At last week’s Graphics of the Americas expo in Miami Beach, I took some time to visit the Wolfsonian museum. This unusual museum focuses on what they call “Thinkism”, or how our gadgets, appliances and design movements reflect the dominant thinking of the time. In the building’s lobby is a beautiful and impressive Dynamo from the 1880s. (A Dynamo is a mechanical device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.)
It occurs to me that the Quark Transformation Engine announced this morning by Quark is essentially a Dynamo. It converts the sweat equity contained in documents from Word, InDesign, InCopy, QuarkXPress, and other formats, into bits and pieces that can be used for entirely different purposes. The idea is very similar to mechanical-to-electrical energy conversion, in that it takes the energy that is “glued” to a specific location and allows it to be distributed over great distances for an unlimited variety of uses. Very clever.
As far as I know, Adobe’s efforts in this area are limited to the file formats produced by Adobe applications, so Quark’s direction may be more flexible — and therefore more useful. As I said, very clever.
And by the way, I thoroughly enjoyed the Wolfsonian. Some of my favorite items were artifacts from early World Expositions; the best early designs for toasters, vacuum cleaners, telephones and radios; depression-era artwork designed to encourage and uplift people — all of it beautiful and fascinating. You know you’re in for some fun when the “greeter” at the elevator is an 8-foot metal “Wrestler” from 1929.
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.