InDesign or Quark – which has largest market share in UK newspaper / magazine publishing?

I get asked this question a lot. The Uni won’t be upgrading from Quark 6.5 to 7and  tutors are being encouraged to switch to teaching InDesign CS2.

So which DTP software has the largest market share in UK publishing? Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a definitive answer….I’ll update this article if I do!

Here’s what we know…

A few points:

  • Quark says it retains "80% of the layout market" (it doesn’t state whether this is UK, Europe or global).Its been touting this figure around for a few years now and it doesn’t seem to ring true to me. The figure could be correct if it includes usage of any Quark version. For example there are some publishers in the UK still stuck using Quark 4.
  • Quark is very much a "one product pony". If you pay the full commercial price for Quark 7 (around £800) – you’ll probably use it!
  • Unfortunately, the same logic can’t be applied to InDesign. Lots of people will have InDesign on their machines. It comes bundled as part of Adobe’s Creative Suite (CS). For around £400, you get InDesign, Photoshop, ImageReady and GoLive – not a bad deal! But it still doesn’t answer the question – how many people are really buying CS to use InDesign?
  • Newspapers and magazines are very different. According to people I chatted with at a recent NCTJ meeting, it’s clear that many local newspapers use early editions of Quark. For example, Quark 4 is still popular because it’s very stable. Some local newspapers simply can’t afford to upgrade.
  • It’s not just about new toys. Designers tend to appraise software in terms of new features. Editors of newspapers and magazines look at it in terms of "automation and collaboration".

An article on the rather brilliant Quark Versus InDesign site states: "Indeed, while most
designers look for ways to expand their creative choices in the next
version of QuarkXPress or InDesign, newspapers fret over how much they
will be required to change their procedures while addressing
long-standing needs.

  • Quark is getting more competitive (at last). During recent interviews with the press, Quark  admitted to mistakes in the past which annoyed a lot of customers. Quark 5/6 were lazy upgrades. The buzz around 7 is more interesting.
  • But Quark is improving customer service. "Quark are nicer than Adobe these days – which is a big change," one
    reader wrote in the MacWorld survey.  "Quark blew it, but it’s now doing an
    amazingly good impression of a company that has learned some massive
    lessons, while Adobe seems to have gone downhill in a big way," said another reader.
  • Currently Quark 7 is retailing at the Uni Education Store for £100 (a bargain when compared to the commercial price). Although for what you get, CS2 is may well be a better deal at £180-200 According to an article in US mag Business 2 last year:

"Quark has started offering discounts for educators–a key market, since
the tools used by design students strongly influence purchasing
preferences later in their careers. But is it too late? At schools like
Massachusetts College of Art and UCLA, QuarkXPress has faded from the

None of this really answers the main question. One way to look at this is to total up the number of job adverts in Media Guardian which mention Quark or InDesign. I also plan to conduct a small survey among magazine production editors in the new year – the results of which will be published here.

It could be the case that both products have approx equal market share overall – which is good news in terms of competition. However, it’s tough for us people trying to work out what we should be teaching.

Some more links:
InDesign’s market share (discussion on Google Groups)
Blatner: InDesign is the future of DTP 

2 Responses to InDesign or Quark – which has largest market share in UK newspaper / magazine publishing?

  1. KimG January 4, 2007 at 4:12 pm #

    We still use Quark here, and it was a conscious decision to stick with Quark rather than InDesign (up until early 2006 we were still using Quark 4). But from what I hear, we’re quite unusual…

  2. Steve Hill January 6, 2007 at 10:41 pm #

    Ta Kim, Dave told me that Dennis were using InDesign and he thought that most of EMAP had switched as well (he’s coming to the party!). I know Zoo is using InDesign, but I have no idea about the rest. Quark 5 and 6 were nothing special, but some say that 7 is as good as CS2. I’m going to bung out a small survey.