Desktop publishing specialists Quark have upped their game in recent years, competing to stay relevant in the face of strong competition, while addressing long held criticism over poor service and high prices dating back to the late 1990s. Quark DesignPad appears to be part of a wider plan to offer value for money, additional features and bundled extras. Free, DesignPad is a useful tool, in the right hands, for creating grid-based design on the fly. See Best iPhone and Android apps.

Quark DesignPad for iPad review

Aimed a little ambitiously at pros and more likely design newbies and students, DesignPad compliments QuarkXPress but doesn't require the professional design and layout software to be of use. Making the most of the iPad's tactile qualities, users can create and fine tune a range of pre-defined layouts for potential projects - posters, brochures, flyers and more - simply by using your fingers or adjusting sliders. If you’re stuck for ideas, clicking a pair of dice produces random designs, which you can use as your creative starting point. See also iPad review

Compatible with US or international document sizes, these layouts can be easily shared for comments and collaborations and, should you wish, opened in QuarkXPress for fine tuning. DesignPad uses lorem ipsum placeholder content and layouts can look more realistic by adding your own images or a selection of less than inspiring supplied free stock photos. The beauty of all this is that it doesn't take long to create something that looks professional and inspiring, at the very least acting as a springboard for your creativity. Take a look at MyScript Notes Mobile too.

DesignPad also takes you away from the tyranny of sitting in front of a computer screen waiting for inspiration to strike. The iPad's portability means you can be creating and experimenting with designs anywhere and at anytime. Additionally, the grid-based means thatyou’re not starting from scratch but have a solid base from which to build your ideas.

Quark DesignPad

Quark DesignPad for iPad: Specs

  • Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
  • Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.


DesignPad for Quark is a useful creative tool that's user friendly and capable of producing attractive designs, rather the foundations of attractive designs, in minutes. Ideally suited to design students and enthusiasts, it's a good way to learn the fundamentals of grid-based design without the cost and time needed to invest in full scale desktop publishing software.

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