Producing a product catalog is an effective way to expand your customer base and to expose your customers to all of the unique products your company offers. However, getting started can seem like a daunting task. It can feel overwhelming to have a multitude of products that all need photographed, organized and placed into a compelling design to truly showcase them.

Luckily at Digital Canvas we love taking the vast amount of information you provide and turning it into an easy to use, well organized, and attractively displayed array of products. We help our clients from start to finished with both photography and design services. So where do we start? Read on and we’ll take you though the steps one by one.


Organization

We have our clients look through all the products that they’d like to include in their catalog. Creating a spreadsheet is a good way to make sure nothing is missed. We also make note of products that need grouped into certain categories. This is also a good time to make note of best selling products. We will want to place those at the font of the product catalog or category group sections.

The spreadsheet should include all the products that will be included in the final catalog along with any other content that will need to be shown. This can include; the product name, descriptions, specifications, and prices (if shown).

Collecting and organizing all this information first will ensure nothing critical is left out of the catalog and help us decide the best way to layout the catalog during the design process.


Photography

We’ve talked in previous posts about the importance of good photography. Showcasing items to highlight their best attributes, such as color, texture, size and proportion, is crucial in promoting products.

Once we have received all the products that will need photographed, we go through them with our clients and be sure we understand any instruction on how they would like the product to be photographed. We want to make sure we have photographs of every needed angle and we will also include any in-use images that are necessary.

The next step in our photography process includes color correction and touch-ups in order to make the product look its best. We will also remove the background, if necessary, through silhouetting to create a clean image that can be placed on any background.

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Design

While photography is going on we will start on creating the look for the product catalog. This includes creating the layout of the cover and interior pages. The look will typically follow the branding already established by the client.

With cover design there a couple routes we can go visually. It could be very product heavy, showing only the products themselves with no environment. Or it could have a more human element through showing the the products being use by a person or in their environment.

For the interior pages we will create a layout that allows the consumer to easily find specific product categories and will highlight certain products based on our client’s preferences.

The catalog cover on the left features a more human element by showing the product in-use. While the catalog cover on the right only shows the products.
The product catalog cover on the left features a more human element by showing the product in-use.
While the catalog cover on the right only shows the products.

Proof

Once we complete our initial design, the next step is proofing. This is where any changes to the design or content can be made.

For large product catalogs, we like to proof by catalog section. This means that once we have finished a section or category of the catalog we will send it to our client for proof. We feel this helps keep the project moving forward at a steady pace. The client will not be bogged down with a ton of pages to review at one time. They can focus on that one section and add their edits into the PDF proof via sticky notes then send it back to us. While they are proofing one section we continue to finish work on other sections of the catalog.

We usually do several rounds of edits to make sure that everything is correct and exactly how our client wants it. We keep each round of edited and updated PDFs organized by making sure they are marked with their round number by adding “_v(round number)” to the end of each PDF.


Pre-Press

For this step we comb through the entire catalog file for spelling issues, missing links, missing fonts, overset text, bleed spacing, color modes, resolution of images, and consistency in formatting.

We also do a final page count. In almost every product catalog we have created there has been a need to shuffle and add or subtract from the amount of pages in each category. We always aim for page quantities divisible by 16 so we can offer you the best printing price. Although sometimes necessary, quantities divisible by 8 or 4 will yield a more expensive press run.


Sending to Press

Then it is off to the printer for the final press proof. If Digital Canvas or the client already have a trusting relationship with a specific printer, we will usually only request a digital PDF proof of the final product catalog. If it’s a new printer, we highly recommend taking the extra time to receive and double check a hard copy proof of each and every page.

Once this proof is approved by the client and us the designers it ready to print and be sent out to consumers.


Beyond Print

If a client can’t afford to print tons of catalogs or wants to go digital we offer another GREAT catalog option in online catalogs. Placing your catalog online can not only save you money, but it can also reach many more viewers than a printed version ever could. Digital online catalogs also give you the added benefit of making a change to only ONE page without having to reprint the entire catalog on press.

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Give us a call 330-877-3075 today or email us info@digitalcanvasllc.com and we’ll help you through the process of creating your product catalog.

 

Check out our online portfolio to see more catalog design examples.