Quark’s Logo 2006–Something Is In Motion


Six months after debuting their first major branding change in 15 years, Quark does it again with another logo–this one they did themselves.

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Quark's New 2006 Logo

This morning Quark, Inc. debuted their second new logo in six months (dubbed “Quark Logo 2006″ for clarity).

The 2005 model, while strong and stylish in its simplicity, met with derision and accusations of plagiarism. As the creative community instantly pointed out, that version bore a strong resemblance to a handful of existing logos, and, but for its color, was identical to the logo of the Scottish Arts Council, who used the circular glyph with the bottom-right point to represent a lowercase a where Quark’s used the same glyph for a capital Q. The similarities, however, were accidental; Quark’s branding agency, SicolaMartin, had missed the marks of the Scottish Arts Council, the Designers Network, Alcone, and three others during their trademark research. Despite Quark’s own justification for the confusion, as well as objective explanations of how such a situation may occur from independent media Quark VS InDesign.com and Creativepro.com, the September 2005 Quark logo missed the mark with designers.

Quark 2005 Logo

The September 2005 Quark logo.

Despite the controversy, I liked Quark Logo 2005. It was a strong, minimalist brand progressive in its stylized treatment of the letter Q. It reflected the reputation of flagship product QuarkXPress for getting the job done. It was a powerful brand element for the publishing stalwart. More importantly, it was an outward indicator of the internal changes happening within Quark. Seen by many as stagnant and senesced, Quark needed a brand revision to reflect its awakening vision of the future. Quark was a company in transition, and the September 2005 logo showed that transition.

If You Want It Done Right…

When the Quark 2005 Logo debuted to the public, the company’s collective chest was puffed with pride. Regrettably, the confusion with other entities’ marks knocked the wind out of Quark just as quickly. It was a painful blow to a company struggling to prove its re-invention. But every setback is a lesson and a chance to spring back better, wiser, and stronger once again. Admirably, Quark took that opportunity and used its disappointment to prove that the company really is as adaptable as it would like us to believe.

As Quark VS InDesign.com was quick to point out in September, the failing of the 2005 logo was not Quark’s. The company had vended the rebranding task to the supposed specialists, brand development and advertising agency SicolaMartin, whose responsibility it was to ensure that the Quark logo was distinctive and unique. The 2005 logo is still featured in SicolaMartin’s online portfolio as a warning to other prospective clients of the Austin, Texas firm seeking unique branding.

This time, Quark decided to do it themselves.

Quark 2006 logo in relief

The 2006 Quark logo in relief.

“Quark listened to the feedback we received from the design community in relation to our re-branding initiative in September and decided to create a new logo that is both an evolution of our visual identity and a strong representation of the new Quark,” said Glen Turpin, Director of Quark’s Corporate Communications. “We believe the new logo communicates growth and vitality as a symbol for what the new Quark is–a company that listens to its customers, and is flexible and responsive to changing market conditions. It’s representative of the spirit of the new Quark.”

Quark’s in-house creative team designed the stunning new 2006 logo, proving that if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. Throughout the design process, feedback and input were solicited from a variety of outside design consultants, although the bulk of the work was done in-house.

Quark 2006 logo flat

The two-color flat version (pantone 368 and white or black).

A potent emblem, the 2006 logo both reminisces as a target and communicates action. It’s circular, three-dimensional relief in green is evocative of a button, implying a call to action–click here to go. Offsetting the Q and placing the tail only inside the letter’s counter creates the sensation that the button may have already been pushed, that action is already underway and something is about to happen. Subtle lens flares along the raised edges give the image a metallic newness and reinforce the lines of force established by the jutting diagonal and off-center, variable weight letter.

I liked the 2005 version, but Quark Logo 2006 is truly stunning. It falls in line with the modern, forward-looking user experience of QuarkXPress 7. This is the polished new Quark–something is in motion.

