RE: The creative feature “10 Steps to a Successful Redesign,” (May 2008 issue, pg. 42). I am alarmed that Sarah Fletcher wrote such a distressing column for Catalog Success magazine. Maybe your article should have the caveat that it comes as your opinion or viewpoint, but it certainly does not represent good design principles.
There is logic to some of what you say, but in your examples, you take spreads with individual personality and brand integrity and turn them into oatmeal.
I looked at the headline that you suggest for your swimwear spread and have to laugh. Do you truthfully call that a headline? The “fit, quality … and price”? And what would you put on the NEXT page? And the page after that? What you wrote and constructed were single page advertisements — with a headline that any retailer in the U.S. could have used (and they do). A catalog is a conversation — and a voluntary one that the reader has elected to join — one with a consistent and brand-appropriate tone of voice (so far from “fit, quality and low price,” oh please!).
The example of the wig spread is even more ludicrous. Just do the blur test and blur your vision. The “before” example has visual impact, a visual feature which prioritizes merchandise. Your “after” layout reduces the style choices — which, after all, will be the primary purchase consideration — to secondary to feature/benefit convertible ride (suitable for an inset or highlight box). The pages you have designed look like two independent pages, not a spread.
The staff at Catalog Success magazine should be held to task, as well. By publishing such “opinion” pieces, you institutionalize poor design practices, steer young designers in the wrong direction, show a lack of understanding of brand and brand integrity, and look rather foolish in the process.