Catalogs: Are They Still a Key to Strong Sales?


Catalog marketing has many advantages, and it is no secret that a well-designed catalog will help you reach a higher level of marketing success. In this post, we are going to zero in on the key factors to consider when redesigning (or doing a first-time design) for your product catalog. We’ll also take a look at two of our customer catalog programs that reflect these best practices.

Know Your Audience

Knowing who your audience is important, and when it comes to designing your catalog, you will need to choose the right tone, font, images, layout, and colors that communicate specifically to your audience to draw them in.

Know Your Content

Whether you are designing a product catalog, an informational catalog or other type of catalog, you need to plan and gather your content. This will help you to choose the right size and page count. Outline what products you want to list, what information and topics you want to communicate, and gather relevant existing product and glamour images that could be utilized.

Size Matters

Depending on your budget and the amount of content you wish to include in your catalog design, you need to choose the right size for your goals. Larger catalogs, like 8.5 x 11 or 9 x 12 catalogs, are ideal if your catalog design includes many images and details and are also ideal for mailing as they will stand out more. A 5.5 x 8.5 or 6 x 9 catalog is good for simpler catalogs that are light in text or catalogs you wish to hand out at a trade show or event to make them easier to carry around.


If you plan to keep the catalog in a digital format only, a regular letter-sized format works best in case the end user wants to print it out.

Make Sure Your Story Flows

From the front cover to the back cover, each page within your catalog needs to seamlessly flow together. This includes the theme, the design and tone. Your catalog is just one tool in your marketing arsenal and the content within it need to work together to deliver your overall message. This goes for the items you highlight as well. If you are listing every product you have for sale, group related products together.

Showcase Your Best Products

What sells the most? What makes your company the most money? What will your audience who is receiving your catalog enjoy or need the most? Highlight these items with images, larger text, borders, or shapes. You can even use an entire page to highlight one of your most profitable products or services. Some marketers use the first few pages in their catalog to highlight a handful of their most popular products along with the corresponding page number for readers to easily navigate to the full product listing.

Brand Counts

At the end of the day, your catalog needs to relate to your business and your readers need to know who your catalog came from. This is one of the most important and easy catalog design tips. Include your logo, contact information, company tagline, etc., within your catalog design including the front cover, back cover, and inside pages.

Examples of These Lessons

To illustrate what we talked about in the above “tips” for great catalog design, below you will see examples and explanations of two client catalog projects where each client had a unique set of challenges, and we discuss how we created a new catalog design plan that fit their needs and worked to drive more sales.

 

Clyde’s Donuts

Clyde’s Donuts approached us with a desire to produce their first full-line product catalog. Our design team wanted to highlight Clyde’s delicious donuts through new photography, while at the same time developing a flexible design template that could be used both digitally and in print without any changes to the overall format.

The horizontal layout set the design apart from generic portrait, letter-size documents. The format allowed for the design to have text as well as large, beautiful glamour photographs of Clyde’s products. To achieve the flexibility that Clyde’s desired, we proposed a landscape, letter-size format. Margins were set so that the design could easily be printed by a customer on a standard office printer or could also be sent to a traditional print shop and spiral bound at the top of the catalog.

To allow the greatest flexibility for the sales team to tailor the catalog to different customers, page numbers were eliminated, and instead clear section headers were designed. This allows Clyde’s sales team to easily pull sections from the catalog to send to customers as a more customized presentation. Product category pages use concise text for a quick read and can easily be pulled from the catalog to function as stand-alone category sales sheets. Individual product pages use a clean, structured grid that clearly defines subcategories with sections as well as allows for highlighting brand attributes and fun facts about their products. Overall, Clyde’s was thrilled with both the beautiful photography and ultra-flexible design of the catalog.

 

Lofthouse

We have been creating the Lofthouse seasonal ISB catalogs for years, in addition to other sales and marketing collateral. But in 2022, their sales team was finding it a challenge during the pandemic to keep their Everyday products “top of mind”... thereby leading to a decline in sales for that category.

Our team of experts examined the ways that Lofthouse was using their various marketing tools, and we realized that the ideal solution would be to expand each seasonal catalog to include their complete line of Everyday frosted cookies as well as their Signature and Lofthouse brands of wire-cut cookies.

The catalog quickly became a one-stop source for important seasonal forecasting as well as order/ship dates, and useful information on their Everyday, All Occasion and Premium Flavored cookies, providing their customers with a better, easier-to-use shopping experience!

 

The On Target, On Message Design of Your Catalog Makes All the Difference!

The way you market your product has the greatest impact on sales and your bottom line. A well-done catalog design will launch your products ahead of the competition and tell your story in a truly compelling way.

If you are looking for a brilliant design from marketers who know their stuff, talk to one of our experts to learn how Deforest Group can help your company grow.