If you are new to the wonderful world of catalogues, or are considering changing your design supplier, the advice below might help you find the perfect match…
Catalogue production is a unique discipline and it is a brave client who uses a supplier without some experience of the process.
They don’t need to have worked for other clients in your sector or be dedicated purely to catalogue design – in fact the opposite could well be more beneficial! Design experience across a multitude of sectors and marketing will mean they are able to bring fresh ideas to the design.
The production of a catalogue is one laden with many pitfalls though – which an experienced provider will be aware of and know to closely manage having been through the process many times previously.
In this day and age, most communication can be done remotely. However, being within a manageable trip to your supplier is worth considering, as it will help you get the finished catalogue you hoped for.
Being able to meet with the supplier at the start of the process will ensure a clear briefing. Over the course of the production, it may help to then have regular update meetings, especially close to deadline, so amendments can be quickly signed-off.
Having the flexibility to meet with your provider at their premises or yours at short notice could mean the difference between meeting tight deadlines or not, so having local or at least regional support is advisable.
The supplier you choose should have the right amount of people, all with adequate experience, to complete the job within deadline.
Regardless of the size of the catalogue you are producing, you will most likely need to communicate copy changes and feedback on design. There are plenty of positives to using a freelancer, but if your timeframe is short, discussing amends and major changes is time lost on the design of your catalogue. Solo or very small teams also leave the process susceptible to disruption due to illness, holidays and other client workload, so build in extra time.
Having a dedicated account manager or account management team means no design time is wasted and your amends are double-checked before being sent back to you. It is important to weigh this up when comparing supplier costs and your delivery date.
From the initial style concepts through to sending the catalogue to print – having a supplier with proven processes could save heartache down the line.
The supplier you use should be able to map out a realistic timeline for the catalogue production. They should also be able to set up files properly for print. If managing the print process they should have trusted suppliers in place who are able to print and deliver the finished catalogue to your requirements.
Look out for hidden and unaccounted costs in any quotes you receive. The catalogue production process may demand substantial amends, so check how many sets are included and how much extra sets will be charged at.
Make sure you are served with choices when the supplier is setting the design style. Be wary of suppliers that are charging a low cost because they are using a pre-existing template. It could be a false economy if you are ending up with a catalogue design that suits the supplier and not your brief.
The same can be said for automated software – identikit designs won’t get you the standout you need over your competitors or truly reflect your brand. We strongly recommend you use a supplier who can bring the ideas and flexibility to create a dynamic and engaging catalogue from cover to cover.