Who Should Create Your Catalog? (1,113 words)
by Jack Schmid
One of the classic questions that catalog creative managers face is how to manage their creative dollars and resources most effectively and productively.
Small and medium-sized catalogs tend to outsource much of their creative effort and concentrate on the merchandising and marketing aspects of their business. Larger catalog companies typically develop their creative team inside because they know that they will produce six or eight or 10 books during the year and it's more productive and less expensive to own their staff and facilities. Even large catalogers, however, find occasions when they outsource certain projects or tasks to creative agencies or free-lancers.
Here are several examples of how large companies use outsourced creative resources:
• Re-designing an existing catalog.
• Creative concepting of new covers, page templates or a new masthead logotype.
• Relieving page overload. There are often times when there is more work than an internal creative staff can handle, but not enough to hire a new art director, desktop production person or copywriter.
• Critiquing catalog creative efforts.
• Developing new projects (see box at left).
Almost every cataloger will have the occasion to use outside creative talent. This article will identify outsourcing options and quantify how much one can expect to pay for quality creative talent.
The Catalog Creative Process
The Catalog Production chart on page 184 summarizes the creative execution and page production phases in the overall creative process. The overall five phases are:
I. Creative concepting and planning.
II. Creative execution.
III. Page production.
IV. Color separations and film.
V. Printing, binding and mailing.
This article will concentrate on the first three phases as defined above. There are lots of talented color separators and printers out there. Building a strong team concept with these two skill areas is critical to long-term fiscal health. We strongly recommend that every cataloger get a minimum of three bids for color separation and printing.