Catalog Design

Design matters when selling your product

At Courier Graphics we produce an enormous number of printed catalogs each year, from automotive parts catalogs, to high-end fashion catalogs. We would like to share with you some best practices for your next catalog. Catalogs are one of the most essential sales and marketing tools to sell your products and services. Catalogs inspire and create desire through connection with your product. This is your time to shine on your next catalog project with our tips, tricks, and layouts below.

Catalog sizes that won’t break the bank!

Most printed catalogs start at the standard 8.5 x11 size, however there are other options that won’t break the bank. Different sizes will help your catalog stand out from the rest. Here is a rundown of our most economical sizes, and page count increments.

The US Standard Size – 8.5” x 11”

The good old 8.5 x 11. We produce tons of catalogs at this size, this size is very cost-effective and fits most needs. Prints in 4pg 8pg 12pg 16pg 32pg increments.

The Old US Standard Size – 8.375” x 10.875”

Most older web printing presses cannot print full 8.5 x 11, they can only print 8.375 x 10.875, but here at Courier Graphics we can produce 8.5 x 11. If you want to go a little more custom, we can also offer sizes ranging from (7” x 11”) to (9.25” x 11”). Please note these sizes are a little more custom and may affect the total price. But to get the best bang for your buck, stick with 8.5 x 11, slightly larger sizes can increase the costs. Prints in 4pg 8pg 12pg 16pg 32pg increments.

The Oversized Catalog – 10” x 12”

This size is great for catalogs with extra-large photography, scenic photos, travel industry, and automotive or marine products. Please keep in mind this will cost a bit more than the standard sizes above. Prints in 12pg increments.

The Digest Size – 5.375” x 8.375”

Named after the common “Readers Digest Magazine” this smaller handheld is very cost-effective and fits in one hand nicely. Prints in 16pg, 24pg, 32pg, or 64pg increments.

The EURO Size – 6” x 9”

We call this one the euro because it’s a little bigger and more unique. Prints in 24pg or 48pg increments.

The Tabloid Size – 11” x 17”

This jumbo catalog will definitely make a statement in your customers hands. This is a very large page size and non-traditional, helping your catalog stand out. Other companies have found this works great for coffee table books, fashion books or supersized images. Like the oversized catalog, the bigger the page size, the more it will cost, so keep that in mind. Prints in 8pg increments.

The Slim Jim – 4” x 9” or 4.75” x 11”

This size is often used for the traditional tourism racks. Our sports and outdoor clients love this size because it can more easily fit into a pocket or zipper somewhere within the packaging of a product or the product itself. Prints in 8pg increments.

The New Postal Standard – 6” x 10.5”

Many marketing professionals prefer this size because it is almost the maximum size for postal regulations as a letter. This size can save you money on postage compared with an 8.5 x 11. Prints in 24p or 48pg increments.

The Mini Coupon Book – 4” x 6”

This little guy can fit in your back pocket, it commonly used for coupon books or instruction manuals. We can print this one 3up (3up is printing terms for very cost effective!) Less expensive to print than other sizes, but ideal for a small pocket-size book. Prints in 16pg or 32pg increments.

If you have a size that doesn’t fit our suggestions, no worries! We love custom projects – these are mere suggestions that get the best bang for your buck.

It starts with the Creative Design and Compelling Content

Capturing the shopper’s attention with the design is important. Build your design around a theme, color scheme, season, or major product launch to help tie the entire piece together. For our clothing clients, the design is usually built around the season, our automotive products are similar in the fact that the catalog is often centered around vehicles that fit best in that season. Ensuring you have a strong section that outlines who your company is and what your brand stands for will help connect the audience with your company. Create a clear call to action that leads the shopper to your website and/or details the order information. The vast majority of your content should be used to showcase your product and product details.

How to Create Product Descriptions

Make it easy for your customers to be able to quickly find what they’re looking for. The right information in the right location with a catchy name can take your shopper from a quick glance, to flipping back to certain products multiple times.

  • Product name: Go for a branded, but clear, memorable title.
  • Catchy description: This is your sales pitch. Make it customer-centered, as well as a reason to buy. Be consistent in length and without too much fluff.
  • Product ID# or SKU#:  Get the information needed to buy your product and make it easy to locate.
  • Product specs and details: Size, color, weight, assembly, materials, place of origin, variations available, etc.
  • Price: MSRP, retail, wholesale, or call for pricing.
  • Call to actions: Order now! Call now! Visit online! Try now today!

Eye-catching Layout Ideas

It goes without saying, a picture is worth a thousand words – you don’t need mounds and mounds of text to sell your product. The right picture with the right layout will do the work for you. Below are a few layout ideas to help build those words into the picture.

  • The showstopper layout: A full-page image featuring one main product and maybe a couple of secondary ones. These are the products that are new or featured in this campaign.
  • The category collection layout: One large image that shows all types of the same products next to each other, with consolidated product descriptions. (2/3 image, 1/3 text)
  • A marketing layout: A highly visual layout with pull-quote style descriptions or marketing copy to “advertise” a particular product or brand ideal.
  • The listing layout: A dense layout with an obvious grid that efficiently lists your products and their details on one spread for a whole category.
  • A comparison layout: Place products in a like presentation, for example, in a line or grid so their individual attributes can be compared. Think one skirt in four lengths. This visually involves your customers in a choosing and buying decision whether they intended to do it or not.

Tips and Tricks for Getting the Best Photos

Photography can make or break your catalog. Your photos need to be on point to best showcase your products and inspire your shoppers. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your photography:

  • All photos should be well lit with clear detail. View the same product from 2-3 angles.
  • Shoot collections of products relating to each other. Creating visual relationships between products encourages people to buy them together.
  • Shoot lifestyle uses for your product—people or situations where your product is in use or being worn, so you can trigger an emotional connection relating to your product.
  • Shoot all your products with the same lighting and with zero distractions in the background. This minimizes confusion, leaves you with more layout options because products will have matching highlights, and you’ll achieve that pro look.
  • For more complicated products, shoot the different parts and pieces and inner workings disassembled, in close-up.
  • Shoot tight, close-up detail shots of your products. Focus on the details that distinguish that product from others in your product lines and/or your competitors’ products.
  • Even if you don’t use all these shots in one product catalog, by shooting all these options upfront at the same time, you’ll have more to work with for your other sales and marketing materials.

The Finishing Touch – Printing

This is where the final details of the magic come in. Reach out to us and we can give you guidance on the best press to produce your catalog on as well as provide endless finishing options to bring that buyer experience to a tactile level. To help you along this journey, we’ve created several resources for you:

  • Setting up files for printing provides detailed information on the best way to set up your files for best results.
  • The Spine Calculator will allow you determine the size to create your spine on your projects, taking out the guesswork in setting it up.
  • Check out the various binding options available for your project.