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46 Responses Discussing “Quark’s Logo 2006–Something Is In Motion”
  1. Hate it. Reminiscent of young design talent — weak typography and lacking in depth… not to mention the access photoshop work thrown in looks more like someone played smart with their style effects more so than designed (beveled? c’mon, be inventive). This is not high end design, it will fall flat next to Apple and even old school Adobe. Now even more they are disconnected from the design community.

    16 Mar 2006
    15:35 PT
  2. And this http://www.dotfive.com/ portfolio/ mesm.php isn’t “access Photoshop” (excess I presume you mean)?

    16 Mar 2006
    15:41 PT
  3. That’s a flyer for a local club, not a company that attempts to promote quality high end design. You can’t compare the two, just like http://delightfulhealth.com/ I designed to be a clean cut health company. The idea is to reflect design on the target audience… so I’m not sure where you’re leading comparing the two, they are different markets, and one is not even an logo design… and yes, I meant excess ( I have to stop typing two things at once). I’ll say my design for http://www.bentlyreserve.com is excessive photoshop, but this is a large real estate property.

    There are about 10+ more designs at http://logolounge.com/ I designed, and I’ll be featured in their book next year, feel free to log on and compare more.

    16 Mar 2006
    15:54 PT
  4. [...] Quarks new logo is reviewed, and I must say, it’s uninspired… [...]

    16 Mar 2006
    16:11 PT
  5. At least it looks like the ‘off’ button on a Mac.


    17 Mar 2006
    00:28 PT
  6. I’d say the real surprise is that Quark actually listened to the design-community.

    17 Mar 2006
    03:58 PT
  7. Personally I like it. But only the relief version. I find the 2 colour really lacking. I guess you can only come up with so many truly inspirational ideas but this new logo really needs the 3D work to make it look its best.

    17 Mar 2006
    06:47 PT
  8. Ugly. The “q” really doesn’t read very well as a “q” even though you know that’s what it is supposed to be. Take away the word “quark” itself and see how many people can associate the logo with a “q.” I certainly get no sense of action or of anything happening.

    17 Mar 2006
    08:07 PT
  9. ” … the stunning new 2006 logo …?!”

    It’s just a freakin’ Q!!! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry for them. Wait. I do know. I’ll laugh.

    17 Mar 2006
    10:03 PT
  10. I like the tail being inside the counter, but they definitely should have kept the font from the previous Quark logo. And although I also thought it plagiary, the previous 2005 is the better logo. Also the position of the Q is eating at me. Why down and to the right? Why not up and to the right? It seems that up conveys more that Quark is on to bigger better things, not down.

    17 Mar 2006
    10:20 PT
  11. Horrid. Absolutely dreadful. If I was forced to choose I would have to pick the flat version. The photoshop work is a weak and tasteless attempt to compensate for a lack of vision.

    17 Mar 2006
    10:29 PT
  12. The Flat version works well but the beveled nightmare of a logo version is one of the worst I have seen. Seems like somebody just recently discovered the bevel tool in photoshop. They need to stick with the flat version.

    17 Mar 2006
    11:20 PT
  13. Actually, the more I look at it, the more it looks like something you drop in your martini.

    17 Mar 2006
    11:23 PT
  14. Ammon, they couldn’t make the Q positioned to upper-right (instead of lower-right), as then the 2-color version would come very close to ripping off the technorati logo, colors and all: static.technorati.com/pix/tn-logo.gif

    17 Mar 2006
    11:37 PT
  15. The logo design critique is interesting, but please, don’t bash Quark for making the change.

    Regardless of how you feel about the company or the logo design itself, you must recognize that the creation of the new logo is an important setp for Quark. After the controversay over the September 2005 version, many companies would have taken the attitude of get over it. Instead, Quark listened–really listened–to us, the creative community, and invested more effort and money in responding.

    You and I inspired Quark to redesign its logo. Think about that for a moment. A year ago, did you feel like anyone in Denver heard–or cared–what you had to say?

