A catalog is your chance to show your product or service off to the world. A beautifully designed catalog is a showpiece. It’s also an excellent marketing tool that can increase your sales and heighten customer loyalty. If you’re producing your company’s catalog or designing a catalog for your store, take the time to make it count. Here are some catalog design tips for a catalog that gets results.
Why a Good Catalog Matters
Despite the rise of social media and online marketing, catalogs have remained an important way for retailers to keep in touch with their customers.
In a 2020 Harvard Business Review article, researchers found that physical catalogs resulted in a far better return on investment (ROI) than email marketing or online catalogs. Among other things, customers said it was easier to see themselves using the products when they had a physical catalog.
As a result, they were more likely to buy and more likely to spend considerably more money than people who only looked at online catalogs.
The article noted that many large retailers—including those that only sell online—were making new investments in high-quality catalogs.
Catalogs engage people on a deeper level
The U.S. Postal Service commissioned a study of physical catalogs and their impact on consumers. The USPS found that catalogs have a stronger influence on buying decisions than websites or TV ads. There were several reasons for this:
- Catalogs induce an immediate desire for the product.
- They stay in the house for a long time.
- People engage with catalogs on an emotional level.
- Physical ads help customers remember specific brands.
Now that you know how valuable a good catalog can be, let’s look at catalog design tips that will help you create a winning catalog.
Catalog Design Tips: 7 Steps to Success
1. Catalog Design Tips: Choose the Right Style
Decide what image you want your catalog to convey, and start thinking about the colors and font styles that fit that image. A catalog of children’s books, for instance, might feature characters from the books, bright pastel colors, and a cheerful overall feeling. A catalog for high-end fashions would use deep, elegant colors, dark fonts, and models wearing the clothing.
Think about the customer your catalog targets. What will make that customer pick up the catalog and start paging through it? An irresistible cover is one way. Be sure to put your most eye-catching products on the cover, but don’t clutter it up. A single, arresting image can sometimes be more interesting than a bunch of disconnected pictures.
Does your budget only go to two-color rather than four-color printing? Don’t worry, you can still get a great-looking catalog if you choose the right colors, images, and layout.
2. Catalog Design Tips: Get a Design Template
Are you worried that you need more than just catalog design tips? If you’re not a professional graphic designer, don’t worry. You can find templates that do the design and layout for you. Here are some places to find great-looking, customizable templates.
Adobe Express: The design software has several catalog templates you can personalize with your pictures, fonts, and more. It offers some good catalog design tips that will work for any business.
Flipsnack: This marketing-focused site has several free catalog templates. These are premade designs for products, fashion, books, and business services. However, you can customize them to fit your design needs. The templates are interactive and can be used to create digital or physical catalogs.
Template.net: Another free site, Template.net offers editable catalog templates. These can be downloaded and edited for free.
Clever Catalogs: This cloud-based service offers a free 15-day service to try the application. There is also a paid subscription that offers unlimited pdfs and storage of your completed product.
2. Catalog Design Tips: Select the Pictures
Pictures are the heart of every catalog. Don’t be tempted to take your own pictures. They’ll give your catalog an unprofessional look. Hire a professional to take photos of your products. The expense will be worth it when you see how stunning every item looks. A professional can suggest the best backdrop and lighting to make each item stand out.
To get the best results, use individual shots of each item against a light background. Try to get pictures of each item from different angles so you can choose the best of the bunch.
3. Catalog Design Tips: Choose a Font or Two
Your font is an important part of the design. Choose a font that matches the image you want your catalog to convey. Remember, serif typefaces are easier to read, so use those for the catalog copy. Some popular serif fonts are Times Roman, Garamond, Sabon, and Caslon.
Use serif or san serif fonts for your headlines and pull quotes. Using a mix of fonts will make your catalog more readable and attractive, but don’t overdo it. More than two fonts will look cluttered.
4. Catalog Design Tips: Write the Catalog Copy
Although a picture does most of the work selling a product, the right catalog copy can seal the deal. When you write the copy, think about your customer’s needs. What will this product do for them? Will it save them time, beautify their home, or make them look amazing? You only have a few words to tell them how it will enhance their lives.
Catalog Design Tips for Writing Copy
Use the active voice, and keep it brisk. Instead of saying, “Style and comfort are offered by our shoes,” say, “Our shoes give you style and comfort.” Try to pitch the product to the needs of various readers.
One buyer might be more interested in style than comfort, and others might enjoy suggestions on using the product. For instance, “Pair these sneakers with a pair of skinny jeans and a long cardigan for an easy weekend look.”
Study the catalogs you regularly receive to get an idea of how catalog writers convey the benefits you’ll enjoy once you own a product.
Add bullet points that describe notable features, for instance, the product’s dimensions, page numbers, the material it’s made from, and the colors it comes in.
5. Catalog Design Tips: Keep It Focused
A standard catalog format is an eight-page booklet that shows two groups of four products. Too many items on each page will give your catalog a cluttered look. You don’t have to show everything in your inventory in the catalog. The idea is to highlight new items, customer favorites, or sales and specials.
Some companies issue seasonal catalogs that highlight their products for that season, for instance, a gardening catalog might include seeds in their winter catalog to help people start planning their gardens for spring. Their spring catalog might focus on gardening tools or plant food to keep those gardens looking their best.
Catalog Design Tips for Choosing Products
Are you having a tough time choosing what to include? Try these tips.
For the cover, choose the most visually arresting product you have. Set it against a scenic backdrop, or show it combined with other products. For instance, a furniture catalog should show a well-designed, inviting room that uses the furniture inside the catalog.
A farm equipment catalog might show a classic farm with a cow in a pasture. Use an image that gets an emotional reaction from your readers.
For the rest of the catalog, include:
- New releases
- New colors or features for popular products
- Seasonal items
5. Catalog Design Tips: Add Pull Quotes
Pull quotes add liveliness and interest to your catalog. Many catalogs use excerpts of customer reviews in their pull quotes. You can also use a pull quote that calls attention to a product feature. Some examples might be “It’s waterproof!” or “Back by customer demand.” Pull quotes are eye-catching to readers, so make the most of them.
6. Catalog Design Tips: Select Your Paper
What paper is best for your catalog? You can choose a matte or gloss finish. You can also choose card stock or lightweight paper. The cost will vary for these features, so talk to your printing professional about ways to make your catalog look its best.
7. Catalog Design Tips: Get your catalog professionally printed
One of the top catalog design tips is to get your catalog professionally printed. Even a well-designed catalog will lose its impact if it’s printed poorly. Professional printing can be surprisingly affordable. Make the investment in yourself and your business.
Get Pricing for Your Catalog
We hope you’ve enjoyed these catalog tips. When it’s time to print your catalog, talk to Dazzle Printing. We help you look good in print, even if you’re working on tight deadlines and on a small budget. Check our pricing calculator to get an estimate on your next printing job.