HOW Sweet It Was! Thoughts from a design conference — part 1

I’m just back from the HOW Design Conference in Austin, Texas, where I presented a three-hour pre-conference session (attendees paid extra money to attend) on “QuarkXPress Integration with Adobe’s Creative Suite.” Many people wanted details about how specific features worked, but many others were more interested in gathering evidence to bring back to their companies — these “lucky” souls were charged by their companies with deciding on a software upgrade strategy, and needed to justify their decision to others at their companies.

I thoroughly enjoyed being thanked at the end by people who loved using QuarkXPress, who are now empowered with knowledge to reply to InDesign promoters. The two-way drag-and-drop support for Adobe documents in QuarkXPress 8 was a huge selling point, as was Quark’s unique ability to instantly export Web-ready layouts and complex Flash animations.

Here are some of the other “Oh, wow!” eye openers:

  • Quark’s set of Bezier Pen tools
  • Adjusting layers, channels and paths in native Photoshop documents
  • Advanced control for hanging text, including punctuation
  • Applying advanced Photoshop-level Picture Effects on pictures
  • Sharing content between projects, with real-time updates
  • Quark CopyDesk, a long-cherished tool for copy writers and editors who need to edit text and pictures, but who don’t need the full feature set of QuarkXPress
  • Export any combination of page items to Web-ready and Flash-ready formats
  • Dragging pictures onto the Desktop to export them

Overall, the thing that hit me hardest was the vast lack of awareness of what QuarkXPress could do. It’s understandable, I suppose. Most of us use QuarkXPress to produce the same kinds of projects, over and over. It’s a problem that Adobe will soon face with InDesign, and something I’ll try to help clarify in my next post.