    I am probably the most famous (infamous?) critic of Quark, and I applaud the company for listening and then acting on what it heard. Quark spent money and put forth a lot of effort to react to what the community voiced. Regardless of anything Quark did yesterday or will do tomorrow, you must objectively recognize that the existance of this new logo is a significant event in Quark’s relationship to the creative community.

    17 Mar 2006
    12:54 PT
  16. The one with the effects looks nice, but let’s face it: the bevel and flare thing is tired at this point. And even more when the naked version of it is so weak! People, I guess we all fall under fairly similar descriptions (creative, designers, whatever) so we DO know that even though is great that the image of a product reflects a different attitude, it means absolutely NOTHING if there is no substance behind this, a true commitment to change and customer support and yada yada yada. Do I have to remind you all of the unfortunate fate of ALAP’s InDi plugins, just a few days ago? Is this the “New Quark”? When the new reminds so much of the old, sth’s really wrong. I’m not buying this crap.

    17 Mar 2006
    13:36 PT
  17. I completely agree that they listened to our cries of change, and that all these comments about them ripping the logo sat ill with them — and I applaud them for doing something about it.

    Regardless, though, it’s a design reminiscent of art directed by middle management — wether the intent was to make an ‘eye’ for symbolism much like the fedex arrow, it is a poor play on visuals, and an awkward layout for a company that wants to be the face of design.

    Their original idea to make themselves ‘fresh’ and redesign their image may have just fallen flat in general, as far as their identity goes. I’ve always seen Adobe’s designs as uninspired to some extent (their trashing of the macromedia site to look like their ugly website is a clear example — though their print ads are always interesting), but their aged logo still has a nostalgic appeal that Quark just killed.

    Some say that’s a good thing, that their past needs to be erased — but all I think of now is Quark’s failed advertising attempts I get in the mail boasting their destroying indesign, I see a logo redesign that was elegant but a rip off, I see a new logo that looks like it was designed by a production artist taking cues from office management. They listened at our request to change, but they aren’t onto the pulse of the design community in many ways.

    17 Mar 2006
    13:47 PT
  18. Ok, it’s not as much like the Sony Ericsson logo as the other one was like the scottish whatever. But…still…sony ericsson is a major major brand. This logo is definitely similar enough to come across as derivative.

    18 Mar 2006
    07:08 PT
  19. The new logo is truly awful. You can’t really see that those small white dots are supposed to be flares when viewed on lower resolutions. They should just have stayed with the old logo and waited for people to forget that it resembled some unknown logo from Scotland.

    18 Mar 2006
    08:11 PT
  20. This Logo is allready 2 years out of date. For a logo to stay timeless it has to work as a flat object in B&W. After that then the colors can be chose. Mayby the 2007 logo will be better?

    18 Mar 2006
    16:22 PT
  21. You know, i’m the last person anybody would say would stick up for Quark. But i’ve got to start to wonder if the design “community” isn’t just out to rip Quark anytime, anywhere for any reason. So they’ve got an inferior product, at least give ‘em credit for trying to move forward into the 20th century with their brand/logo. Hey, even if you can’t hit the “T” key to get the text tool, at least they’re trying to get this right.

    19 Mar 2006
    21:06 PT
  22. one step forth, two steps back. embarrassing.

    20 Mar 2006
    03:59 PT
  23. I have to say that I admire the company for having the guts to listen to their customers and change their logo so soon after it’s release. That was probably my biggest problem with the 2005 logo, that they didn’t do the basic research and initially took a, “whatever. We don’t care what you think,” stance. For them to stick their pride in their pocket and undergo the very costly process of rebranding is a big step in the right direction.

    That said, though, I can’t say that I really love the new logo. I like it better than their old logo, definitely, but I can’t say that it really strikes me. I like the flat version of their logo just fine. The shapes are clean and simple, and they don’t try to overload your eyes at first glance. The beveled version, however, just ahas a few too many photoshop tricks for my taste. It seems like a good version to use for their online work, but it’s perhaps not what I’d like to see on printed material.

