Stevens Design Studio Catalog Ideas

The following information was presented at a round-table discussion on catalog design hosted by Stevens Design Studio at the 2005 Spring New England Mail Order Association (NEMOA) conference:

Have a Point of View - Use Design To Tell Your Product Story

Be Somebody...
Your catalog must have a point of view, an opinion, a style, a look and feel. It should tell a story: about your products; about how the consumer can use them; about one person that used these products; about the personality of your company; about the town you make them in; about the people that make them. Make your customer care about you and make sure they know that you care about them.

Be Informative...
Tell the advantages of each product, how to use it, why the consumer should buy it. Also include information on your product categories to enhance the story and increase the consumer's perceived need for your product. In your catalog make suggestions and recommendations. People are busy, they will find your information useful, and it will guide them to the purchases that are right for them.

Be Relevant...
Today's consumers are well informed with a world of information available at their fingertips. Your catalog needs to be honest and meaningful. Consumers must feel they are being offered products of quality and value that meet a specific need. It is your job to understand that need and quickly establish how your product will solve their problem, add to their comfort, make them feel good.

Be Consistent...
Establish your company's attitude and present that attitude consistently to your audience. With so many products available and so much information, consumers look to trusted brands and previous experience for confidence when making a purchase.

Be Beautiful...
Your catalog should match the design and production standards of quality publications the consumer sees everyday - books, magazines, newspapers and the catalog leaders. It must be visually appealing and attractive to your audience.

Be Fun...
Create your catalog with a magazine format in mind. Keep the spreads interesting with a focal point and coordinating theme. Add some creative surprises. You want your audience to travel through your catalog and enjoy the experience.

Keep It Fresh - Redesign Your Catalog While It Still Looks Good!

Your catalog should be kept creatively fresh. Keep an eye on color and style trends and make changes before your pages look dated. It is also very important to keep your products and catalog story current and meaningful. Be sure to review your catalog often and build in the time to make design and content changes prior to the production schedule.

Review Your Current Catalog:
  • What is working?
  • What isn't working?
  • What content should be changed?
  • How is the catalog navigation?
  • Is it telling a story?
  • Ideas for new photography?

Discuss The Goals For Your Next Catalog:
  • What is your vision for the next catalog?
  • What are your dreams for this catalog?
  • Consider the impossible.
  • Listen to everyone at this stage.

Visualize The New Catalog:
  • Put fresh ideas on paper.
  • Decide what design elements establish the new look.
  • Determine the typographic style to use.
  • Create page formats and template layouts.
  • Develop product groupings.
  • Create story elements.
  • Plan new photography and interesting settings.

You may not need to totally redesign your catalog. A new layout or fresh color scheme might be enough to update your look. But at certain stages in your catalog history it might be appropriate to rebuild your pages. Be sure the redesign focuses on your products and their attributes, page design elements should enhance your products and not overpower them.

Go back