Creative Cut: Nautical Cataloger Doesn’t Sail Deep Enough Into the Water
Bluewater Books & Charts is a 104-page consumer catalog that offers navigational charts, instruments and gifts to the nautical community. In addition to the catalog, the company operates two retail stores and, of course, a Web site.
I suspect this catalog markets to high-income shoppers willing to spend a great deal of money on their hobby-based lifestyle, and Bluewater needs to capitalize on this with a design that’ll make sailing enthusiasts want to part with their dollars. But the Bluewater catalog is as predictable as a nautical chart in its careful organization.
Let’s look at some specific problems as well as some creative solutions that will translate into sales.
Thrill Me With Your Cover
Your cover must get prospects excited about your products. The Bluewater cover photo is compelling, but loses some of its impact because of the distracting, busy sidebar of product photos.
That said, showing product photos on the cover is a great idea, but only if they connect with what’s inside and communicate important information quickly and easily to consumers. For example, it’s confusing for customers to see the caption “Nautical Books” under a photo of a giant oyster shell with a pearl. Communicating these different categories on the cover just with copy would simplify the cover and make it an easier and more compelling read.
Use cover copy that pinpoints your identity. In this case, the copy, “The world’s leading marine navigational resource,” is buried on the back cover. Move it to the front cover as a tag below the logo to immediately tell customers who you are and why they need what you sell.
Clean Up the Design, Let the Product Shine
Rules, bars and outlines are great visual tools when employed with care. But these can be a disaster when overused. In the case of the spread on pgs. 90 and 91 (shown below), the excessive outlining of photos, bars between sections and rules around copy make the design look more like an old-fashioned B-to-B catalog than a consumer book. In addition, they take away from the product, which should be the star of the page.