How to Avoid Catalogs getting Thrown into the Trash

by . August 11th, 2012

How many times have you used a crumpled catalog or booklet to clean your desk or the spilled water in your coffee table? How many times have you used an oversized catalog to cover your head against the rain and dispose it when the weather gets fine?

Those are just some “heinous” circumstances faced by any printed catalogs where time, effort and money were exerted during their production. So, is it still good to invest in marketing with catalogs? The answer is YES, if you do it the RIGHT way.

Untrashed Exhibition Catalog by Sensus Design Factory Zagreb (Source)

Marketing your products and services through catalog printing is not done in one sitting or overnight. It requires some basic and important rules to follow to be able to come up with effective ones.


Rule #1: Do Some Research and Plan


Market research and planning out your next catalog printing endeavor is necessary. The research process involves determining the different factors that should be considered in creating the material. These factors serve as your ingredients in drafting your project plan. You may start figuring out all of this by answering some common questions which include:


  • Who are my target customers? Do my products suffice their needs?
  • Who are my competitors? What will I do to overcome the competition?
  • What are the latest trends in the market that may directly/indirectly affect my promotional campaign?
  • What are the materials needed? Where will I get these materials?
  • What are the possible expenses? Is my budget enough to realize the project?


Catalog of Design Process by Siang Ching (Source)


Other aspects include your objectives, initial design concepts and project background. Those are just some important inquiries you must consider in planning out your project. The good thing about research and planning is that you do things in order and having an initial perspective on how your project will go on. This will help you organize each detail and manage the whole process properly.


Rule #2: Come Up With an Exceptional Design


Remember that customers will always judge your catalog by the way it looks. Make your layout and design as attractive as possible. But being attractive does not mean that you have to pour all the colors or graphics. It goes with the idea of standing out among the crowd without overdoing it. Creativity is at its best when it blends with uniqueness.

ShowRoom Flexible Product Catalog by StockInDesign (Source)


Lemon Light – summer 2012 – collection catalog by Dona Baronesa (Source)

Stefan Sagmeister // Exhibition Catalogue by Kelley Brady (Source)

This is both true whether you design it yourself or hire a professional designer. But either ways, you must still have the basic knowledge of the important aspects of good catalog design. Here are some major tips:


  • Pick the right color scheme/theme that best suits the personality of your business. The colors are oftentimes anchored with the company’s stationaries. But of course it all depends on how you will incorporate it in the design.
  • Minimal graphics are good. Remember that the products must be the star of your catalog and not the extra elements such as graphics.
  • Use of high quality images. As mentioned above, photographs are your major tools in making your catalog effective. If possible, always invest in professional photography.
  • Create a catchy cover design. The cover is very important in attracting your potential customer to flip through the pages of your catalog.


Bratpack PEG Catalog Local 2012 (cover) by Raxenne Maniquiz (Source)


DC Shoes Catalogs by Brad Dowdle (Source)


Graduation Catalog, Krooning 2011-2012 WDKA by Giselle Segura Gelink (Source)

Rule #3: Use Concise, Simple and Straight-forward Content


Aside from making sure that you catch the attention of your customers through the design, you must also do the same with your content. Don’t forget to convince them to buy the product by making your content simple, easy to understand and direct to the point.

Minimalist Catalog Design via Denbagus blog  (Source)


Target Kids Catalog by Joann Wu (Source)

Don’t be so technical especially when presenting the information of your product. Write the content as if you are just talking to your friend – telling him/her to grab one of the products that worked for you. It is also important to use call to action statements to achieve the goals of your material.


Rule #4: Invest on the Best Materials


Attractive design and good content will all be wasted if you use low quality materials in printing your catalog. Some may use them to cut printing cost but in the end, their prints never attain the expected results. The use of high quality materials will not just make the catalog design look better but also make it durable enough to last longer. Materials that can be kept and used for some time are most preferred by many.

Efecte Cinema Catalog by Bendita Gloria (Source)

For instance, a customer will most likely read and keep a catalog that is printed on glossy paper than those printed 0n newsprint or low quality paper stock. Catalogs using the best materials always give better results and good return of investment.


Krooked Skateboarding Fall Catalog by Julian Jones-Pittman (Source)

Catalogue / Statovac-komerc d.o.o. / season 2011 by Igor Trajkovic (Source)

Catalog marketing is still one of the best strategies that you may apply for your next business venture. All you need is the right tools of the trade, concrete planning, a unique marketing concept and a little dose of creativity. Then you are ready. If you are wondering why you fail in marketing your business using catalogs, probably you avoid implementing some of these rules.


For comments, suggestions, and thoughts, don’t forget to shoot us a message through the comment box below. Find us on  FacebookTwitter and Google Plus for more updates. Subscribe to our blog for an exclusive access to our daily dose of design awesomeness!