Monday June 03, 2019


Design book layout

Catalogs are one of the most effective sales tools on the market for many companies, and are a very powerful avenue for promoting products and services. The print catalog remains one of the world’s best sales tools. These paper-based publications have many advantages:


• Constant brand exposure

• User-friendly for all ages

• Easy readability

• Quick search for products


Just think about it: we receive catalogs in the mail weekly, pick them up on the way out of stores and catalogs even come in the orders that are shipped to us. Catalogs allow us to browse and shop on our own time and seem to stick around, piled on our counters with dog-eared pages and interesting products circled or marked.


Womans hand


The aim of a catalog is for a range of available goods or services to be understood as quickly as possible and for it to be appreciated for its design.

 But not every catalog we receive avoids the recycling bin.

Some get saved… some get a quick look, while others go directly into the trash… what is the difference between these catalogs? What makes some more important than others? How can you help ensure that yours will be saved from the junk pile?


Catalog Design Matters!

 A catalog is similar to a logo or business card, a tool used to identify and strengthen brand awareness. Marketing specialists and designers know how much is involved in the creation of a catalog and how much a good catalog can make the difference in terms of sales.

 Catalog design that catches the eye of the customer and answers the "What is in it for me?" question will likely lead to a higher volume of sales.


Designer color


It is essential to create a document that is:


Functional: easy to read and intuitively designed;

Appealing: uses high-quality paper and printing, a clear and modern layout and design


Eye-catching design, well-thought-out layouts, high-quality images and organization are a must for great catalog design. So, where do you begin? You already know you need a catalog, and maybe you even know what you want in it … now you just need help organizing your information so you can present it in an appealing way. Most people don’t know where to start when it comes to catalog design. Here are some helpful tips to make the catalog design less challenging.

1. Portray a story using the product images and descriptions

 Your customers aren’t just looking for a bunch of information. They want to know things they really care about – like how your product will fit into their daily lives or what kind of problems will be solved for them by buying your product or service. Try to craft a whole story with images and descriptions that tell them everything they want to know about your product without just cramming it all in.


Pretty layout


2. Design for Your Audience – Put yourself in the shoes of your end user

If you want the catalog to do its job well, you will need to  be sure that its design appeals to and connects well with your readers. For example, if you are a brand that wants to target the younger generation for your product offering, then the colors and themes used in the design of the catalog need to be entirely different from the one that is targeting a more mature audience.

 Remember also the attention spans of your target audiences, as you’ll likely have a lot less time in the hands of a younger audience, so bear this in mind when designing your catalog.




3. Size and Format

Give your products and services the space that they need. When designing your catalog, make sure it is large enough to showcase all of your products and draws attention to your most important products or services. Consider the page count, format and how it will make your customers feel.

You will want your customers to linger over the pages, taking in the details and the "story" of your work. A good place to get expert advice is from your favorite designer and printer.


Blank mockup


To create a catalog, you will need:

• Product data

• Images

• Catalog Layout

• A Designer/Printer


This information for the designer can be supplied in:

• Word documents, Excel sheets or TXT files

• Company website

• Previous catalog files (Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, etc.)


Layout with designers


The information your business wants to insert must be organized with consideration as to how the client will use the catalog. You need to consider several elements: will the client look for products by category, or will he flip through every page? It is useful to organize elements by category or by product features, such as price, color, application, and so on.  Sometimes it is useful to organize products in an intuitive way or use less strict criteria, maybe mixing the rules. In this way, customers will be more likely to flip though every page.





4. IMPORTANT: Use High Quality Images

Images of your products and services are the centerpiece of your catalog. Great photos will make your products more appealing and increase sales. Make sure all your images are taken with good lighting and are of an adequate resolution for printing. Most printers recommend 300 dpi for the resolution (the higher the better). Sometimes, you will not have all of the product images at your disposal and might try to retrieve them from your company’s website. These images will not be of a good quality (usually 72 dpi); and are not suitable for use in a print catalog. Always incorporate high quality images of the products being sold to make a positive impression. Poor quality photographs only diminish the integrity of the products. Consider using a professional photography service to make your product photos as appealing as possible. There are also some great stock photo or royalty free photo services available from which to get ideas, photos and graphics.




5. Catalog Layout

When you have all of the necessary elements gathered, you can move on to the layout phase of project. In this phase, the graphic designer is involved, much more so if you are creating the first edition of the catalog, or if you are looking for a redesign of your previous layout. Your designer can help you decide on a format, a page count, a size, etc.

The designer will help you with your ideas, organize the product information and images, and take care of the styling of the:

• Front cover and back cover

• The introduction pages

• Page layout/Master pages: header, footer, index, page columns, etc.

• Table of Contents

• Chapter separators

• Product layouts

• Creation of icons/symbols/logos.

• The designer will create many drafts, usually using Adobe InDesign, and generating proofs until all of your requirements have been fulfilled.


Book layout mockup


Describe your vision clearly to the designer…

Give your chosen artist as much detail as possible about your company and discuss your design vision. It may also be helpful to provide:

Your Future Printing. Are you looking to print just a catalog, a stationery set, postcard, apparel or more? Even if there aren't immediate needs, think long-term. An experienced designer should plan for all possible uses of their design.

Your audience. Knowing your audience will play a big role in the design direction. Creating something aimed toward school-aged kids will differ from something aimed toward retirees. Be sure to include discussion about the demographic you are looking to target in the beginning stages of the design.

Inspiration and examples. Don't hesitate to send to your designer examples of what you like. This will help them benchmark the style you are aiming to achieve. Browse other company websites or social meeting places like Pinterest for inspiration. Don't forget to note colors and font styles you like and don't like.


Designer screen


Make it super easy for your potential customers to be able to reach out to you

 You need to place your company’s contact information on every single page in the catalog, It should include an email address and the phone number that puts them in touch with your sales team. And, don’t forget to mention the company website URL, as the reader will more than likely want to check out your website and possibly place an order. All this ensures that customers find it easy to get in touch with a representative of your company if they have any questions or want to place an order.


Design layout


Proofing Stage: Do you have the look you want?

Don’t forget the design and print quality of your catalog is just as important as the information. A catalog design that is clear and simple will make certain that customers are able to shop for your products easily. A catalog that is simplistic in both design and layout will cater to the reader and potentially lead to more sales. Readers don't usually spend a lot of time looking for what they want so don't expect a bulky, hard to follow catalog to create a lot of sales. Keep the printed catalog simple and easy-to-read.

It’s important to keep in mind that your catalog will need improvements consistently until you hit a peak, when it comes to its sales performance. It’s a good idea to check with your sales team for their feedback and ask them how well the catalog functions for them as a sales tool.

Which means, unlike in the past, you’d be better off not to print a several year’s worth of catalogs, but maybe change the style and design every quarter or every year, to stay connected in this ever-changing world!




It’s Not Over Yet...Analyze the Results of Your Catalog Design Performance


Wondering how you can figure out the performance of your printed catalog? It isn’t as complicated as it would seem. All you need to do is find a connection between the customers who received your printed catalog and the sales figures you already have. If you find the catalog did actually set up the customer to call or visit your website, and then resulted in sales, you would know that it has performed well. In addition, if this was leading them to a digital platform, you should be able to use Google Analytics to make predictions about this.


As you can see, a catalog is a process that takes time, research, commitment and patience. And while all of this may seem intimidating, once you find the right procedure and more importantly, a trusted designer/printer, you can go back to that process over and over again. The right catalog formula will help drive sales and keep your customers coming back for more!

Contact us for all of your catalog design and printing needs!


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