Louise Slater product catalogue design

Monday 23 October 2017

Combining textures can result in materials that are almost compulsively tactile

An eye-catching colour-coordinated envelope will help to make your printed catalogue stand out.

I was delighted when Louise Slater of Louise Slater Cards & Prints asked me to design a pair of printed wholesale catalogues and an order form to help her market her greeting cards.

Do I need to have a printed catalogue?

I’m often asked if it’s worth the expense of printing and posting out a catalogue. It’s clear that different industries have different standard practices, and that familiarity has an important part to play in how successful any approach will be. However, there is mounting evidence for the effectiveness of direct mail – and that includes printed catalogues.

Direct mail has been growing in effectiveness as the overall amount of post we receive has dropped, and the volume of email we receive has rocketed.

A study by MarketReach* showed that 87 percent of people are influenced to make a purchase online after receiving direct mail. Not only this, but printed catalogues tend to be trusted, retained, and shared with friends and family.

Regulations around email and telephone-based marketing are due to be tightened further in May 2018 with the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), making direct mail look increasingly appealing. And when your catalogue arrives in an eye-catching colour-coordinated envelope, it’s likely to stand out far more than an attachment to just another email.

Designing Louise’s product catalogues

Louise has an extensive range of cards (along with a range of other items) which feature reproductions of her lino prints, and she wanted to market these in two seasonal catalogues – Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer.

She already has a good basic identity consisting of a logo, typestyle and colour palette. This made the process of creating designs for her catalogues quicker and easier, but also increased the likelihood that my design would be consistent with the rest of her marketing materials.

The one missing part of the jigsaw was product photography.

Product photography

Photography has two purposes in a product catalogue – to accurately communicate the physical characteristics of the product, and to make the product appear as desirable as possible. To achieve this, two different types of photography are often used in combination.

White box photos show the details of a product against a plain background.

White box photos show the details of a product against a plain background.

White box photos show the details of a product against a plain, often white, background and are intended to be informative. The other type of photos are often referred to as ‘lifestyle’ images. In fact, they might either show a lifestyle that accompanies your product, or they might demonstrate the benefits that the product can bring. It’s these photos that are largely used to generate desire for the product.

As you can see, photography needs to work hard in a product catalogue. And this makes it doubly important to have good quality images of the things that you are trying to sell.

Lifestyle photography by Vic at Single Malt Teapot

Lifestyle photography by Vic at Single Malt Teapot

For Louise’s catalogues I began with white box shots of each product. With these done, I designed the entire layout for both catalogues in order to identify the specific size, shape, and content for a small number of lifestyle photographs. I was then able to commission Vic at Single Malt Teapot to take lifestyle photographs to fit in the specific spaces. By only shooting the exact lifestyle images that we needed we were able to make the process as cost-effective as possible.

Designing Louise Slater's product catalogue

Order form

It’s a good idea to make it as easy as possible for your customer to place an order. To do this, you need to remove as many obstacles from the ordering process as possible. Having an order form which is quick and easy to fill in and return is one part of this.

After lots of discussion about the various options for ordering, Louise and I settled on using an interactive PDF order form. PDF order forms can be professionally presented and fully branded, but can also be used easily and repeatedly.

In contrast, a printed form needs to be returned in the post. This has time and cost implications for your customer, but it also leaves the buyer without an accurate record of their order. In addition, printed forms are single use. All this places unnecessary obstacles in the way of your customer, but also makes repeat orders harder and far less likely.

Client testimonial

Delighted with my first trade catalogue skillfully designed by Sarah. She patiently guided me through every step of the way from start to finish, finding a solution for every outcome, including product photography, copy writing and final printing.

I now have beautifully designed digital and print catalogues reflecting my brand values to send out to clients. I’ve had an excellent response so far and Sarah’s design has helped me to push my business forward. Very good value for money too and stayed within budget.

I’ll be looking forward to working with Sarah in the future and I can highly recommend Lettica for graphic design work.

Thank you once again Sarah!

Louise Slater
Louise Slater Cards & Prints

* You can find this information, and more, on the Mailmen web site.

To chat about how I could help you create a product catalogue, please send me a message.

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