Catalog: (n) a book, usually illustrated, containing details of items for sale.
As simple as this definition may sound, the reality is that designing a catalog requires preparation, specification and of course, a little imagination.
The following paragraphs will provide you with a basic idea on how to prepare for your design, specify product descriptions and adding a bit of magic in your design to make your customers want to continue browsing thorough every single product you have.
Before you begin
- It is important to pay attention to the smallest details when creating a printed catalog.
- All Images need to be high resolution.
- Headlines and description have to be concise and relevant to the product.
- The paper and finish you chose will play an important role in the success of your catalog.
- Make sure to have your final draft proofread a couple of times by different agents in your company; Grammar and/or simple errors can reflect poorly upon your brand.
“In their splendor, images effect a very simple communion of souls.” – Gaston Bachelard
When presenting your products within a catalog, in essence, you are producing an extension of the physical product for your customer. Therefore, it is of upmost importance to have clear, high resolution, quality photographs and/or clean vector images. The goal is to make a connection between the viewer and the product as if they were holding the product in their hands.
Concise: (adj) brief in form but comprehensive in scope.
The purpose of a headline is to solicit the reader’s attention, engage his or her interest and finally, entice them to keep reading. Keep it short and to the point. A headline should not be misleading; It should be utilized as a tool for the reader to find what they seek quickly, all the while trying to spark an interest they were unaware of.
The product description is the opportunity given by the headline, to capitalize and make the sale. Depending on the type of products you are promoting, a description can be a block of text or just bullet points.
Here are a few tips on what a description should include:
- Physical description: Remember the product image does a great job of this but the conversion lies in the details
- Manifest the need: Justify the reasons why the customer “needs” your product and the benefits that accompany the purchase
- Technical Details: Provide sizes, manufacturing materials, quantity, everything relevant to the product
- Additional details: Include any copy regarding where to find warranty information and how to contact a knowledgeable associate regarding the product
Spice Up the Design and Content with the Appropriate Finish
With so many incredible finishing options available for catalogs, finding a combination that suites your products and design is certainly a crucial step. This choice is best determined once the design has been completed or at least when the design has been planned (except for size and orientation).
Layout, size, colors and budget all play an important roll in this equation.
The following is a list of popular finishes available for your catalogs:
- UV Coating – High Gloss
- Spot UV – High gloss in specific areas of the design
- Aqueous Coating – Matte (less expensive than Varnish, full coverage only)
- Varnish – Matte
- Spot Varnish – Matte in specific areas of the design
- Saddle Stitching (Staples)
- GBC Bound (Comb)
- Spiral Bound (Plastic Coil)
- Wire-O (Double-loop Wire)
- Perfect Bound (Spine Glued to Cover)