You are tasked with creating and handling the catalog printing for your company and you are determined to do the best you can do, as maybe your next raise or even your job is contingent on this coming out well. What to do to ensure you wind up with the best catalog possible, in order to bolster your status at work. Well, here is some catalog printing food for thought, and some educated food at that.
1- Does It Have Impact? Impact is first and foremost created by the very first thing that hits the end users desk; the front cover! If the cover is weak and does not scream read me, then your catalog may languish on the end users desk for quite awhile or even hit that office basketball hoop located under the desk, the trashcan. Here is where you want to spend the most money on design and materials.
2-Is Your Cover Page Eye Candy? Design ability and sensibility come into play here. You will organize your page based on the importance of your top products and best message. Outline your one, two or three top products, by creating a clipping path around them. This removes the backgrounds from the original photos and will allow your images to pop out more, in a free floating way that calls attention to them. Add some copy that is larger and brighter, portraying either a sale or unique usage.
3- Is It Organized Clearly? When creating and printing catalogs you will want to organize your catalog so that it is easy to read and user friendly for the reader. Create sections, so that like products are all with like products. Create an index, in order to make what folks are looking for more easily found.
4- If Very Different Products Is It In Sections? Create tabs, to find sections. You can do tabbing the hard, pricey way or the easy and free way. The standard high end way is to create tabs using the same stock as the cover (so they gang together for best cost on press) and die cut, score and fold in for trimming the face. The end user pulls them out. A more upscale version of this, and very pricey, would be to leave them out and extend the cover to match their width, but this is hand labor and you may not want to go there. The free way is to create a bleed edge in a solid color, using all four screens if you can, with process printing.
5- Image Quality? Images should be clean and crisp. Save them out of Photoshop as 350 dpi for best results and whatever you do, do not size them in your document application such as Quark or InDesign, as they become too big with no gain, other than dot gain. Create little captions under each image to clearly identify it and where more info can be found. If you use many images, pick your most important to use at a larger size and then the rest closer to thumbnails. It makes the page far more interesting for your catalog.
6- Compelling Copy? This is the “lost tribe of printing”. Use compelling copy. If you cannot write great sales copy using the USP (Unique Language of Sales) which in grammatically correct and well worded English, convinces your end user of the benefits to them of your product, you have lost out on one of the most important aspects of your printed catalog. Share what you are selling, how it WILL BENEFIT the user to use your product or services.