Product catalogue design for Jane Crisp

Monday 5 June 2017

Jane Crisp's product catalogue is created from a series of postcards

Jane commissioned me to design a product catalogue to showcase her steam bent trugs and bangles, and bespoke commissions, alongside information about her story, the materials and processes she uses, and a price list.

Jane wanted to be able to post printed copies of her catalogue to potential stockists and clients, alongside a complementary bangle – a lovely way to demonstrate the materials she uses, and the quality of her workmanship. She also wanted to be able to display a digital version of the same design as an e-brochure using ISSUU.

An unusual format

Jane’s idea was to create her product catalogue from a set of A6 postcards which are joined using a copper nail and rove in exactly the same way as her steam bent trugs and bangles.

Binding postcards into a product catalogue in this way has several practical advantages – not only would Jane be able to tailor the exact combination of postcards she sends to each person, she would also be able to add in additional information about new products as needed, making it easy to add to or update. In addition, once bound in this way the postcards would fan out to create the same overlapping shapes as found in the products she makes.

Using individual postcards, bound into a product catalogue, means that Jane is able to update or replace each postcard easily

From a design perspective understanding and planning the order in which the information appeared in the product catalogue was going to be key to making this concept work. For the e-brochure a traditional double page spread layout would work better, but for the postcards the structure needed to work as individual double-sided postcards. In addition to this, each postcard needed to work independently, and not refer to previous or subsequent postcards in order to allow total flexibility about which postcards appear in each set.

Designing Jane’s product catalogue

To begin with Jane and I created rough dummies of the catalogue which we posted back and forth until we had a running order and structure of information which worked. Jane then worked with her photographer to capture the additional images we would need, and wrote the content that she wanted to include.

The postcards in the product catalogue which show Jane's products have detailed product information on the back

Each postcard has a large image on one side, with the related information on the reverse. For the postcards showcasing Jane’s products it is the lifestyle image which is used on the front, with the details on the reverse, while the information about processes and materials work the other way around.

Creating the visual design was made a lot easier because there was already a typographic specification and colour palette which I created as part of the branding work I did for Jane last year.

In order to accommodate the volume of information needed for the price list I designed it as a fold out sheet which Jane could print herself and include in the bound catalogue. I produced line drawings to use alongside the price information, which echo back to the ship-building past of the clinker construction technique that Jane uses.

The line drawings used on the price list which accompanies the product catalogue reflect the ship-building history of the clinker like construction

Materials

I was lucky enough to receive one of Jane’s gorgeous bangles along with the brief for this project. The finish of the wood is somehow simultaneously smooth but with a slight velvety texture. I was keen to find a material to print the postcards on which hit the same note.

Fedrigoni Old Mill was the perfect choice for this project. It is a good soft white in colour, uncoated, and toothy. Importantly, it is also compatible with the HP Indigo. When printing on uncoated stock some digital presses lay down ink or toner which sits on the surface of the paper, obscuring the paper’s texture. By combining HP Indigo technology with compatible paper you can avoid this problem, retaining the surface textures of the paper and achieving images and colours that have a pleasing softness.

Putting it all together

It is really important to make a good first impression when sending information to potential stockists or customers. To achieve this we needed to find a way to package the bound product catalogue with a three dimensional bangle in a way that not only protected both items in the post, but also showed them both off well.

Because the postcards are a standard size it was possible to source a mailing box which would fit them neatly. Combined with the bangle wrapped in tissue and sealed with a branded sticker, this makes a neat parcel to post, and protects the items from damage in transit.

The finishing touch was to design a wrap around sticker which would seal, brand, and address the box in one go. These are designed with space for Jane to hand write the address, creating an impression which is both personal and professional.

To chat about how I could help you to make a good first impression with your product catalogue, please send me a message.

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