Updated: Feb 14, 2019
Consumers want clarity when glancing through catalogues — whether it's online or in print form.
Images play a huge role in successful catalogue design as consumers rely on you — the designer — to create visually-appealing layouts. However, building a strong hierarchy with complimenting typography, infographics and other components is equally as important when talking about catalogue design.
Before even starting the design process, it's crucial to have a layout plan for all your pages. With every print project, designers should sketch out some layout options on graph, ruled or even plain paper. This process gives your catalogue structure even before beginning the Adobe InDesign stage.
What are some other key topics to consider when designing catalogues?
Firstly, the list of products and the descriptions must stand out and not get lost in any sort of clutter. As you can see in the examples in this tutorial, I utilized the tabbing features offered in Adobe InDesign to properly space out and line up each item.
This is how to accomplish proper tabbing in Adobe InDesign:
• Create tabs in your copy by putting your curser between the number and the name of the item and pressing the tab key. Repeat the process for each item you would like to tab.
• In the TYPE menu dropdown, select TABS. The shortcut is SHIFT + COMMAND/CONTROL + T.
This will bring up a dialog box as shown in the example above.
• Select the alignment that you would like your tabs to be. In this case, the alignment is Justified Left. With your arrowhead cursor, click on the grey bar (above the ruler in the dialog box) where you want your tabbing to be.
• To create a lead-in for each tab, also with your text selected, type in a period in the LEADER field.
• To edit tabs, such as adding or deleting alignment arrows, highlight your body text and repeat the same process.
As mentioned in Part I of this tutorial, use negative space in photos to highlight prices and items in the image. In my example, I numbered each product in the living room image and then used the corresponding numeral in the item listing. This removes any confusion and assists consumers to correlate each item easily and efficiently.
You also have the option of placing the prices within the image, just be mindful that if your image has several products, it could become jumbled. Listing the products with a brief description of each is a cleaner look and will have a much more successful result for consumers.
The example above uses two typefaces — a serif and sans serif — that compliment one another. The headline and product listings are Gotham while the preamble uses Butler. Try to stick to two typefaces — and no more than three — in an entire catalogue. Remember, simple and consistent rules the day!
Most importantly, mix up your layouts. If you run a five column photo in one spread, come back and run two or three images in the next one. Variance and solid hierarchy are the real secrets to catalogue design. Follow a structured system from the early stages and your catalogue will stand out above the rest.