The Literary Calligraphy catalog’s product collection is a blend of poetry and nature’s finest images, captured by calligrapher and designer Susan Loy. After reading its story cover to cover, I was hooked. I found the merchandise charming. Each piece appears specially chosen for its grace and inspiration, pulling messages from the Bible and much-loved authors. Art and copy teams work together beautifully in creating the items.
Ironically, they weren’t as successful assembling the catalog, which just isn’t an effective sales tool.
As a direct mail vehicle, Literary Calligraphy’s catalog needs to use the best practices of direct mail. The artwork inside the frame and its poetry are the prime reasons for selecting these gifts, but neither art nor text are showcased in a consistent manner. What dominates is the framing, yet the page that lists all 21 frame styles with pricing is very confusing. Typeface should be readdressed. The catalog’s small format and type size make reading a challenge. Product shots need to be upsized so they can be seen. And that’s just the beginning.
CoversLooking at the Literary Calligraphy 2007-2008 catalog, my first impression was that it must be a catalog of framed artwork, as two framed pictures dominate the front cover. But it’s not. Most of these items fall into the category of prints — although there’s also some stationery. To improve the covers, I recommend the following:
• Showcase freshest, newest, hottest merchandise;
• enlarge artwork so customers can see what they’re buying;
• use a magnifier to spotlight the art details, or describe them in product copy;
• rewrite text in a direct mail style with benefit-rich copy;
• format specification details and pricing for quicker, easier reading;
• add Web address and 800 number to front; and
• move the “About Us” story on the back cover into the letter on pg. 2.
Opening spreads are typically used to identify brands and motivate customers to buy, but this one isn’t handled as a spread.
On the left-hand page, Susan Loy’s letter addresses the uniqueness of the brand, the inspiration behind her work and an overview of what customers will find within. Below, a special service offering, custom engraving, works as the value-added feature. However, an easy-to-order assurance statement or satisfaction guarantee would help reinforce the brand and put customers at ease with purchasing.