Five Tips for Catalog Design

Can a catalog also be a work of art? We think so. Check out five key elements to keep in mind as you roll out your next edition.

With the renewed interest in print catalogs, it’s more important than ever to create a catalog that is compelling to buyers. That means designing the catalog for your audience and appealing to their lifestyle aspirations. Simply creating a good catalog isn’t enough, you want your catalog to be great—meaning it reinforces your brand image, promotes your products effectively and generates sales.

Here are the five elements to focus on during the catalog development process:

1. Design

There should be consistency in imagery, layout, typography and information throughout the catalog. The cover sets the stage and the tone for what consumers can expect on the inside.

2. Photos

The quality of your photography is central to any catalog. A bad photo will make even a great product appear to be inferior in quality. You want professional images with flaws removed.

3. Copy

The amount and type of information provided will depend on the products featured in the catalog, but again consistency is your watchword. You want language that is descriptive, but not over-the-top. It is essential that there is a similar size, type style and format to the copy. You want to strike a balance between creative and objective with your tone.

4. Purchase Methods

Your audience will determine what purchase information is included in the catalog. For consumers, you need pricing and order information as part of the layout. If your catalog is to the trade, you will probably want a separate confidential pricing sheet, while a sales support catalog should include a where to buy list.

5. Distribution

A focused marketing campaign is important to ensure that your catalog is getting into the hands of the people who will be most interested in your products. Distribution methods include mass mailing, emailing, handing out catalogs at events or including them in another publication.

Finally, don’t make the mistake of simply recycling last year’s design with a new cover and the same interior format. You should have a marketing strategy that guides not only the look of your catalog, both inside and out, but also the timing of when your catalog is distributed.