“Why would we start that early?”
This cataloger’s team actually was quite efficient, but the owner had never mapped out the time needed for the creative side of the catalog-building process.
Here’s the schedule this cataloger should have had:
Step 1 — Your designer creates test layouts with fonts, designs and photo concepts. You review, change and decide on the final look. Allow one to two weeks — or if you have a lot of committees, one to two months.
Step 2 — Your designer lays out each page using real images and copy. Allow three to six pages per day to reach first-round design, or double that if the designer is working on other projects simultaneously, which most outside creative designers do.
Step 3 — Proof carefully on the first round. This sharply cuts later design rounds. Allow two to four pages per hour per person for a good detailed proofing of the first round; allow half or less for later rounds.
Step 4 — After proofing turns up errors and needed changes, pay careful attention to how you communicate them to your designer. Do it carelessly, and you’ll end up with a lot more revision rounds.
Neatly and clearly mark all changes on a printed layout, type a careful explanation of each change, or give changes via the phone. Tip: Speak slowly while your designer makes changes on the screen. Have the designer then repeat changes back to you.
For all these rounds combined, allow two pages per hour total for communicating changes to your designer.
Step 5 — Your designer makes revisions. For all rounds combined, allow about two pages an hour (16 pages per eight-hour day). This assumes two to three entire rounds of revisions.
Step 6 — Copywriting usually can proceed simultaneously with design and/or photography, so you needn’t add extra time to the schedule for copywriting. After the copywriter has samples and complete product data, allow one to three pages per day for ready-to-proof copy.