Most companies use a product catalogue in their daily work – whether they hand it over directly to the customer or attach it to an e-mail in an online form. In each case, the catalogue must fulfil its function, which is to present the company’s offer in the best and clearest way possible. In order to achieve this, you need to remember a few key steps and features that you must not overlook.
ANALYSIS AND IDENTIFICATION OF NEED
Several important aspects need to be established before the design process begins:
- to whom the catalogue is addressed,
- what preferences the selected group has – what they like and what they don’t like
- what the language and style of the catalogue should be,
- What should the catalogue contain: the entire offer, a selected product group, current promotions or perhaps new products on offer?
- what is the budget for printing. This is especially important when designing a catalogue cover to know what kind of finishing to choose or what to forego in order to meet the budget criteria.
Once you’ve answered all the above questions it’s time to get more specific. How to arrange the information so that the catalogue fulfils its main functions? What should be used to make it clear and intuitive?
Even aspects such as where readers to look first, how the large space around the text makes it more likely to be read, should be taken into account here. With this knowledge, the catalogue can be navigated in the way we want and we can plan what will come first for readers. An appropriately chosen information architecture will make the catalogue easier to navigate, more intuitive and purchasing decisions a pleasure.
COMPLETION OF OTHER MATERIALS
A professional catalogue also means professional product photos, renderings, texts and translations. A design alone cannot fulfil its role if the catalogue is not enriched with high-quality photos or catchy slogans. Misspellings, incorrect styling or inaccurate translations are sure to put readers off. It is the coherent and balanced selection of all elements that creates a catalogue that sells.
At the beginning of design work one or two layouts are prepared. Once these have been thoroughly refined and consulted with the client, it is possible to proceed to the composition of the whole.
What else is worth paying attention to?
- Make sure all technical data, tables and charts are clear and easy to navigate.
- Products should be accompanied not only by an attractive photo but also a description highlighting the uniqueness of the product and its main features.
- Limit the number of photos on one page – sometimes one larger, clearer photo can express more than 10 small focused ones.
- Colour combinations – remember not to use backgrounds and font colours that are too similar – this can turn out unreadable in print.
- Graphic representation of content. Icons and diagrams are always a good solution. We assimilate and process such information faster, and what’s more, it’s an additional visual value of the catalogue.
- The smallest details. Dots at the end of sentences, the same icon line or font size – remember that consistency is key and you should stick to one arrangement throughout the catalogue.
- When printing your catalogues later, pay attention to the type and weight of the paper. In the case of many photos, it is often better to use slightly thicker paper, and the photos themselves can be additionally protected with varnish.