No I’m not talking about menopause. I’m talking about the change a designer makes when they switch from using one layout program to another. It can be painful, frustrating, and perhaps a bit enlightening…as I am finding out now that I’ve FINALLY chosen to start all new projects in InDesign CS3. I guess that means I’m breaking up with my former love and best friend, QuarkXPress. And yes Quark, “It was you, not me.” I shouldn’t say breaking up, that seems a little too final (commitment phobic much Erin?). I’ll admit it, I still have feelings for Quark. But based on the reaction of my friends (read: printers and fellow designers), this really seems necessary. The straw that broke the designer’s back? Not being able to add a simple .25 pt stroke on some text in Quark…grrrr. And the fact that more and more professional printers aren’t even equipping themselves with Quark anymore. It’s the Adobe family or bust apparently.
I know what you are thinking, “How could she have stayed in this relationship for SO LONG?” It’s true, I should have changed when I was still on Quark v.4. Then I would at least be able to open up my files directly in InDesign. But you get comfortable and you’re used to the control panels. You think, I’ll get out and try something new…explore my options. We’ll take a Ross & Rachel type break. Does Quark really even need to know I’m looking? But then that tight deadline rolls around, you’re stressed out and next thing you know your back with your old boyfriend Quark again. Frustrated with your lack of communication with each other, you think….”can’t you even TRY to get along with my friends Photoshop and Dreamweaver?”, “You won’t open up a PDF for me EVER?”, or “I love that you added enhanced typography features. That glyphs palette is great. But It’s just not something I can build an entire relationship on!”
The idea of opening up files in a new program and having them look terrible is scary, but scary isn’t always terrible. I’m guessing part of my reticence about this switch is based in the fact that Quark and I were together for so long. Through good jobs and bad, great clients and the not-so-great ones, Quark was there for me. Sure there was my on-again, off-again hookup in college: Aldus Freehand. But I had no problem getting rid of that one. The more mature, and attractive Adobe Illustrator was waiting right around the corner. And when I got my first job, believe me…I was delighted to get rid of that stalker PageMaker. I honestly can’t think of a more annoying piece of software. There was Quark, the hunky 1995 standard, ready to make my desktop publishing dreams a reality. Looks like those days are over and there’s a new hunk in town, but as St. Augustine once said it is “better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.”