catalog design ideas

Great Catalog Design Ideas

Ann O'Brien

Ann O'Brien

January 30, 2023

Upgrading and freshening up your catalog can inject new life into this marketing tool, so we have a few catalog design ideas to help you breathe new life into yours to increase customer engagement and bring a new look to this sales and marketing tool.

Do Printed Catalogs Work?

With the overwhelming amount of digital marketing we are exposed to every day when reading emails to surfing the internet to even streaming our favorite shows, it’s no surprise that “digital fatigue” has become the norm. We tune out non-stop advertising, use ad blockers to minimize exposure, and have developed a heightened sense of wariness about online scams. But printed catalogs provide the antidote to this digital overload. We love to flip through them, savoring their physical presence as a guarantee that the business is legitimate and reliable, both common impressions about businesses that use printed catalogs.

Catalog Design Ideas — Freshen Up Tired Features

One of the easiest catalog design ideas we love is to simply refresh elements in your print catalog that have worked well in the past. Swap out a basic color scheme for a trendy or seasonal touch to help your content look brighter or more up-to-date. Consider adding a fancy element to the cover like a silver or gold foil stamp or embossing to create a more eye-catching look to your catalog.

Using a more substantial material for the cover can also elevate the look and feel of your catalog without making a noticeable change to your catalog’s design. Small feature improvements indicate to customers that your printed catalog is a valuable part of your marketing and sales strategy and will see your quality investment in the catalog as a reflection of the business itself.

Include Surprising Details

Since one of the benefits of a printed catalog is the potential for customers to browse the pages multiple times, including little extras or surprising details in the catalog can help encourage repeat viewing. Some great catalog design ideas can be used here. For catalogs that focus on children’s goods or items that parents might wear or use, the inclusion of child-friendly activities like puzzles, coloring pages, or activities can engage kids and may turn your catalog into an anticipated treat for parents and children alike in the future.

Catalog design ideas can include a gift checklist to include with seasonal catalogs while some businesses might even want to include a personal thank you to repeat customers or to thank a new subscriber. Catalog design ideas like adding surprising details personalize your catalog and increase the likelihood that consumers will remember your business and return to browse the pages.

Catalog Design Ideas — Keep it Simple

Instead of adding in more details, products, or text to your catalog, consider simplifying. Reduce the number of photos, increase white space, and minimize the look and feel for a spare but classic look. Since minimalistic page design is aesthetically pleasing, customers are more likely to linger and absorb your marketing messages.

To include more text content, consider printing a QR code near items that take customers directly to your website for in-depth product details and instant ordering. Consumers will enjoy the pared-down version of your catalog while you highlight key or new products with a visually appealing, more simple printed catalog.

Let Your Materials Drive the Messaging

Consider implementing catalog design ideas that help you solidify your brand through the materials and construction of your catalog. For businesses with an environmentally conscious message, a catalog that features materials constructed with natural fibers or recycled paper can show customers your brand’s ethos.

The look of the catalog cover can be upgraded to a non-traditional appearance to further a brand’s message as well. The use of gloss, leather, or linen lamination on the cover can leave a lasting impression on consumers who are used to the thin, lightweight materials that are used on most catalogs. Luxury brands can swap out the typical Saddle Stitch catalog binding for a more substantial Perfect binding or use a heavier-weight material for the front and back covers.

Catalog Design Ideas — Maximize Photographic Impact

Many catalog design ideas focus on photos in the catalog. One of the bigger expenses that businesses may incur when creating a catalog or even a website relates to professional photography. Using crisp, high-quality photos in your advertising and marketing is critical to strong sales. Since digital consumers expect to see a product clearly before they make a purchase, the first type of photo many businesses secure is focused on the product, many times with a white or neutral background.

These basic product pictures do an excellent job of showing the details of a product and using them in your business’s online structure and catalogs is the perfect way to let consumers see exactly what they are buying.

But one way to create excitement around a product is to show it in action. Instead of a staged photo that uses excellent lighting and a solid background to show off your product, consider investing in action shots that show your product in use. Cozy vignettes inside of a home are an excellent backdrop for family-friendly products while outdoor scenes that feature your product in motion can help the consumer visualize themselves using your brand. Interspersing these real-life product showcase photos with traditional product pictures can help add life to your catalog without breaking your marketing budget.

Reward Readers

Consider using catalog design ideas that reward your customers. With the power of delivering something directly into your consumer’s hands like a catalog, double up on your marketing impact by rewarding readers with a gift within the catalog. Print a discount code on the cover of catalogs delivered to repeat customers or include a special sale price for first-time customers to use.

Unique features like adding a flap, fold-out section or envelope to your catalog can create the perfect vehicle to surprise your readers with a small gift or token to say thank you, provide a discount or deliver an unexpected memento from your business.Catalogs representing food or kitchen items might slip in a measuring guide or a mini-cookbook with a catalog as a gift for customers to use.

Small giveaways like this might cost a little bit more, but since they also tend to stick around a while, extending their marketing budget expense over a longer period of time and making them well worth the investment. For some businesses, a reward might be a code to access a sale earlier than other consumers, provided as a thank you for repeat customers.

These fun rewards are a great way to inject interest and a new look into your catalog that might not change substantially otherwise from one printing to the next.

Catalog Design Ideas — Think Outside the Box (Shape!)

This catalog design idea is an unusual but very memorable way to switch up your catalog occasionally. Consider shifting your catalog’s shape from a traditional square or rectangular shape to a unique one. Printers can work with you to create a rounded edge to make a circular, oval or another non-boxy shape that will catch your reader’s attention and make that catalog stand out from the rest.

But a simple change like including a cutout window on the front cover can be just as interesting as well while it gives you the opportunity to highlight a new picture, graphic or text on the cover that will entice readers to open up the catalog’s first pages right away. Any swap or non-traditional format you can use in your catalog will garner attention and help customers remember your catalog, business, and brand.

Be creative and consider making a unique, out-of-the-box feature a regular part of your catalog printing so your company will be remembered as different from other businesses.

Catalog Design Ideas — Get Started Creating a Captivating Print Catalog

We hope these catalog design ideas have been helpful. You can turn your basic but workable catalog into a memorable, beautiful marketing tool with one or more of these catalog design ideas that will help your catalog stick around longer with your customer, encourage them to linger over the pages, and increase your brand’s visibility to increase your sales.

And whether you are still a novice at creating catalogs or have experience in catalog printing, working with a trusted printer is the best way to make sure that your product and brand are represented well to your customers.

Publishing Xpress has been helping businesses create gorgeous, well-designed catalogs for decades. Their reliance on quality materials and modern printing methods is the perfect solution to creating a catalog that will wow your customers. And Publishing Xpress’s cover design experts can help you with an eye-catching cover design that will show off your brand while still representing the catalog’s marketing focus perfectly, too.

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