Creative Cut: Classic Designs Keeps it Classy
When I picked up this catalog, I was immediately impressed by the clean and consistent design. It has structure without seeming stuffy, and features tons of information that’s easy to read and understand. Oh, and did I mention the gorgeous, rich products?
Yes, this is a good catalog — handsome and well put together. It’s instructional without being cold. It’s full of information and products, without real clutter. I concluded rather quickly that this fine catalog could be used in design schools as an example of a hard-working catalog that doesn’t lose its beauty.
Of course, there’s always room for improvement. Starting with the cover: The layout is elegant, structured and architectural — fitting the products it features. And there’s a happy-at-his-work Matthew Burak, an image that immediately establishes a personal touch. Although the dot whack’s font choice is a bit clumsy for the shape, the dot establishes what’s new in the catalog for loyal customers. A featured item with page number gets you to open the catalog.
Inside Front Cover
The inside cover has a prominent money-back guarantee, table of contents, and time- and money-saving custom services box, all of which are supported by a strong money-saving discounts box. These are all good uses of the page, and a fine way to get readers organized and excited about the catalog’s content.
The inside front cover (and other pages throughout the catalog) contains the all-important “social proof” pull quotes from happy and knowledgeable customers. Don’t discount the power of the strongly felt opinion from your customers’ peers. Pull quotes are proven motivators.
What’s not to like on the inside front cover? For starters, the placement of the product offerings here is confusing. Is this instructional? Are these for sale? The designer should have begun the “offer” on the facing page.
Instead, on this page, these two products look lost and disconnected. With such a highly personalized catalog name, I would have liked to have learned more about Burak and how he started this company. There’s a lot of love in these pages, so a personal message here would have been a good use of space.
I was also a little put off by the No. 119 at the bottom of the page. I’m sure it’s important for Classic Designs to show how many catalogs the company has produced, and it immediately says how long the company has been around. Furthermore, numbering your catalogs helps customers and order takers when identifying products. But just saying No. 119 can be confusing. Why not “Catalog No. 119?” Don’t assume the customer knows what you mean — be clear.
The use of color-coded sections is very good. But why not incorporate this into the table of contents to support it further? Nevertheless, I love the professional and friendly way each section begins with an informative introduction of a product style and shape, or other useful details about the topics.
Every spread’s footer helps customers looking to place orders with not only contact information, but also with details on where to find the order form and the issue’s number, all of which are clearly stated, so there’s no confusion. The colors are elegant and the type is used well — with consistent character and paragraph styles.
The order form makes excellent use of real estate. It’s even perforated!
Although the parts are shown in gorgeous finishes, they’re all sold unfinished. This is an important element, and although it’s listed on every spread, I’d advise this cataloger to be consistent in its placement. I prefer it at the beginning, so there’s no confusion. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to understand everything in your catalog so there are no disappointments.
I love the wonderful use of the “new” icons throughout the catalog. It makes flipping pages exciting in search of all that is “new.”
This is a well designed and produced catalog geared to the knowledgeable or soon to be knowledgeable customer. It is elegant and thorough. Although it does have a few inconsistencies, all of them easily can be remedied. I’ll never look at another chair or table leg the same way again! «
Miriam O. Frawley is president of e-Diner Design & Marketing, a catalog design and marketing company. She can be reached at (845) 928-6075 or firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.e-dinerdesign.com.
READERS! To submit your catalog for possible inclusion in this column, please 1. Send two copies of your catalog and your business card to: Catalog Success magazine, attn: Creative Cut, 1500 Spring Garden St., 12th Floor, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130 and 2. E-mail a PDF of the catalog to email@example.com or mail a CD to the above address.