Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video Get started with catalog design, part of Learning Catalog Design.
- Preparing this course, I came across a lot of catalogs. Some of which are here and saw a lot of beautiful work. A lot of apparel catalogs, home furnishing, gardening, travel, lifestyle, adventure. Those were the most common ones. And what I most enjoyed was the design, specifically the detailing. Photos, typography, the hierarchy of information, page layout, flow, how the eye moves, color, how things get attention. And the best part is that it's all transferable to other designs. That's what, for a designer, makes catalog design so valuable. That variety and that transferability and that's what we'll focus on. I looked at utility catalogs like 80/20's, 12 hundred pages, really well designed in terms of clarity and utility, incredible feat of organization. You can pick up tips here, but it's not pretty. So mostly, we're not going to go there. This course is about design and beauty and making an impression. So what is a catalog? A modern catalog is many things. It's your world on display. It's part showroom, part warehouse, part magazine. It presents your products at their best. It gives readers information and access, and it usually reflects a lifestyle. A catalog is your voice. A catalog is a point of engagement and engagement is as creative as you can dream up. Look at this. Tiniest catalog I ever saw. It's a font catalog for David Jonathan Ross. This is genius. (laughs) Costs nothing, it's totally engaging. We'll come back to it, but it brings up another point. And that's that the modern catalog is also online. This is just the front end. A catalog sticks around. You can read it, lay it down, come back to it. In my kitchen the other day, I see this. IKEA, alone on the counter. Think about this asset. Online is noisy, it's clamorous, it's competitive, but this paper catalog is the only thing here. It's physical, it's quiet. It'll probably stay in our house for months, maybe why IKEA prints 200 million of these every year. A catalog puts IKEA in my home, literally. Speaking of that, some of you will remember the Sears catalog which, for decades, was in every home. The Sears catalog was Amazon before there was Amazon. Began in the 19th century, may have created the modern retail world. Sears was huge. You could buy anything. Pianos, lawn mowers, even cars and houses. Seriously, you'd send away for a house. It would arrive on a truck ready to assemble. Sears sold 70,000 houses from a catalog. Off the subject, but check out the price. That 989 dollars in today's money is about $25,000. Anyway, there's a lot to catalogs. A lot of cool stuff, but before we dive in, let's look a bit further.
- Creating a modern catalog design
- Getting started with catalog design
- Paper catalog strengths and limitations
- Planning out design
- Catalog format options
- Catalog paper choices
- Catalog photography and typography
- Catalogs: Ikea, Duluth, Prana, Green Acres, and Big Sur