new road with other QuarkXPress users. Off we go…