Catalog Doctor: Strike the Right Beauty/Clarity Balance
Gallery-style beauty is right for many very high-end products, and it’s right for a lot of fashion, art, jewelry and gifts. But it’s wrong for many value-priced products; problem-solver products; and for workhorse products used in a factory, school or working farm.
5 Secrets to Looking Better
If you’re not one of those catalogs, you can boost sales by injecting beauty. Explaining how to execute a truly beautiful catalog would take a whole book, but here are the five top tips.
1. Have beautiful photography.
Beautiful photography requires time, money and a really good photographer who’s experienced in complex lighting and partners with an experienced stylist. Your photo team needs to show each product very clearly, while creating a look that comes as close as possible to taking your breath away.
2. Have excellent color correction.
Dull gray photos, weak or muddy colors, or overfilled shadows will hurt the impact of images, reducing their beauty and appeal.
3. Embody balance and proportion.
Artists throughout history have studied and understood the importance of proportion to beauty. When you find the right proportional balance, you strike an emotional chord in the human brain by turning the ordinary into the beautiful.
This doesn’t mean everything is the same size. It’s about the Golden Mean and Parthenon proportions. And it needs a designer with training and a great eye. Good proportion helps eye flow and makes your pages feel balanced, too, improving scannability, thus lifting response.
4. Use upscale fonts.
Your designer must understand fonts and their emotional impact. Fonts like Garamond are friendly; some like Times Roman create credibility. There are contemporary fonts, classic fonts, serif fonts, sans-serif fonts, shaped sans fonts, high x-height, low x-height and so on. Each feels different. The feeling is almost always unconscious, but important. The wrong font can feel cheap and out of place, detracting from an otherwise beautiful layout.