    But I definitely have to give them props for their efforts. And there will always be people who don’t like it for one reason or another. That’s a problem in this field, when so much depends on personal taste.

    20 Mar 2006
    08:48 PT
  24. While I believe that releasing yet another logo in six months is a big mistake on Quark’s part, you could argue that they really didn’t have a chioce if they were going to maintain any integrity. I do however believe that they went about design the WRONG way. You never design a logo in large scale without testing what your smaller versions will look like. The best way is to use a control group. Get feedback outside the company. You’d be surprised what the average person will catch in a design when you show them an image. The glint off the beveled logo scales down to look like a pixel chunk missing out of the design. This logo was not well thought out from a design standpoint.

    20 Mar 2006
    10:58 PT
  25. Hate the new logo… much preferred the 2005 Scottish Arts Council logo…

    However, I have to praise Quark for this time ‘doing it for themselves’.

    I’d love to know how much the design agency were paid for ‘designing’ the 2005 logo, and how long it took them to design it..

    And while not wanting to offend designers, but I do wish every logo didn’t have to have a whole story about how the curves equate to the winds of change while the tail signifies we’re listening blah blah blah…. All a load of bollocks. Does anyone who buys the product actually look at the company logo and recognise ANY meaning from the ‘marketing’ bumph?
    Lets see… Shell Oil… simple logo, instantly recognisable… have no idea what the ethos behind the logo is, but I recognise it’s a shell and know it’s a shell gas station…
    Coca Cola… instantly recognisable, I don’t care what the curves signify, I like the taste, and don’t dislike the Pepsi logo any more than the Coca Cola logo…
    Kodak… other than resembling a capital K, I like the fact that it’s bright and again, instantly recognisable. I’m sure there were some ramblings about what these logos stood for when they were designed, but how many of us actually think about them when we’re buying a Kodak film, or a bottle of coke?
    To me, and please don’t flame me for this, all this hot air about the significance of the curves, swirls, shapes and colour is simply for an expensive, sorry, ‘premium’ design agency to attempt justification of their fees….

    Give me a logo that looks nice, is cost effective when printing letterheads, and looks professional. I don’t care to know about the mood or poetic skill of the designer….


    21 Mar 2006
    00:57 PT
  26. Actually, the Kodak “K” is history: dpreview.com/news/06...6010801kodaklogo.asp

    As for the marketing description of logos, of course no one believes any of that, especially the people that actually design the material.

    In the case of the new, new Quark logo, they went particularly overboard in trying to create an explanation for what is nothing more than a poorly stylized “Q” in a circle.

    21 Mar 2006
    04:33 PT
  27. I have a hard time being objective about the new logo of Quark, simply because it is too similar to the new Sony Ercisson logo.
    I mean if you place them next to each other you’d be surprised at how much they are alike.
    So its either Sony Ericsson who are way off because it represents badly their image or Quark is way off. I prefer to think that Quark is way off because they have a software that offers no 3D whatsoever, and is very flat because of its association with layouts.
    The logo they presented in 2005 was very good if they could just fix the choice of typeface. The green modern Q was very simple and to the point, and on top of that it resembles the tip of a ink pen in a very flat way off course. Which is a big part of Quark. TYPOGRAPHY!
    If anybody from quark is reading this :) stick to the ink pen / Q but just pick a typeface that has bit more caractere thats all.
    Other than that… cool simple and modern logo.

    21 Mar 2006
    18:26 PT
  28. WHO CARES! I haven’t used Quark in close to a year. A new , then another new logo isn’t going to bring me back. I’m a complete InDesign convert.

    21 Mar 2006
    20:18 PT
  29. Looks like someone got sewed!!!! Why change the logo so quickly!
    Personally, I don’t mind the new logo. Its true, is quite similar to the
    Sony Ericson logo, but still the logo isnt going to change a slacking page layout software package. Get your software right 1st Quark, then your logo second. Personally If Quarks software was still any good it wouldnt matter what their logo looked like. Quark seems to have made extra work for them selves. You Guys should have kept the fist old logo to save yourselvesselves from embrasment.
    I feel sorry for you guys! Your loosing your market!

