Time for your catalog redesign?

When should you consider redesigning your catalog? The snap answer is when sales drop off dramatically. The smarter answer, of course, is before sales drop off. Even if your catalog's sales are currently fine, consider tweaking a few things to keep your catalog up-to-date, timely and working as hard as it can for you.
Some considerations we suggest to our customers:

  •  Have the elements that made your catalog special in the first place gotten watered down over the years?
  •  Has your copy tone lost it’s punch?
  •  Does your catalog look a bit stale and old-fashioned?
  •  Do the color palette, fonts and design appear behind the times?

Steps to take before proceeding with any catalog redesign

  • Update your customer profile. If your catalog has been around for a few years it’s likely your customer’s interests, tastes and shopping habits have changed over time.
  • Get feedback from your customer service staff. They are the front line to your customers and hear first hand your customer’s catalog experience.

Guidelines for proceeding:

    Your redesign should be an evolution not a revolution. A radical design could turn off your customers, at least confuse them—and worse, imperil your catalog’s brand image.
    Bring in an outside creative resource (like us) who will approach your catalog with fresh eyes and new ideas. Read our article about Design Trends for more insight.

Our process for catalog design and redesign
These are questions we consider to boost your brand and your sales:

  • How can we better deliver our brand story?
  • How can we present our products in a better light?
  • How can we make our catalog's points of differentiation more obvious?
  • We start by looking at what other catalogs are doing. Not just your competitors, but what the dozens of catalogs from across the country look like. We spread them out on a conference room table and together we leaf through them and compare them to your catalog.
  • Before making color palette recommendations we research what colors have been popular for the past few years and what hues are forecast to soon be in vogue. This will provide an idea of colors your customers and prospects will be seeing in stores and in the media, so they will likely feel comfortable with these shades in your redesign.
  • The same goes for typefaces. We see what fonts others are using, not just in the catalog arena, but in advertising, signage and magazine design. You want to be current while still maintaining effective readability. See our comments about typography.
  • Use a focus group of customers for preliminary layout review to see what works and what doesn’t. Seeing and hearing actual customers use and talk about the catalog makes a big difference. We've found that when designers and copywriters can attach faces and personalities to the people they're designing and writing for, sales increase. We also recommend having them compare the new designs to your current catalog so you’ll know what continues to work. A cover and 2 spreads of each design direction is enough.
  • Don't be surprised if your focus group attendees (as well as management) like different elements from each treatment. It happens all the time. But you'll find, in general, they'll all tend to favor one look over the others.

Here are a few creative “rules of thumb” we consider in our catalog design:

  • Heroes and sub-heroes: Every spread (not every page) should have a “hero” product, the one item that stands out the most on the entire spread and grabs the eye. A sub-hero is the second most important product on the spread.
  • Serif typefaces: They may not be cool, but when used in body copy score higher in readability and comprehension. And that translates into more sales.
  • Reverse type: Use it sparingly, if at all. Yes, it looks cool, but people have a tough time reading it. Plus, reverse type makes it harder for people to retain what they've read. Ditto type set in colors, run over busy backgrounds or set in all-caps.
  • Photo captions: Use them whenever possible. They score high in readership studies. Their use is a proven sales technique.
  • Testimonials: Yes, they still work. Try to weave a few throughout your catalog. The best testimonials are set in quotes and include the full name of the person who said it. Add their photograph increases effectiveness.

This list is far from complete. But it will give you an idea of what you can expect from us. Also we make two basic assumptions for relationship success with our clients. One; we always deliver more than is expected and Two; we view you as people who know the most. The catalog design project becomes a structured reliable event, directed by client-driven communication and in-house procedural controls. We will not step over any issue along the way to a successful catalog design.

Call Imagine, Inc today at 954.257.7066 to see our favorite catalog projects and  to discuss how we can help you with your first catalog design or your catalog redesign.

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