This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Should Graphic Designers learn QuarkXPress?

If you're a graphic designer, chances are that you work with Adobe InDesign every day. And it is the very best page layout program, especially as it integrates so well with other Adobe products, which have been state-of-the-art for many years now. But if you're concerned about the future, you may want to consider learning QuarkXPress.

The good news is that you don't have to do it now. Or maybe ever. And you may never have to learn a new pieces of software that replaces something that you have years of experience in. But it's not too early to change your mindset.

When QuarkXPress took over Page Maker in the 1990s, it caught a lot of people unprepared. Their mindset was that they had learned a particular software program, knew where all the buttons were, and that was that. And when InDesign took over in the early 2000s, it did the same thing to people who were unable to move from QuarkXPress. Yeah, it's not fair, but tell me something that I don't already know.

When I started my career as a graphic designer, I had a boss who described computers as "boxes with wires coming out of them". PC, Apple, it didn't matter. Sit down and learn it. And I carried that mindset through a successful career, and then on to teaching graphic design.

If you want to count on something, count on change. And when something new comes along, and everyone else is rolling their eyes and whimpering about how much time they had spent learning something, raise your hand and volunteer to do the new thing.

• Don't think Photoshop, think rasters.

• Don't think Illustrator, think vectors.

• Don't think Dreamweaver, think web design.

• Don't think InDesign, think page layout.

Whatever changes come along you will be able to adapt to them. And right now there may be a revolution in the software that you will be the among the first graphic designers to master. And ten years from now you will look back with amazement that so few people were prepared to make that change.

By the way, here is a neat trick that I used to share with my students back in the '90s. If someone needs you to use QuarkXPress, spell it correctly. No one wants a graphic designer who is so sloppy that they write Quark Express. A tiny detail, but graphic designers understand.