Catalog Design Studios

'Smart Change' at ACCM
June 9, 2009

One of the best takeaways for me from the recent Annual Conference for Catalog & Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) in New Orleans was the need to be open to “smart change,” a term I “borrowed” from Sarah Fletcher, creative director of Catalog Design Studios, a catalog creative consulting firm. She said, “The big take-home for me from this year's conference was No. 1, don't panic, and No. 2, be open to smart changes.” 

8 Design Tips to Spur Catalog Sales
February 24, 2009

As a presenter at the Direct Marketing Association's Catalog on the Road Conference held in Cambridge, Mass., earlier this month, I provided the audience with eight creative tips to help grow sales during this most difficult selling environment. Here's a look at my “eight quick fixes”:   

The 50 Best Tips of 2008
November 1, 2008

Tired of reading about what a tough year it’s been for so many businesses across the board? Frustrated with your own results? Scared about the economy? Whether or not you’re struggling as much as others, here’s a little tonic: our annual best-of feature, in which we’ve pulled what we believe to be the 50 best and most implementable tips of the year from Catalog Success magazine as well as our weekly e-newsletter, Tactics & Tips. There’s nothing fancy here. Each paragraph is taken from a particular story that’s referenced, so you can turn or click back to reread the full story or act on

Industry Eye
July 1, 2008

LETTERS: Dear Editor, RE: The creative feature “10 Steps to a Successful Redesign,” (May 2008 issue, pg. 42). I am alarmed that Sarah Fletcher wrote such a distressing column for Catalog Success magazine. Maybe your article should have the caveat that it comes as your opinion or viewpoint, but it certainly does not represent good design principles. There is logic to some of what you say, but in your examples, you take spreads with individual personality and brand integrity and turn them into oatmeal. I looked at the headline that you suggest for your swimwear spread and have to laugh. Do you truthfully

10 Steps to a Successful Redesign
May 1, 2008

A catalog redesign has a lot in common with a midlife crisis makeover. There comes a time in every catalog’s life — if it’s lucky to survive long enough — when it looks around at the competition and feels ugly, frumpy and over the hill. And though there’s no single redesign shape up solution that fits everyone, we all travel the same path. So here are 10 steps to a “new you.” 1. Do you really need a whole new you, or just a haircut? Before you start looking at new fonts and cover treatments, determine the purpose of your redesign. • Is it

U.S. Box’s Product Array Impresses, but Confuses
February 1, 2008

The U.S. Box Corp. catalog does a great job of showing potential customers that the company carries an impressive array of paper products to cover the packaging needs of everyone from boutique shops to catering companies to jewelry stores. However, the book has a number of flaws too, most notably a number of confusing product references that can leave customers scratching their heads. Front Cover Solid, Back Lacks The front cover shows both people and products; it’s engaging and fun. I’d recommend adding the Web address and toll-free phone number to the cover and spine of this perfect-bound, 176-page annual catalog, as well as

Classic Merchandise Begs For Better Catalog Effort
October 1, 2006

Florentine Craftsmen Inc. catalog’s greatest strength is its extraordinary merchandise. Every piece in the book looks like it could have graced one of the Newport mansions or been seen in some Hollywood movie with Greta Garbo whispering into Clark Gable’s ear. Words such as elegant, classic, timeless, artisan, gilded-age, wealthy and beautiful best describe the book’s goods. I can’t say the same about the current catalog, however, as it doesn’t live up to the standard of the merchandise it sells. The catalog has the classic look of a B-to-B company that’s been selling the same merchandise for years, but hasn’t allocated enough time, attention or

Creative: Do’s and Don’ts for Great Catalog Creative
March 14, 2006

If your goal is to produce high-quality, response-generating catalog creative -- and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want that as an ideal goal -- here are a few do’s and don’ts. Don’t get caught up in the “concept of pretty.” Having an aesthetically pleasing catalog is great, but your creative staff’s real mission is to get your company’s message across clearly and quickly, says Sarah Fletcher, creative director of Catalog Design Studios, a Providence, R.I.-based catalog design agency, and an industry speaker. “A clear message trumps pretty in a big way,” says Fletcher. “The objective of the catalog design exercise is not to produce art,

April 1, 2005

The concept of approving a catalog proof that was anything but ink-on-paper seemed absurd back in the early 1990s. Sure, we’d all been soft proofing for years, eyeing up the way pages looked on our art director’s desktop display. But we looked at those images differently then. We saw them for what they were — a poor RGB imitation of what a CMYK-printed catalog would look like as the paper rolled off the press. Some things never change. “Soft proofing is a double-edged sword,” says Sarah Fletcher, creative director for Charlestown, R.I.-based Catalog Design Studios. “On the one hand, it is, by

Picture This
December 27, 2004

"Know everything there is to know about your ideal customer, including gender, age, ethnic background, hobbies/interests, even personal characteristics (e.g., active, curious, intellectual, humorous). Then find a picture of someone who meets that ideal, and hang it up so your staff knows exactly for whom they're working." —Sarah Fletcher, Catalog Design Studios, a catalog creative agency