The very nature of a good catalogue is to showcase the products and information it contains. Its purpose is to show what the company produces in the simplest and most clearly organized way possible. And that, of course, is to encourage purchases, both by individual customers and by distributors or sales representatives.
As a rule, catalogues have lots of pages, because companies have a lot of products.
Two Main Functions
Catalogues must fulfil two main functions. They must be easy to consult when looking for product information and, because of the large quantity of information they contain, they must be well-organized.
Because of this, the majority of catalogues are arranged in tables, with a product on each row (sometimes including a small picture), followed by its codes and a description of its features.
Designing a Catalogue
Catalogues are multi-purpose tools, used to show off products at trade fairs or in brick and mortar or virtual stores. They can also be used by sales staff or perused over and over again by a buyer. The design you choose depends on the uses the catalogue is intended for.
Catalogues are similar to books or magazines in that, depending on the number of pages, they can be either perfect-bound (glued together at the spine) or staple-bound.
The size of the pages depends on the impression the company wants to give of itself and the type of business. Industrial or commercial equipment companies often have simple graphics and come in standard formats, such a A4 (8.268 x 11.693 inches, 297 x 210 mm).
Companies that produce or sell luxury goods often opt for square, small-sized catalogues, which is a format favoured by jewelers and watchmakers.
When thinking about the layout of a catalogue, there are a few things to consider, namely:
- The number of products to display, as the layout will change depending on whether you need to include a lot of products on each page or just one
- The quality and size of the product pictures; large if they include the context in which the product is used or small if they only need to show the product’s appearance
- The industry, that is, looking at similar catalogues in the same sector to help you decide on the best layout
- Having pages that introduce each section if the catalogue is to be divided into several parts
Catalogues need to be versatile and designed to be easily consulted. The way they’re put together can say a lot more about a company than brochures or other presentation and communication tools can. A catalogue represents your business and shows prospects what your company is actually capable of.