Creative: Keep Catalog Design Fresh and Engaging
The twin tasks of laying out endless pages of product photographs and writing tight, yet compelling, copy can prove both monotonous and exhausting. That is, unless graphic designers and copywriters stay creatively stimulated and fresh, writes Susan Jones, author of “Creative Strategy in Direct& Interactive Marketing” (Racom Communications). To keep your catalog creative team in top form, she offers the following tips.
¥ Keep an eye on the competition. Regularly request and view large numbers of catalogs in different product categories, and encourage your creative staff to do the same, writes Jones. While most catalogs should be filed for future reference in case you need inspiration for a new product category, books with unique and intriguing concepts should be placed in a separate file for reference when creativity is on the wane. To see the range of catalogs available, use a catalog search engine, such as http://www.catalogs.google.com , she suggests.
¥ Stay in touch with the products. While your creative staff may be able to design and write your catalog with just specification sheets, they’ll be able to discover much more about the products if they actually touch and use them, notes the author.
¥ Make friends with merchandisers. If you’re working on your next catalog design and are stumped for new ideas “talk with the merchandising people who chose these items for the catalog,” suggests Jones. What sets these products apart from others the merchandisers didn’t choose? It also may be helpful for creative staff to accompany merchandisers on buying trips, so they get the added benefits of hearing about products from the vendors who sell them, she adds.
¥ Pay attention to catalog sales results. Item-by-item sales reports should be consulted regularly after catalogs have dropped. “Figuring out why item A lost sales when shown on a pink background instead of a yellow one, or why item B doubled in sales when it was shown in a product-in-use shot, will help keep your job fresh and challenging,” writes Jones. Also, take a hard look at space allocation based on prior results.