• Three Aspects to Designing a Great Catalog

    Have you ever noticed an eye catching catalog in the mail season after season and wonder how each one can be so different, yet still so attention getting?  Utilizing these three aspects of powerful catalog design, you can achieve this same result.

    Design

    When it comes to catalog printing, great design is a must. What makes the design of a catalog great is both subjective and situational, i.e., the layout for a tool catalog may not be as critical as the design of a fashion clothing catalog. If you have some hesitation, please consult a printing professional or graphic design specialist. With planning, hard work, and some wise counsel,  you can design a fabulous catalog.  And by utilizing a professional who designs everyday, your catalog can go from good to great. So ask yourself the question: Would you rather have a good boost in sales from your catalog? Or a great boost?

    Images

    High quality images are no longer just for the few exceptional catalogs. The bar has been raised and high-quality images are a minimum requirement for a great catalog. Don’t use text to just tell your customers how much they will enjoy what you have to offer – show the customer how much someone else is enjoying their purchase. A photograph of a customer who is completely content is always a big winner. Photos of people using your product is another great way to encourage believability in the quality of your offer.  Whatever the message or whomever the audience, a great catalog always includes high quality images.

    Printing

    Professional printing will maximize great design and exceptional images. The do-it-yourself method might produce a  good catalog, but as it is with design, using a professional can produce a great catalog. When it comes to advertising, trying to save money on the front end will usually cost more in the long run.  Low quality printing will diminish the perceived quality of your products, resulting in fewer sales. Not only will printing with a professional improve the appearance of your catalog but can also be done far more cost effectively than you can imagine.  Usually things like finishing,  binding, mailing, unusual sizes, etc. can be worked into the quote.  And of course, with an online catalog printing company, the more copies you order, the lower your cost per piece.

    When it comes to creating a successful catalog, paying attention to quality in the areas of design, images, and printing is vital.  Take the time and effort to make sure that every product in your catalog looks desireable and even necessary. Your sales require it!

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  • An Easier Approach to Newsletter Design

    Newsletters can be such a hassle, but worth every minute of frustration. They are a necessary way to reach out to customers and keep that connection alive. If you are ready to shed some of that frustration with newsletter design, here are some steps you can follow to make it a little easier.

    Step 1: Printing Decisions
    Before you begin the design process, know what newsletter printing company you will use. Make sure that they have plenty of experience with newsletter printing and offer the options you need for your specific design. For instance, some printing companies only offer a tri or half fold, which are both doable for newsletters, but many newsletters use a French or even Z fold. Or your newsletter may even need to be bound into a booklet format. In this step, you will also need to decide on what size your newsletter will be when folded, the quantity, paper type, and any other choices required by your newsletter printing company.

    Step 2: Article Decisions
    Decide what type of articles you want to include and how many of each. For instance, your newsletter sections may include editorials, industry news, letters to the editor, and features. Gather or write the articles you need keeping in mind your audience. The success of your newsletter depends highly on presenting reading material that will interest your readers.

    Step 3: Image Decisions
    To break up the monotonous look text can give to a newsletter, include images with every article. Yes, this can be time-consuming but it will greatly enhance the appeal of your articles. There are many websites that offer free or at least royalty-free stock photographs, such as Stock.xchng and EveryStockPhoto. Just make sure to download photographs at a resolution of 300 dpi or higher to avoid blurry or pixilated images.

    Step 4: Headline Decisions
    Your newsletter needs a title, every section needs a headline, every article needs a title, and long articles should contain subtitles. Clear headlines allow readers to easily skim through the articles and pause on those which interest them. Not everyone has time to read a newsletter from cover to cover, so appropriate and descriptive headlines ensures that more people will at least glance through your newsletter. In this step, you will also want to take the time to design your nameplate if this is your first issue. Nameplates typically contain the newsletter title, company name, issue name if needed, and publication information. Keep the design of your newsletter nameplate the same for each issue.

    Step 5: Layout Decisions
    You’ve done the hardest work so far. Now comes the fun part – putting together the pieces. Place the most relevant and interesting sections in the beginning of the newsletter and the least popular in the back. You may also decide to include a table of contents on the cover page, usually placed horizontally on the side of the page.

    Step 6: Editing Decisions
    Every good newsletter has been proofread for grammar errors and edited for a consistent voice. You can almost never proofread too many times. In fact, it’s a good idea to have several different co-workers proofread as different eyes will catch different errors. Only assign one person to be the editor, though, since it’s the editor’s job to keep the tone the same throughout the newsletter.

    Congratulations! Your newsletter is ready to send to print. Hopefully by following a step-by-step system such as the one above, it will make the process much more relaxing for you, and maybe even allow you to look forward to preparing each issue.

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  • 5 Tips for Creating an Eye-Catching Poster

    With online display ads waning in popularity, it’s back to basics for many advertisers. This means using postcards, brochures and posters to catch consumer attention. If done correctly, a poster (of which billboards are included) can drive someone to stop into a store, visit a Web site or make a call to order a product. I’m going to break down the steps for you so that you can create a great poster.

