Y’all remember Quark? The program that IMHO put the meaning into the phrase “desktop publishing? The program that is rapidly being supplanted by Adobe Indesign as the go to program for layout and design of the printed page?Quark

Well, theirs is a story of innovation. Hailing from Denver, I’ve heard a lot about Quark over the years. They used to be one of those companies that everyone wanted to work for. Just as my Alma mater Janus Capital was in its heyday.

It’s a company that has given back to the community in an innovative way. It’s founder, Tim Gill ‘s creation –  Project Angel Heart – was recently recognized as “Colorado’s Most Outstanding Nonprofit Organization.” )After preparing dozens of meals there, I kind of like it myself…)

So what are they up to now? Well, I stumbled on a link to something named Quark Promote, which promised non-designers a means to  design professional looking flyers and brochures. I was intrigued, so I attempted to download it. Attempted because it just did not work. I sent an email to tech support and moved on to some real work. Next morning, I got an email telling me how to make it work, tried that, no use – it wasn’t playing well with Windows.

Next up, I actually got a call from their chief technical support person on the product, Rishi, who worked with me by phone and then by email until we got it to work. Innovation number 1 – incredible customer support. I haven’t EVER experienced customer support like that from a software company.

So I checked the product out. It’s pretty elementary. Not a product for me really, but that isn’t really why I tried it. What I found is that, although in its early stages, it is well thought-through, has a pretty nice interface, and works as advertised. Simply put, it makes it easy, very easy, for non-designers to pick from a library of fairly nicely designed templates of everything from brochures to letterhead and business cards. Yeah, I have some issues with the product, but I’m not really writing about the product. I’m writing about the intent.

Quark gets it. They are reinventing themselves. Sure, they still have Express, and I know many who use it. But instead of just trying to beat Adobe at a war that they probably can’t win, they are finding new and exciting ways of leveraging their core competency as a provider of software for graphic designers, utilizing the latest technologies. And playing right into what I see, (and have blogged about below), as the need for companies big and small to provide real value to customers. And, assuming that it is but the tip of the iceberg,  I believe that they have done so with Quark Promote.

Something we can all glean from. Are you innovating in this manner?