VINE VOICEHALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 April 2014
QuarkXPress 10 is a substantially revamped QuarkXPress with a new graphics engine that makes the interface as true-to-print as is possible on screen. Improvements in both packages mean that Quark and InDesign now have 90% the same features, though each retaining their own style. The major difference today is that Quark is a buy-to-own package, whereas InDesign is now only available on a subscription basis.
I've been using Quark since 1996, and InDesign since it came out. Until the latest crop of computers and upgrades, InDesign was more beautiful, but Quark was quicker. On the latest machines, and with the Quark 10 version, both packages are equally beautiful, and there is really no lag in using InDesign.
Quark continues to dominate in style-sheet based publishing. You can use style-sheets in InDesign, but they aren't as much a part of the package's heritage. Equally, you can use Quark without using style-sheets, but eventually you will find that some of the more advanced features require them. For example, conditional styles, which are a boon to the busy publisher, absolutely require style sheets. InDesign doesn't have a conditional styles feature, though you can probably work around it.
InDesign remains ahead in the effects you can apply. While Quark offers drop shadow, InDesign also offers inner shadow, bevel and emboss, inner and outer glow and feather. Like rounded corners in the early days of Pagemaker, these are things best used judiciously, but they are there if you want them. InDesign also offers some basic imposition features for printing booklets. These — of course — are only of use for home publishing, as a printing house will do all the imposition for you. Again, it's useful for the number of times you need it.
Both Quark and InDesign offer the ability to publish magazines as Apps — for an additional fee. I'm still coming to terms with whether this is worth the money or not. Interestingly, Quark no longer enables you to construct websites, though this was never a strong feature, though you do get a free copy of Quark 9 (as at the time of this review) when you buy Quark 10, which would allow you to do this.
With so much convergence of the products, you may find that it comes down to your preferred style of working. If you are more of a publisher-editor, Quark may be better for you. If you are more of a designer, InDesign will feel more like other Adobe products.
However, the main difference is in how you pay. Adobe requires you to pay on a monthly subscription. Quark is a buy-to-own product. In the Adobe subscription, you get everything — Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and a dozen other things for making music, videos and websites. On the other hand, Quark is a few hundred pounds for every upgrade, though the educational and charity prices are as cheap as bargain entrants like PagePlus.
If you're working commercially, the price is essentially irrelevant: for ten hours of designer time, you've paid for either package.
If you're frugally eking out an existence as a semi-pro designer or publisher, or make occasional use, then having to pay for Photoshop et al every month might seem like a lot of money. Speaking personally, I only upgraded from CS2 to CC for compatibility reasons: CS2 no longer runs on my new Mac.
Again, speaking personally, I virtually always use Quark for publishing, Illustrator for illustration, and Photoshop for photo-editing. InDesign can be configured to look and feel like Quark, but I find that the change in feel helps me into a more editor/publisher mode of thinking, which is helpful. That's just me.
For the rest, this is by far the best and most enjoyable version of Quark ever.