    22 Mar 2006
    02:27 PT
  30. None of this should be a surprise to any of us.
    Quark paid a lot of money for the 2005 and more than likely had no budget for rebranding the company again. They had to change the logo, there wasn’t a choice since all the people who buy their product cares about all the things that went wrong with the 2005 logo. They are like so many businesses that don’t have the budget and don’t have the in-house capabilities and they said to themselves how hard can it be to create a logo for ourselves. Even advertising agencies will go to other agencies for their own branding needs. I am looking forward to the advertising quark will start doing in-house, after all how hard could it be?!

    22 Mar 2006
    10:01 PT
  31. Lily with green petals and old Quark logo was much refreshing than its new logo. If they want to correct their mistakes then it is not too late to go back to the original logo and lily which is pleasing to the eye.

    22 Mar 2006
    11:36 PT
  32. You know what? WHO CARES!
    Quark can use a logo that looks like a trashcan, a 3d bouncing red and white ball (like in good ol’ Amiga days) or a green frog even that eats a butterfly… ;-)

    …as long as they make good software.
    And with version 7 they seem to, not only what my tests show but also wherever you look (reviews) and whoever you ask.: Quark 7 seems to be a great and innovative product.

    So stop worrying about the logo, rather ask where the Universal Binary builds are (from Adobe, Macromedia, Microsoft and Quark).


    22 Mar 2006
    15:34 PT
  33. i don´t agree with most of your comments. I think the flat/ 2D version is a good choice. But you really bored me to death with your inerrancy. Sit down in front of your favourite tool and design something that´s perrfect for quark. It´s seems to be soooo simple! R

    23 Mar 2006
    01:28 PT
  34. The original Quark logo was perfect, sharp and smart. Why did they change it? Just to change it? And who exactly is designing the new logos? A five-dollar an hour designer? At least the printers are happy with Quark for all of the extra business changing letterhead, cards, printed manuals, freakin’ everything now twice in the last year. I personally think it was one of the most ill-advised changes ever in the history of company identity.

    23 Mar 2006
    11:00 PT
  35. Peter,
    first of all this is a purposeful and logical design discusion based on quarks inability to create an impactful brand.
    2nd if I were to judge based on the beta, its still too little too late.
    Quark only “cares” now about its users after a decade because their in dispare.

    24 Mar 2006
    10:39 PT
  36. Another New Quark Logo

    Home sick this weekend, surfing back design news instead of enjoying the 70-degree closing evening of Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Had to complain…;) Missed this, from the 16th: The new Quark corporate logo, in “preferred colors&#…

    01 Apr 2006
    21:35 PT
  37. One of worst logos i have ever seen. Insipid and uninspired. Reminiscent of OX icons. Since when did lens flares and embossing become the elements of a good logo?

    The only thing this logo calls to action is to stop looking at your operating system GUI for inspiration.

    “A potent emblem, the 2006 logo both reminisces as a target and
    communicates action. It’s circular, three-dimensional relief in green
    is evocative of a button, implying a call to action—click here to go.
    Offsetting the Q and placing the tail only inside the letter’s counter
    creates the sensation that the button may have already been pushed,
    that action is already underway and something is about to happen.
    Subtle lens flares along the raised edges give the image a metallic
    newness and reinforce the lines of force established by the jutting
    diagonal and off-center, variable weight letter.”"

    The most egotistical of artist would blush at such flowery prose. its obvious where the author stands on the “quark vs indesign debate, when they cant separate a program from its freaking logo.

