Quark has launched QuarkPromote.com in the US, a new online service designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses create their own marketing materials. The company plans to launch the service in the UK later this year, and says that isn't trying to compete with its user base, and that the service offers opportunities for designers

QuarkPromote.com offers users 4,500 templates for business cards, postcards, brochures, flyers, data sheets, letterhead, envelopes, coupons, and appointment cards. Quarks says that the customizable templates include hundreds of all-purpose templates and thousands designed for specific industries. Industry-specific templates come with suggested marketing text and stock photos.

Quark says that anyone familiar with common office software can use QuarkPromote.com to create marketing materials in three steps. Customers first browse the templates by industry or product type, customize the template they choose with information about their business, and place their print order to be picked up at a nearby printer or sent by mail. Quark offers pickup at nearby printers, often in three days or less, at no extra charge, according to the company.

Various print franchises and independent printers across the US have joined the QuarkPromote.com printer community, including Allegra Network, AlphaGraphics, PIP, Signal Graphics, and Sir Speedy, Quark says. UK partners will announced when the service is launched here.

Quark has denied that the service sets the company up in competition with professional designers. In a statement, the company said that "With the types of businesses that we are targeting with this solution, it’s generally the business owner doing it themselves using tools such as Word or Publisher. The business can’t afford to pay for a professional designer to do the work and consequently the design quality is not professional."

The company plans to allow professional designers to create matching template sets for Quark Promote.

"We see this as an opportunity to expand the amount of professional design and opportunities for designers, not to compete," the statement continues. "We are also about to announce a new, free, online design directory where designers can promote themselves to the QuarkPromote small and medium sized business audience for projects not incorporated in QuarkPromote such as logo design or event graphics."