Special Report: The Three Ps - Five Production Professionals Share Their Views of Today’s and Tomorrow Best Technologies
June 1, 2002

If you want to put your finger on the pulse of the technologies that are driving the catalog industry, it’s best to go directly to the source. Catalog Success asked five catalog production professionals to share their thoughts on some of the latest and greatest tools that have transformed the way catalogs are created, produced and printed. In addition, we asked for their predictions on what will be the hottest tools of tomorrow. Catalog Success: What has been the most interesting or provocative technology embraced by the catalog industry in the past few years? Francis J. Crowley, executive vice president, Spencer Press, a

Photography Basics
June 1, 2002

Photography is one of a catalog’s largest expenses, particularly for smaller startups that are still developing their product lines. While you want to save as much as you can on your shoot, the photography essentially is your store window. If it looks appealing, with beautiful detail and clarity, your product is more likely to sell for a fair price. When selecting photography services, it’s often difficult to know what you’re buying unless you’ve worked with a specific photographer before. Of course, a referral may be able to give you more information, but it takes a high level of communication and detail to truly understand

Your Printer, Your Partner
May 1, 2002

The relationship you have with your printer can be crucial to your success. After all, your printer may be your largest unsecured vendor. Today’s printers do more than just put ink on paper. They ink-jet addresses and efficiently distribute catalogs through the mail stream across the country, often for the lowest possible costs. When choosing a printer, price certainly is important. No cataloger should pay a large premium for the privilege of dealing with a particular printing company. Other factors, such as service, lead times and technology, should be considered. Following are suggestions to think about the next time you get

The Page Layout Turf Wars
May 1, 2002

Catalogers looking to improve their workflow and productivity have much to celebrate these days. With the introduction of Adobe® InDesign® 2.0 and the much-awaited upgrade from Quark—QuarkXpress® 5.0—you now have significant improvements in page layout production applications. Both InDesign 2.0 and QuarkXpress 5.0 added upgrades that will save catalogers time and money. Both programs support tables, export to PDF, offer image and content libraries, produce pages for the Web, and support XML. Your design staffers will love the layers for versioning and the automatic table of contents creation and indexing. But after those similarities, it’s evident that Adobe’s InDesign, with its

Paper Buying 101
April 1, 2002

Buying paper is a topic that gets discussed frequently in any catalog operation. And since paper is such a large percentage of a catalog’s printing cost, the topic certainly requires frequent attention. Advantages: Buying Paper Price: It’s often thought that buying paper directly from the mill or through a broker presents an opportunity for price per 100 wt. savings, especially if purchased in large quantities. It’s assumed that if you buy the paper yourself, you can avoid a markup or administrative fee that the printer adds when it purchases the paper for you. However, these savings often are hard to realize. When you

Stock Tips
March 1, 2002

It turns out you can judge a book by its cover—if it’s a catalog. Even small books must make big first impressions. “You need to get [customers] to open your book, and you’ve got about three seconds to do it,” says John Rossiter, a senior sales representative from printing company R.R. Donnelley and Sons. And while design and copy undoubtedly play larger roles in grabbing customers’ and prospects’ attention, without the right paper stock a catalog cover may go unnoticed or misrepresent your brand. Following is a rundown of what to examine when selecting a cover stock. Brand and Basis Weight Many consultants and

10 Tips to Save Time and Money on Printing
February 1, 2002

In difficult economic times such as these, reducing costs or saving production time can give your bottom line a much-needed boost. Following are some ways to save both time and cash on your print and production tasks. 1. Look at paper, which typically costs about 50 percent of any print job, says Christian Montini, vice president of sales and marketing for St. Joseph Corp., a Toronto-based commercial printer that produces Sears Canada catalogs. A slight downgrade in paper stock may not hurt the look and feel of your book, Montini says. Also, a tighter trim, say, 1/8-inch all around, may translate into

Had Facts About Soft Proofs
January 1, 2002

In a perfect workflow, catalogers never leave the digital space. Digital photography is placed into digital files using page layout software. Then, catalog production personnel release files using one of several online transmission options. Finally, they review and approve using digital proofs, send through to computer-to-plate and finally to the press. Soft proofing completes the digital workflow, replacing some, if not all, of the hard digital proofs. Soft proofing easily can be adopted at the online level and immediately can begin to save catalogers time and money. Two categories usually fall under the general heading of soft proofing: online proofs and collaborative, Web-based

Selecting a Print Location for Your Catalog Version
November 1, 2001

Choosing a print location for your international catalog requires more than throwing a dart at a world map while blindfolded. When marketing overseas, should you print and mail your catalog in the United States or in your target country? An economical solution is based on production, distribution and your marketing strategy, according to Tim Ohnmacht, manager of international business development for printing company Quad/Graphics. Your marketing strategy and mail volume largely dictate your printing and mailing location. For example, if you’re banking on the cache of being an American company, consider printing your catalog in the States and mailing your piece using the

Down-home Digital
October 1, 2001

Country Store catalog is a home-improvement success story with a high-tech twist. The catalog is produced by Reiman Publications, Greendale, WI, which was founded by Roy Reiman in 1964 as a magazine publishing company. In the early 1970s, Reiman launched Farm Wife News magazine and began offering “I’m Proud to be a Farm Wife” T-shirts at cost to promote the publication. The shirts were so popular that Reiman executives realized the company could sell the garments for a profit. Reiman expanded the brand, adding “I’m Proud to be a Farmer’s Daughter” and “I’m Proud to be a Country Boy” versions, among others.