Who Should Create Your Catalog? (1,113 words)
Creative Options in Outsourcing
There are three primary options when it comes to finding and using outside creative catalog people. Let's explore what those talents are and see if we can define what is reasonable to expect to pay for them. One question to keep in mind while looking at the options below is: "What value-added service(s) does the individual or company provide in helping me improve or grow my catalog business?"
Option #1: Free-lancers
There is a wealth of creative talent that prefers to work as free-lancers. These people might be mothers with small children at home. They might be early retirees who want to keep working part time. They usually are people who prefer to be independent and not part of a formal corporation. The type of catalog talent being described here includes people who can help the catalog in one of several roles:
Art director—laying out pages, spreads and order forms—from pencil roughs to tight page comprehensives.
Desktop page producer—physically combining copy and photography on the computer.
Photo art director.
The most important criteria in selecting talented free-lancers is not necessarily what they charge, but whether they know cataloging, and more specifically, do they know your type of product category and positioning. There are major differences between business and consumer catalogs. There are also big differences between food catalogs and catalogs of apparel or computer supplies. Whether the free-lancer has relevant experience in cataloging in general and your merchandise area, specifically is the starting question to ask a free-lancer. In other words, the statement that "an art director is an art director is an art director" is not true. The same goes for photographers, stylists and photo shoot managers. On the other hand, desktop page production is less product specific and more skill-level driven.