Printing/Production

Creative Cut: Motherwear
November 1, 2000

Mothers who nurse their babies do so for an average of two and a half months—so a catalog of specially designed garments for breastfeeding moms would seem to have a small window of opportunity in which to sell. But customers of Motherwear in Northampton, MA, nurse an average of 16 months. Why? Partly because they love the clothes so much, according to what they tell company President Jody Wright. In the first three-quarters of the year Wright and her husband Prakash Laufer started producing the catalog, sales growth topped 350 percent. Prior to taking over the helm of Motherwear in 1986, Wright had

Creative Cut: The Power of Type
October 1, 2000

The words you’re reading right now are printed in the New Baskerville typeface, at 11 points, with 12-point leading (spacing between lines). This point size and leading are considered just right for readability. Cyrus Highsmith, a type designer at the Font Bureau in Boston, says New Baskerville is popular because its “transitional” look blends the loopy traces of handwriting with the cold geometry of modern type styles. This font is a revival of a typeface originally drawn by English typesetter John Baskerville in the 18th century. Highsmith says Baskerville’s type looked crisper due to the paper he used. Some critics thought the

BlissOut Catalog’s Perfect Marketing Makeup
September 1, 2000

Goops and scrubs, loofahs and lipsticks. All presented in bright colorful layouts. Seductive copy (“it’s more than treats the eye”) makes you want to buy this stuff so you, too, can feel good. And then there’s BlissGirl. She may not be perfect, but this illustrated character sure has fun living the spa life and trying out all the latest products the beauty world has to offer. Founded just four years ago, BlissOut catalog has come a long way in such a short time, due in large part to the vision of Bliss spa founder, Marcia Kilgore, and the know-how and enthusiasm of the catalog’s

Creative Cut: Ross-Simons
July 1, 2000

Designers and marketers see both limitations and advantages in Web-site creative. The overarching limitation is a lack of control in the appearance of the end product because of differing technologies on consumers’ computers. On the flip side, Web sites can be altered “on the fly,” making them a more dynamic place for testing and learning about customer preferences. Deborah Kania is lead marketer at multichannel optical supplier Lens Express in Deerfield Beach, FL, co-author of “The Web Catalog Cookbook” and “The Internet World Guide to One-To-One Web Marketing,” and author of the upcoming book “Branding.com.” She observes, “Two of the biggest changes

Day with a Pro: Dick Marsel, Printing Manager, Quad/Graphics
July 1, 2000

In the quaint Hudson River Valley town of Saratoga Springs, NY, most everyone greets passersby with a hearty “How are you today?” When catalogers make an on-press visit to the Quad/Graphics printing plant here, their experience fits with the bonhomie of the town. After passing by the waving flags bearing the logos of the magazines and catalogs currently on press, the first person a visitor might see is plant manager Dick Marsel. A veteran of the printing industry, Marsel has been in charge of the Saratoga facility since 1985. “I was one of the first plant managers at Quad/Graphics, so it was

Garden.com: Growing By Its Own Rules
July 1, 2000

A move from pure play to cataloger—that’s the trend in the online retail industry. After years online, pure-play retailers are discovering that catalogs are cost-efficient customer-acquisition and branding tools. But despite moving into the mail order world, pure plays do not consider themselves catalogers. Lisa Sharples, co-founder of Garden.com and the force behind that company’s recent print catalog drops, is straightforward about its catalog’s purpose—driving customers to the Garden.com Web site. Unlike many entrepreneurs who launch catalogs as extensions of their avocations, she didn’t start Garden.com out of enthusiasm for gardening. Sharples and her partners wanted to start an online business in a

The Power of Three
October 1, 1999

Three, as the Schoolhouse Rock song goes, is a magic number. But there’s no such thing as magic when it comes to cutting postage costs. You can save money in only one of three ways: cut your catalog’s weight; qualify for automation and presort discounts; and get your mailing as close to its final destination as possible. Slimming Down You can reduce the weight of your catalog by attacking two dimensions: paper and size, says Dave Riebe, vice president of distribution at Quad/Graphics, a printing company in Pewaukee, WI. For the most dramatic impact, streamline the trim size of your catalog. Depending on your

Traveling Through Digital Waters
August 1, 1999

JOHN MCMANUS is celebrating a birthday. Ten years ago this October, he and his wife Gloria released their first catalog: a 32-page, black-and-white collection of products to make travel easier. They called their creation Magellan’s. Today, McManus sounds like a proud father when he notes, “We’ve been on the Inc. magazine list of the 500 fastest-growing companies three years in a row (1995-1997). That’s a figure that we don’t mind sharing.” The cataloger’s annual revenue is up to $25 million and print runs vary between two and three million catalogs, with mailings scheduled four to five times a year. “We’ll be doing 100 pages,

Color Management for Global Output
August 1, 1999

For makeup and jewelry catalogers, color management is undeniably a major production concern. Such is the case for Avon Products, New York, which recently turned to an innovative solution for the production of its internationally distributed print brochures. The International Challenge Avon has a presence in more than 135 countries, with printing services contracted in 32 nations, making consistent, across-the-globe color control a tricky endeavor for a core group of people, including the art-direction staff and Bob Jordan, Avon’s quality-control manager. Betsy Wordsman, Avon’s senior manager of global print production, explains, “For economic reasons—and the substantial growth of our company—Avon wanted to create

Building Digital Bridges
May 1, 1999

Fingerhut’s catalog production burdens are eased by developing mutually beneficial partnerships With print runs between 10,000 and 5 million—and product images that number in the hundreds of thousands—it is no surprise that Fingerhut, a Minnetonka, MN-based general-merchandising cataloger, required additional production support. Two years ago, while analyzing its prepress needs, Fingerhut looked to Quad/Graphics’ Digital Imaging Division, Minneapolis, to support Fingerhut’s own prepress division and digital photography studio, both housed in nearby Minnesota locales. Initially, what made Quad’s digital division appealing was Fingerhut’s long-established relationship with Quad/Graphics, one of the cataloger’s print partners. Fingerhut’s prepress volume caused the catalog publisher to analyze how integral