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  • 25 Simply Amazing Business Cards

    Aggressive marketing defines success, but what is even more important is creating a favorable first impression. Clever and creatively designed business card help you sell yourself even before you start advertising your business. Business cards are often your first visual interaction with the client and help in answering the essential 4 “W’s” – Who What, Where and When. Additionally, an attractive business card will not only help you in expanding your business network, but if you have a unique design it clings to the memory of the potential customers thus increasing your chance of getting business. Below are the some examples of creative and unique business cards you may thought weren’t possible.

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  • Graphic Design Job Options

    In response to: http://www.graphicdefine.org/issue4/thinklikeadesigner

    For the newly graduated art school major or the non-schooled artist, here’s an overview of some careers you can explore. And not having a college degree when you’re an artist can work for you or against you. It just depends on the employer. Bigger corporate-types generally want a degreed graphic designer but smaller companies and artists hiring artists won’t hold it against you. Just make sure you have a great portfolio that shows off all your different creative sides.

    Web Design
    This is a growing field, obviously. If companies or individuals don’t have a Web site nowadays, they aren’t going anywhere fast. Most of the jobs here deal with corporations that have large Web sites that have hundreds of pages and needed constant updates or redesigns.

    You could also work for a design agency, building templates for Web pages or by building one client’s basic Web site and then never seeing that client again. Some graphic designers create the icons and other elements, like shopping carts, that go on the Web site.

    Agencies
    You could work for a design agency, an advertising agency or a PR agency. (The last two are sometimes one in the same.) Working for an agency can give you a lot of work variety. You could build a Web site for one client one week and work on a direct mail postcard for another client the next week. If you have great computer skills, you might also work on videos that incorporate animations or graphic design.

    Entertainment Industry
    You could work on movies, TV shows or commercial sets – basically anything that has a graphic element in it in Hollywood. You could even work for a movie studio just designing movie posters. You can make the most money in graphic design by going to Hollywood – but can you afford to live there? That’s the question! You could also work for local TV stations in your area, designing graphics for the local news or local TV shows. The salaries, of course, won’t be nearly as high in your area as they are in Hollywood.

    Corporate
    Businesses now hire designers to create logos and marketing materials in-house instead of outsourcing to an agency or a freelancer. You could design advertisements, charts and other graphics for business-related reports and company newsletters. A corporate designer might also be in charge of the Web site and any other graphic design needs. You can get a lot of variety here as well since you’ll probably be looked upon as a Jack-of-all-trades.

    Books and Magazines
    Books and magazines are forms of entertainment, but they’re also corporations, so I’ve put them in their own category. You can design book covers, layout books and draw illustrations for them. You can help layout magazines and even design or redesign a magazine.

    Freelance
    You can take on whatever clients you want and set your own rates. However, business can be feast or famine at any time. You’ll need to get some experience under your belt before you can go freelance full time. There’s nothing wrong with freelancing for other companies on your own time while working full time somewhere else. Working freelance means you get to work in whatever medium you like best, whether that is advertising or Web site design.

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  • 10 Tips for Catalog Design

    When designing a catalog, anyone can easily get lost in the process and forget some of the most important design rules. Below are 10 tips to use as a reminder when creating a catalog.

    1. When designing the cover, include images of the feature items. Adding page numbers where the items can be found allow customers to easily skip to the desired merchandise without digging through pages of products they care nothing about. The only drawback is that they may not skim through the rest of the catalog.

    2. When choosing a style, keep in mind your audience and appeal to their ideal standard of living. Creating a sense of lifestyle will help you connect with customers.

    3. Be consistent with the catalog image. Customers will recognize your catalogs if you use apparent branding.

    4. Place the most eye-catching item on the page in the upper right hand corner and the best selling item in the upper left corner. When flipping through pages, customers tend to glance first at the right corner, then move to the left and will keep flipping if nothing catches their attention in the first glance.

    5. Use at least four colors in the catalog design. Choose contrasting colors that support your image. Four colors produce vibrant, attractive catalogs that tend to sell more than two or three color schemes.

    6. Do not go overboard on font types. Limit the amount of fonts, and instead use bolding, underlining, or a contrasting color to emphasize discounts or other important text.

    7. A consistent layout throughout the catalog enhances readability but can become boring. Break up the monotony of a predictable layout by including a unique page or two.

    8. Emphasize the best products by using larger pictures for display. This technique will draw the eye and, therefore, capture the reader’s attention easier. Also, do not lump several products into one photograph, as a single photograph will better display the product.

    9. All images should be of the highest quality. Make sure pictures are clear and vivid, not pixilated. Poor quality images will send the message that the products listed are low quality.

    10. Cut costs by printing catalogs with only multiples of 16 pages. Commercial printing presses produce 16 different pages at once, so printers often charge less for multiples of sixteen pages.

    One more little reminder: be creative when designing your catalog. Following common tips does not mean that your catalog has to look like any other. So have fun creating a catalog that promotes your unique brand and sells your products successfully.

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