Testing front covers is one of the easiest and most important tests catalogers can do. Front covers are the doorway into your catalog, so your cover must entice customers to open the door and step through into the wonderful world inside. Testing will help you learn what it takes to get your customers to open that door more often.
“Copy destroys the graphic integrity of my cover design.”
Magazine designers love a lot of copy on the front cover, but catalog designers hate it.
“I’ve been designing catalogs for years. Trust me, I know what sells,” said Maurice, the catalog designer. “All those words are distracting from the cover’s impact. Clutter doesn’t sell.”
He was convincing. Yet, since the copy had been created specifically to motivate readers to open the book, we decided to test.
The copy on the cover increased response by 40 percent. Even Maurice was convinced.
Does cover copy always work? How would you know unless you tested?
Tip: Try copy on your cover when you have important messages designed to arouse customers’ interest. Don’t use copy gratuitously. It’s not about having copy on the cover; it’s about communicating information that’s important to customers.
Boring Ol’ Products or Great Art?
An old-line cataloger had commissioned charming paintings for its past catalog covers but had drifted away from that practice in recent years in favor of traditional, “show the product” covers.
Many company employees were nostalgic for those old covers, and the catalog agency was enchanted by the idea, too. After all, isn’t a catalog cover all about evoking pleasant, compelling emotions in the reader?
So new paintings were commissioned, and old-time staffers were thrilled to return to their roots.
But level-headed marketers insisted on testing first. The product cover won.