    04 Apr 2006
    11:04 PT
  38. Hey everyone, don’t forget that Quark didn’t have a logo in 2005, they were just using the Scottish Arts Council logo. Now, despite whatever everyone thinks about it, they do have a logo. The 3D version slightlyf looks like Sony Ericsson’s but not enough to be objectionable. I commend them for swallowing their pride and finding the bucks to do a complete rebranding. I just hope they got their money back from SicolaMartin. By the way, in my opinion all that crap about evocativeness and a call to action is just a bunch of drivel. I’m thoroughly fed up with artists and designers justifying ugly work or high prices with exotic comentary. Unfortunately folks that don’t know any better are thoroughly impressed.

    05 Apr 2006
    05:42 PT
  39. I give Quark thump up for their new design. The fact that they decided to move-on and created something on their own. I have seen so many logos, ads are coppied by designers and I think that is such a lousy part of the agencies. Its not Quark to blame. I repect Quark and I love the new logo very much. Its modern, creative , simple but has big meaning behind it. I am looking forward to their new release of Quark 7.

    I read an article about their new preflight features within the application. I used PasteBoard and FlightCheck Professional from Markzware for over 7 years now. I think they have a patent on their product. I hate to see Quark and Adobe ripping off other company patent. Adobe In-Design has preflight build-in but its so lame. I love Markzware product and I will continue stick with them.

    10 Apr 2006
    16:45 PT
  40. For the design of their 2007 logo Quark should have a design contest. This would at least get the design community involved with their product. B.C. Govt did this for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver: http://www.vancouver2010.com

    Personally, I think this 2010 logo is an unmitigated disaster, but the price was right!

    30 Apr 2006
    22:14 PT
  41. 3d effects in a logo. tsk tsk tsk. looks like a cheesy sports logo or something. or pac-man throwing up.

    01 May 2006
    19:12 PT
  42. [...] Side notation: When doing an angled corner on an organic shape, Design Inspired, It’s important to reference the flow of the organic line into a smooth transition. Don’t fret, we learn this the first go around in Illustrator – don’t angle the square to the exact mid point of the circle, it isn’t a perfect transition as you can see from the edges of your logo. Quark learned this (as I’m sure you’re inspired by) from their prior, and questionable logo design. [...]

    18 May 2006
    08:31 PT
  43. I have grown up using quark and admire the program somewhat. I have to say this logo is a ridiculous comeback for quark considering the huge original criticism. Clearly a brain-dead chairman has been impressed by the bevel effect in Photoshop and thought, “hey that’s not bad we should stick with this and save ourselves a few quid rather than getting it re-designed properly”

    23 May 2006
    04:11 PT
  44. The logo is too visually confusing. It actually makes my brain hurt.
    I feel sorry for the designer, he probably mocked up a couple (including a few suggestions from head office) and they eventually went with the weakest one.

    If this was the best of the bunch, what on earth did the others look like.

    12 Sep 2006
    03:09 PT
  45. Yeah, I wonder what the other ones looked like. I bet there was at least one or two (that didn’t make the cut) that would have been a better choice. LOL, yeah I can see that this was probably the pick of a “marketing guru” or a “micro-manamaniac executive” with total dissregard to what the creative director had to say. Or was there even a creative director? In any case. I agree! they are trying, and kudos to them for that.

    18 Oct 2006
    09:44 PT
  46. The effects seem tacked on because the logo is
    visually weak. To me, especially on a white background, it does look like ‘pacman’ throwing up, because the green catches the eye.

    I have no intention on blaming design for this however. These types of bevel/drop shadow/glow effects are only visually striking to someone with no experience.

    Time and time again I am asked to put a bevel or a drop shadow on something. It’s the age of the high school student and the internet. Most people don’t develop art skills beyond that and therefore the world can be a topsy turvey place with bad designs chasing good ones.

    A solid 2 colour logo without any of these effects is what is really needed. It needs to look strong in its own right, flat.

    To me, it looks like some exec has told the designer what to do, which is a problem with our industry as a whole.

    PLEASE. Leave the designing to someone with some talent and in turn they will leave your spreadsheets alone.

    12 Jun 2007
    23:32 PT

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