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by Quark Marketing Team  |  October 21, 2021

40 Years of Quark: Where We Are in 2021

40 Years of Quark: Where We Are in 2021

In celebration of Quark’s 40th anniversary, we’re exploring the evolution of graphic design and desktop/digital publishing, which gave birth to the modern practice of enterprise content lifecycle management, while also highlighting these disciplines’ broader impact on society. Don’t miss part one of this series, where we examine the early years of Quark and the industry we established.

In today’s entry, we’ll break down the results of 40 years of progress and answer questions like:

  • How does design improve our lives? What value does graphic design and desktop/digital publishing offer to businesses and society at large?
  • What is the state of today’s graphic design and desktop/digital publishing industry – and how are they connected to Quark’s focus on enterprise content lifecycle management?
  • What technologies and market forces are actively driving the evolution of these industries?

Let’s start with the biggest question: Why does design matter in 2021?

Why Design Matters

To understand the impact of design, all you have to do is look around. In practically any context or environment – heck, even in space – you’ll find the handiwork of a graphic designer: advertisements, emails, signage, instruction manuals, investment reports, product packaging and pharmaceutical labels, to name a few, are all vessels for design.

Using the right combination of science and art, good design can entertain us. It can connect us to the rest of the world, spark new ideas, and help us move past outdated modes of thinking. Good design reinforces messaging that’s intended to protect us and makes it more effective (warning labels for products or dangerous environments are just one example). Desktop/digital publishing simply took this power and democratized it, making powerful design tools accessible to everyone who had an idea and a desire to share it.

While the particular context, use case and application of design may change, the overarching purpose is always the same: the clear and effective communication of ideas. It’s an important purpose that crosses all cultural boundaries (and helps us communicate across these boundaries), which is why we see elite design schools around the globe, including the United States, Europe, China and Australia.

For businesses, the value of clear and effective communication through great design is undeniable. Audiences and prospects are inundated with a barrage of social media posts, advertisements, sales pitches, entertainment and other forms of content on a daily basis. A study last year found that, on average, consumers had doubled their content consumption during 2020 – up to a total of six hours and 59 minutes.

That means designing compelling content – and getting it to the right people through the right channels – is more important than ever for businesses that want to stand out. Just look at Apple, the quintessential example of design’s power. Sure, the iPod and iPhone are great products that changed the world in their own right, but the corresponding design elements shifted the paradigm and became permanent fixtures in the cultural zeitgeist. Talk to any web developer or designer and you can bet that half their clients want a new site or app that “looks like Apple’s.”

To better understand the role of design in business, let’s take a closer look at just how important graphic design, desktop/digital publishing and enterprise content lifecycle management have become in the global marketplace.

The State of Graphic Design, Desktop/Digital Publishing and Enterprise Content Lifecycle Management

We’ve come a long way since the first version of QuarkXPress was released in 1987. Producers and consumers of content have both become more sophisticated in their methods and expectations for the design and delivery of content.

Most companies don’t need to be told that content is important to their overall goals and are actively investing in the talent and tools they need to be successful. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 81% of organizations view content as a core business strategy, up from 72% in 2020.

And consumers expect content to meet them in the digital spaces where they live, work and play, which means content must be personalized, customized and made adaptable to any and all channels. More than 60% of global consumers said they will increase their use of digital channels and technologies in 2021, according to Deloitte’s latest global marketing trends report.

The result of this evolution? Big business:

Certainly, COVID-19 has played a significant role in driving growth and innovation in these industries (again, content consumption doubled to nearly seven hours in 2020). But like many aspects of life that have been affected by the pandemic, such as attitudes toward remote work, this paradigm shift is likely to be permanent.

“With COVID and the different ways of working, there is now more remote collaboration and an expectation that software and processes should work seamlessly – anywhere and at any time,” said Quark CEO Martin Owen. “Our SaaS software has been designed to do exactly that and to reduce the footprint on internal IT staff with our customers. The market understands that the automation of content, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help better understand, build and distribute content is on the near horizon.”

Smart organizations recognize this fact and are investing in relevant solutions for content design, content automation and content intelligence. Facing an insatiable appetite for valuable content, they understand that inefficient workflows, scattered or disorganized assets, a lack of meaningful insights to inform content strategies, and other issues prevalent in enterprise content production can all spell trouble.

To capitalize on these emerging opportunities, Quark has streamlined our products for enterprise content lifecycle management and doubled down on investments in technologies like AI, ML and cloud services. Our solutions includes:

  • QuarkXPress: This software helped establish the desktop publishing market and remains a powerful content design tool because of its page layout and digital publishing capabilities, which are complemented by integrated tools for refining graphics and illustrations plus photo editing.
  • Quark Publishing Platform: Manual, time-intensive content workflows belong in the last decade. With Quark Publishing Platform’s content automation capabilities, organizations increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction, lower production and distribution costs, and demonstrate corporate and regulatory compliance..
  • Quark Docurated: Introduce content intelligence to the mix, so your enterprise can aggregate and deliver curated content plus analyze its performance with pinpoint accuracy. This knowledge creates better content experiences, smarter content investments, and increased control over the enterprise content lifecycle.

On top of these product changes, we’ve introduced new leadership to guide us into a future full of new opportunities – while still honoring our history.

“Quark has a great heritage, and we want to build on that,” Martin said. “With innovation in Quark’s DNA, we want to be an industry-defining organization and move forward with purpose.”

For Martin, renewed focus on the complete alignment between product management and customer support is another key factor that has Quark in an ideal position to address the content challenge in today’s world.

“We’re ensuring that our customers are able to show us how they are using our software, how they intend to use it, and what the business outcomes are,” he said. “Product management and support are aligned with a big focus on ensuring the customer journey via our product organization is seamless. Customers will see roadmaps, plans and initiatives from Quark. Our entire organization will be completely familiar with what we are delivering and supporting.”

As we celebrate 40 years of growth, innovation and creativity in an industry we helped establish, it’s an honor to continue shaping the conversation and delivering solutions that our customers need. But don’t expect us to rest on our laurels. Check out the third and final installment of this blog series to see what our experts predict for the future of design, desktop/digital publishing and enterprise content lifecycle management – and how Quark will continue to be at the forefront of this evolution.

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