Creating packaging designs is more complicated than ever, despite all the gains and benefits of computer-to-plate (CTP) imaging and digital design. In the days of film, it didn’t matter what creative application you used – QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign, for example – because in the end, the creative work became film, which any packaging manufacturer could accept.
Then came CTP, and film stepped aside and allowed digital workflow to take center stage. No longer was film trafficked; rather, digital files became the means for exchanging packaging content. It became increasingly important what design application a creative director uses, and what types of digital file formats a package printer may (or may not) accept. One such format is CS5 (Adobe’s Creative Suite 5).
There will always be loyal QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign fans, who stick with their favorite creative application, no matter what the other developer may offer. But greater numbers of package designers find that it’s not a matter of choosing one application versus the other. Instead, they find themselves enmeshed in a creative workflow that requires the use of both Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress solutions. One solution, Q2ID, an InDesign CS5 plugin by Markzware, quickly handles QuarkXPress content converting to InDesign.
Design of the times
Caleb Clauset owns 2cdesign, a creative agency and consultancy based in Silver Spring, MD. This creative professional splits his time between managing the firm, creative design, and globe trotting on consulting projects for which he helps publishers, creative agencies, and printing businesses build the most efficient digital workflows.
Clauset has been a witness to the evolution of design tools for the graphic arts and recalls, “I actually started out in my career using Adobe PageMaker, but quickly switched over to QuarkXPress. I used QuarkXPress until 2001. But when Adobe introduced InDesign, I started playing with that, and eventually switched over completely to InDesign.”
While Clauset continues to hold a license for QuarkXPress, he says, that he’s using the application less often. “I haven’t had the need to open up QuarkXPress in months,” he confides. “When I do, it’s usually to do a little bit of document clean-up work before I use Q2ID.”
Clauset admits that he was initially skeptical about any tool that promised a true conversion from one application to the next. “I was kind of reluctant to buy Q2ID at first,” he recalls. “I checked out the information on the Web site, and the documentation was pretty thin. I really wanted to now more about it before I plunked down $200. But I had a job that I needed to turn around in a day, and I knew I needed this tool. If I had to recreate the file from scratch, in InDesign, I knew it would take me between eight and 10 hours.” He soon discovered why the technical documentation for Markzware Q2ID was “thin,” as he mentioned.
“I bought the software, installed it, and found that the coolest thing about it was that it, too, is so thin!” Clauset affirms. “There’s no user interface and nothing to learn. Essentially, it does its job, but it’s completely transparent. It’s the best kind of plug-in. You install it, hit “File” and “Open,” and InDesign opens your document. That’s it.” QuarkXPress converting to InDesign content takes mere minutes, rather than hours of duplicating work that process once required. “Q2ID maps everything that Quark does to the InDesign equivalent,” he adds. “If it’s a table in Quark, it becomes a table in InDesign, and so on.”
InDesign and Q2ID QuarkXPress Creative InDesign CS5 Plugin