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25 Easy Catalog Design Tips for Maximum Results

Catalog Design Tips 

There's no denying that catalog marketing has many advantages. And it’s no secret that a well-designed catalog will help you reach optimal marketing success.

From increased brand visibility to increased sales and every catalog benefit in between, follow these catalog design tips to generate maximum results.

Even if it's your first time designing a catalog, don’t worry, these catalog design tips are simple and will help you create a stunning catalog.

1. Identify Who You Want to Attract

You want to design for your customers and potential customers.

Take notes on how audiences interact with your catalog, and learn from them

For example, if your audience is younger, than a modern layout and sharp design along with social media links and hashtags will help your readers relate more to your catalog design.

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

2. Gather Your Catalog Contents

Whether you’re designing a product catalog, an informational catalog or other type of catalog, you need to plan and gather your contents. This will help you to choose the right size and page count.

Decide and outline what products you want to list, what information and topics you want to share, what images, etc.

3. Limit Your Typefaces

Limit Your Typefaces

Using too many fonts will create confusion. Limit your fonts to 1-2 families and that’s it. You want to choose a font that makes sense to your brand while representing it and you want to choose a font that is easy for your audience to read.

For example, if your website uses Ubuntu for its text, use Ubuntu for your catalog font. You can even use bolds or italics to change things up for headers or special text without choosing a different typeface.

4. Limit Your Copy

Keep your copy concise. Even if you’re designing an informational catalog, you’re not designing a novel. You want to have a good image to copy ratio so use your images and design elements to help guide you in choosing only the copy or details that matter most.

5. Make Your Headlines Count

From the cover to the inside pages, you want to make sure your headlines draw your audience in.

For the headline on your cover, keep it short and bold. You want it to intrigue your readers to open your catalog to learn more.

The headers within your catalog pages should be short and bold as well but also act as guides to help your audience know what each page or section is about. For example, if your catalog features your beauty products, organize your contents, and include a header for each category of products like your cosmetics and bath and body items.

6. Choose the Perfect Images

Choose imagery that reflects your audience, offerings, and your brand’s message.

If you’re listing products in your catalog, your catalog design should include images of your products or if your nonprofit is promoting an event, include images that reflect your organization’s causes.

7. Don’t Ignore Image Quality

If you’re designing your catalog on a budget, quality and well-photographed images aren’t something to skimp on.

Image Resolution

There are great websites where you can download high-resolution images like Unsplash and Pexels. However, if you need images of your products or images related specifically to your brand, it’s best to invest in a photographer that will help capture great images as they will help build trust, better brand recognition and interest.

When adding your images to your design layout, make sure that your images are at least 300dpi in resolution to avoid fuzzy images.

8. Choose the Right Colors

The colors you choose for your catalog design should incorporate or at least compliment your brands colors along with match the tone and theme of your catalog message. For example, neutral colors are great for an outdoors catalog while statement colors like bright reds and deep purples are perfect for a fashion catalog.

Make sure to also keep dark font on light backgrounds and light fonts on dark backgrounds so words are easy to read. A neon yellow headline on a white background will be hard to read while a yellow headline on a black background will be bold and clear.

9. Pick the Right Size and Orientation

Catalog Sizes

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.

Catalog designs are also typically printed and bound in portrait format which is beneficial for displaying on bookshelves or magazine racks. However, if you want to get creative, consider designing your catalog in landscape format.

10. Always Use a Template

Designing a catalog can be tricky but with a catalog design template, it’s easy!

Your printer should have multiple catalog templates to choose from to fit whatever size and orientation you wish to print your catalog in. Just download their PDF template and insert it in a new layer in your design platform. These templates have guides for you to ensure your catalog design has the proper bleed and margin. Some printers, like Conquest Graphics, even have catalog design templates with full InDesign packaged files so designing your catalog is even easier.

11. Get Creative with Design Elements

Use design elements like shapes or patterns to add some creative style to your catalog design.

Borders around images and text, graphics that flow from one page to the next and lead the eye to certain elements, or patterned covers are all great ways to keep your catalog design unique and fresh.

