Workflow and responsibilities might have been clearly divided between a magazine’s creative and production executives in the early days of digital design—the days when art directors could simply concentrate on aesthetics, while the production team fretted over the mechanics of getting that design to reproduce in print with integrity.
Today, the lines between the two disciplines are blurred, and creative professionals are increasingly relied upon to manage tasks once associated with production, such as preflighting page files and outputting final-format digital files (PDF/X-1a being the preferred format for publications).
So, it seems fitting that magazine creative folks expect so much more today from a design and layout tool; they need tools to help them create those aesthetically pleasing pages, but also to enable them to work faster, more efficiently and in a variety of mediums.
“I am most concerned with how the tool works in my overall production workflow—inside the office, as well as with customers and service providers,” explains Casey Kiernan, publisher of Extreme Boats Magazine.
Equally important, however, is how “user friendly” the tool is for the art director.
For example, George Lohin, art director for What’s Up Kids Family Magazine and a fan of Adobe InDesign, says that even the smallest time-consuming tasks add up. “The keyboard commands, menus, etc., [in InDesign] are similar, if not identical to, the rest of Creative Suite. This just means I have more time to think about designing and creating, than wasting my time saying to myself, ‘What was that command in Quark again?’ ” he says.
Though for many years QuarkXPress was the only game in town for magazine layout, Adobe InDesign infringed upon Quark’s solo reign more than a decade ago. Today, the two programs each have their die-hard fans. And both solutions have evolved in recent years to build in features that have significantly improved ease of use, as well as enabled collaboration and integration with other applications.
“[Adobe] Creative Suite’s text handling and application-suite integration make the difference for us,” notes Andrew Ladson, director of creative services for Mercury Creative Services, a Rockville, Md.-based custom publisher.
“Mercury [has] printed association, trade and special-interest magazines for over 37 years, and has always had an assembly/composition function that’s evolved with technology over the course of our history,” Ladson recalls. “For our design department, deploying the best tools available to help our customers is a primary mission.”
A Look at the Solutions
Both Quark and Adobe offer new features and capabilities in their latest versions. Here’s a look at what they offer:
Adobe Systems Inc.
Solution: Adobe InDesign CS3
Features: The Adobe InDesign CS3 Publishing Platform is designed to provide a versatile foundation for dynamic publishing workflows, with features to help create richer, more complex documents, and reliably output pages to print and electronic media. It integrates with other Adobe tools, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, InCopy and Dreamweaver software. New productivity features have been added, including Multi-file Place, Quick Apply, faster frame fitting, and a visual Pages panel. For print-to-Web workflows, InDesign users may export content as XHTML. Text is controlled through intelligent text-handling features; for example, users may import styled text from Microsoft Word files, apply complex text wraps around objects; and comprehensively replace fonts.
Pricing: $699; upgrades available from $199.
Solution: Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium
Features: Billed as a designer’s dream toolkit for print, Web and mobile publishing, Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium combines all-new versions of tools for producing professional page layouts and interactive content experiences: Adobe InDesign CS3 for page layout; Photoshop CS3 Extended for specialized image editing; Illustrator CS3 for vector graphics creation; Flash CS3 Professional for interactive design; Dreamweaver CS3 for Web design and development; and Acrobat 8 Professional for Adobe PDF workflows.
Pricing: $1,799; upgrades from $599.
Solution: Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection
Features: Adobe’s top-of-the-line, multimedia creative collection, the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection comprises all of the tools found in the Design Premium edition, plus Adobe Bridge CS3, Adobe Version Cue CS3, Adobe Device Central CS3, Adobe Acrobat Connect, Adobe Dynamic Link, Adobe Fireworks CS3, Adobe Contribute, Adobe After Effects CS3 Professional, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, Adobe Soundbooth CS3, Adobe Encore, and more.
Pricing: $2,499; upgrades from $1,399.
Magazine publishing customers include: Big Magazine Inc., Clear Magazine, Future Network USA, Hearst Magazines, The Magazine Group, Rodale
Contact: (800) 585-0774, www.Adobe.com
Solution: QuarkXPress 7
Features: QuarkXPress 7 provides creative professionals with essential design, collaboration, and production tools. Users may independently control the transparency of text, images, frames and tables. Images may be managed with in-the-layout image editing, which includes scaling, cropping and rotation capabilities. Multiple users are able to collaborate on a single layout. And with production and output intention in mind, users can define styles, colors and specifications at the beginning of each new layout, and directly export to PDF. QuarkXPress 7 now includes the award-winning Quark Interactive Designer for creating Flash output—with no programming required—and Quark XPert Tools Pro designed for productivity gains. Macintosh and Windows versions available.
Pricing: $799 (for either electronic download or boxed shipment).
Magazine publishing customers include: Not available for publication.
Contact: (303) 894-8888, www.Quark.com PE
Gretchen A. Peck is a freelance author who writes about the international printing and publishing industries.