Making catalogs catch the eye
July 29, 2013 by James
There are many companies all throughout modern day America that use catalogs. Whether to promote products and services to a B2B audience or to list collated items to a consumer audience, catalogs are crucial. Incorrectly executed, and they become a very expensive mistakes though.
It does not have to be that way, however. By clever design and word-working, catalogs can become amongst the best marketing tools. It is all about designing something noticeable, about making catalogs that catch the eye.
The detail of design
The Devil is in the details, or so a commonly used saying goes. It may be something of an exaggeration, but the success or failure of a catalog certainly lies largely in its attention to detail.
It is here that a true printing professional really comes into her or her own too. With printing being their job and livelihood, all good printers will know how to design a catalog. From the layout and texts, to the colors and boxing, every item of design adds to the overall impact.
Naturally, the design needs to very much take its lead from the catalog and what is in it. It also needs to be led by what the business sector is, of course. These all go into the mix for creating a catalog that works according to definition, but remains eye-catching and noticeable.
Know your audience
Whether selling flanges in Florida or thingamajigs in Texas, it is essential to know your audience. There have been countless occasions where perfect catalog design has proved pointless because of the right design being in front of the wrong audience. Quite simply though, it should not happen.
If a company does not know the audience it is targeting, serious questions need to be asked in any case. However, even if the audience is known, designing a catalog which would be eye-catching to them is not straightforward.
Again, a professional printer can be a help here, with examples of other catalogs that have worked for certain demographics. In reality though, it is for the internal teams to know what their audience is looking for, what they are attracted to, and how they want to buy it.
No matter how harsh a reality, no matter how upsetting, size does matter. It does in the world of catalog design certainly. There needs to be enough space for the products, services, and messages to be clearly displayed, of course. However, it is imperative that the pages are not cluttered.
Similarly, it is important that the bordering of the pages works, naturally drawing a reader into the page and focusing their eyes where the action point is. It is all about creating enough space for the items to sell themselves, but not to be too tightly packed to be too busy.
The size of the catalog is also an important factor to get right for other reasons. It has become a trend for catalogs to become smaller and able to be put into a handbag or courier bag. This works well for the right company but, not always. If the catalogs are to be used as desk or office reference, an eye-catching small size is not going to fly so well.
A material world
Closely related to the size of the catalog in many ways, the materials used in a catalog are also important. For a luxurious consumer brand, a suitably luxuriously feeling catalog with thick and textured paper will work. In relation to size, this means that smaller and simpler will work, and allow extra cash to be spent on materials.
In the case of a trade catalog to business though, such details are not going to be important and will simply ruin the image. Bright colors that stand out, and lots of pages, are likely the order of the day here. Thinner papers and simple covers will most likely work better here.
Another way that catalogs can become really eye-catching is with the use of extra detailing in the catalog. Back to luxurious brands as a example, embossed detailing and watermarks may work well. Conversely, trade catalogs will need a simple approach, with a glossy or matte cover and no embellishments.
Combination of color
Naturally, the easiest way to make catalogs eye-catching is to introduce color. However, this needs to be done sensibly. Too much, and it will look too busy again. Not enough, and it simply will not be noticed, quite the opposite of what needs to be achieved.
Once again, being able to trust your printing company is fundamental to getting things right. It will know what colors work well together and which do not, and should also know which combinations of color are working well at the present time, which is always a good trend to tap into.
One of the key areas of quality catalog designs is the images. These are fundamental to the success of the catalog, for many reasons. Firstly they are there to show the customers what it is they are buying, so they need to be accurate. They are also there to give flesh to the description of the product or service, another important aspect.
Other targets of a picture in a catalog are to illuminate and illustrate. They are quite literally there to catch eyes and lead them to the action point. It is for this reason that where they sit in a page is important – something else a printer can help with.
Most importantly with images and pictures, though, is that they are of the highest quality possible. They should not be ripped from websites, for example, or taken with a phone camera. Good lighting should always be used, and with a high resolution.
Catalogs are still one of the very best ways of getting your message to your customers, and are also an effective means of getting a lot of information in front of them. Better than many other forms of media, catalogs are likely to stay in the hands of customers for a long time, being constant points of reference and interest – when well designed and eye-catching, in any case.