12. Use Negative Space to Your Advantage

A mockup of a portrait oriented 5.5" x 8.5" catalog

Negative or white space helps break up your content and prevents your catalog design from coming off as cluttered or overwhelming.

Use white space when laying out text, images, and graphics on each page to make sure each design element isn’t too close together and there is an adequate amount of negative space to allow your readers to rest and comprehend the information better.

13. Keep Your Catalog Fluid

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 one tool and the contents within it need to work together to deliver your overall message.

This goes for the items you showcase as well. If you are listing every product you have for sale, group similar products together. Don’t scatter your apparel products with your home goods.

14. Don’t Forget Your Brand

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.

15. Highlight Your Most Profitable Items

Catalog Design

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 showcase a handful of their most popular products along with the corresponding page number for readers to easily navigate to the full product listing.

16. Make Sure Your Catalog is Strong

Avoid a flimsy catalog, no one will keep your catalog for a long period of time if it rips easily or crumples up.

Use a durable cover paper for your catalog cover like a 100# or 80# cover stock to ensure a long lasting and professional catalog.

Print Your Catalog in Full Color

17. Print in Color

Easy catalog design tip #17 is essential for gaining maximum results and not as expensive as you may think.

Print your catalog in full color for a better chance at attracting readers. Simply design your catalog pages in CMYK color model and have your catalogs printed in brilliant full color throughout each page.

18. Save Money and Use Your Printers Recommendations

Choosing a custom catalog size or specialty paper or a paper and size not listed on your printer’s catalog product page will be costly.

Your printer will typically have paper stocks listed that are readily available, of high quality, and only a fraction of the cost compared to a specialty paper. If you aren’t sure about using one of your printer’s recommended or “preferred stocks” ask them about a free paper sample booklet so you can see and feel the options before committing.

19. Choose the Right Binding Option

Catalog Marketing

Saddle-stitch binding is the most popular and cost-effective type of catalog binding. However, depending on your catalog marketing goals, budget, and page count, choosing a perfect bound catalog may be the perfect binding option for you.

20. Take Your Time

Another incredibly important catalog design tip is to take your time.

Designing a catalog is a process that includes several steps. So, don’t rush it! Allow yourself enough time to plan and create and ask coworkers and friends for feedback during your design process so your finished catalog is something your company can be proud of and your audience will love.

21. Share Who Your Company Is

Company Story - catalog

Including your branding elements is extremely important but sharing who your company is can help you gain trust and respect from your audience as well. In the first inside page of your catalog share some background information about your company, your company’s mission, etc.

22. Make it Easy for Your Audience to Take Action

Different people prefer different things and that includes the way they prefer to shop. Some like to shop online, through a mail-in-order form, through the phone or in store.

So, within your catalog design, include a great call-to-action and multiple ways your audience can take action on what you are offering. Include a URL for them to visit your online store, a phone number for them to call, a mail-in-order form, and even your address if your audience can visit your store.

23. Increase Brand Exposure

Subscription Catalogs

Go beyond your typical catalog marketing strategy. If you use your catalogs as handouts or mail them to your standard mailing list, try mailing your catalogs to strangers to grow your customer base.

You can create a targeted mailing list based on people who live close by to your business, those who have similar interests as your current customers, people who are most likely interested in what your catalog has to offer or create a mailing list just based on certain demographics to reach your ideal audience.

24. Take Advantage of the Ability to Measure Results

Measuring your results is easy and with this simple catalog design tip, you can measure your catalog marketing results to gain data and to help plan for an even more successful catalog campaign in the future.

By including a unique URL, call tracking number, or QR code, you can easily measure the performance of your catalog.

25. Choose the Right Printer to Create a Catalog Worth Keeping

The last catalog design tip in this blog is to simply choose a printer who will be able to produce your catalog at a great price and with high quality so that the hard work you put into designing your catalog shines through to the final product.

At Conquest Graphics, we have the prices and quality you are looking for. And our print experts are here to help you every step of the way. Click the button below to check out our catalog page or give us a call at 800-707-9903 if you have any questions or need some more easy catalog design tips!

Get Started on Your Catalog Marketing Idea Today!

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