Many companies now have an online presence, putting business and pricing information at the fingertips of customers and clients. But just because digital access is available doesn’t mean that customers don’t still appreciate having a tangible catalog or business brochure in their hands to access for convenience as well. Many industrial and manufacturing companies continue to rely on printed industrial catalogs so their customers can access product information and pricing during their merchandise planning phases. And having a catalog in hand to mark up, circle important information, dog-ear pages, or refer to at a glance is still important even in the digital age. Let’s take a look at how to create a catalog for your business so that your customers will have a reminder of your company in their offices, businesses, or homes with a beautifully designed and functional printed industrial catalog.
Is a Printed Industrial Catalog Important?
Digital “flip boards” are great tools to have for companies to show their customers in person, but there is no substitute for a physical catalog. Used in conjunction with digital tools, print catalogs can be very valuable for store owners, small businesses, and others who may need to consider pricing and other details about products in hand while making decisions about supplies or products.
Considerations for Printed Industrial Catalogs
Self-publishing an industrial or manufacturing catalog can be a fairly simple and straightforward process. But business owners will want to make sure that they pay attention to specific areas of concern, including how you introduce your business, the overall layout of the catalog, the inclusion of relevant design features, and the way your products are presented through pictures, graphics, and text.
1. Business Introduction
One of the best ways to leave a lasting impression on your customers is with a strong business introduction in an “About Us” section. Be sure that basic information like branch locations and corporate contact information is prominent. Including the names of companies your business partners with can build confidence in potential customers who may be considering using your company’s products. This area is also a good place to tell the story of how the company began, spotlight key players or valuable employees, or even provide a timeline of the company’s evolution.
An printed industrial catalog must be user-friendly. Including a Table of Contents and even an Index (for companies with large amounts of products) is always a good idea. Including “how to” areas on some pages is an excellent way to showcase new or unfamiliar products. But you need to first think about how your customer will want and need to use the catalog before you present the products. Customers should intuitively see how the catalog is laid out so using it is simple and understandable. Some meaningful ways to structure your catalog are:
- Small, basic, or inexpensive products before the largest or most expensive products
- Newest products before older or more established product lines
- Clusters of products that work together
- Alphabetical ordering of big categories or types of products
- Main product areas with subcategories of related products or products that are commonly used together
3. Design Features
While using a professional designer is not a requirement, remember that the catalog is an extension of your brand.
- One Look – The catalog should be cohesive and reflect the look and feel of your company. Making your catalog look great is key because customers and potential customers will have this catalog in their hands for seasons if not years to come.
- Text and Font – Be sure that the text used for the majority of the catalog is easy to read and in a large enough font size. Impactful fonts work best when they are used sparingly.
- Whitespace – Don’t be afraid to leave white space in your catalog because it can visually balance text- or graphics-heavy pages as well as provide necessary space for notes or computations by users.
- Branding – The company brand should be clear throughout the catalog and the colors, tone, and graphics used in the publication should be complementary to the company branding. Consider repeating the logo, brand name, catchphrase, or another corporate graphic throughout the catalog to remind customers of the brand on every page.
4. Pictures and Graphics
Using crisp, clear photos to represent your products is a must, so be sure that all pictures have at least 300 dpi. But some products may do well with accompanying graphics, sketches to show usage, or photos showing the products in use. Graphics should be easy to read and follow the same color schematics as the catalog as a whole. Every picture or graphic included in the catalog should have an obvious purpose so the catalog will not end up feeling cluttered or jammed with visuals to take up space. Don’t be afraid to include a fun or whimsical touch to the catalog if it matches your brand or company personality. Humorous side notes, clever sayings, or funny characters that provide helpful information for customers all might be potentially something that makes your printed industrial catalog stand out from the rest.
5. Product Details
The products and their information are the stars of the printed industrial catalog. Your customers should be able to learn the critical details about products at a glance, so presenting each product in a uniform way is the easiest way to ensure the catalog is user-friendly. Consider using a standardized pattern or chart throughout the catalog to present the product number, pricing, and specifications for each product so users will know exactly where to look. For companies with extensive product lines, presenting a picture or graphic of all products may not be possible. But businesses should consider including as many products in their industrial catalog printing as possible to reach the widest range of potential customers.
Making the Outside Look Great
Creating a front and back cover for the catalog is important since it will be highly visible. Get help from a design professional when you are self-publishing your catalog to make sure that the design, colors, and feel of the cover represent your brand and will be something you will be proud of for years to come.
Printed industrial catalogs can be bound in multiple fashions depending on the size of the contents and how your company wants to present the publication.
- Perfect Bound – softcover; sturdy adhesives bind pages onto the spine; works well for large catalogs
- Plastic Coil– softcover; plastic coils run through holes to bind; pages lay flat well; works for catalogs from 8-500+ pages
- Saddle Stitch – paper or softcover; uses staples to bind; works for catalogs from 8-80 pages
- Wire-O – softcover; metal wire run through holes to bind; pages lay flat well; works for catalogs from 8-300 pages
Industrial Catalog Printing
Self-publishing a catalog for your manufacturing or industrial business can be overwhelming so using a free catalog template is a good option to help you get started creating a well-organized, beautiful catalog. But the most important aspect of industrial catalog printing is working with a reputable company that can turn your digital files into a catalog your business will love. Dazzle Printing has been successfully working with companies of all sizes to self-publish their industrial and manufacturing catalogs for years. The experts at Dazzle Printing can help your company every step of the way as you design a beautiful and professional industrial catalog to help drive sales, provide tangible information for potential customers, and be a hands-on marketing tool to give to customers.