Make a catalog of products (or even services) is a great way to reach more customers, promote yourself better, and get more people to know you.
Perhaps it seems difficult to you to elaborate it, or even impossible because you believe that only a design professional can make this type of material.
But precisely in this article I am going to teach you how to make a catalog of products with tools that you already have on your computer.
With this step-by-step tutorial, you will see that you can create a beautiful and attractive catalog in a very simple way.
10 steps to make a product catalog
1. What information should you include in your catalog?
First of all, the first thing you should think about is what you want to include in your catalog so that everything is well organized later.
Each catalog is an opportunity for people who do not know you, or who do not decide to buy from you, to discover your brand and place an order.
For this reason, you cannot assume that everyone knows who you are, where they can go to buy your products, or how they can contact you.
So for this you must write on a paper a description of your brand or business, and say who you are.
If your store is physical, include the address and telephone number; And if it is online, add the link to your website and the phone or email to contact you.
If you have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, dedicated only to your products, also include the link to these social networks.
You can put all this information at the beginning of your catalog, or at the end of it.
It is also good at this point that you make a list of the products that you are going to include , and what data you will add in each of them.
There are companies that only show the name and a small description of each item; others, however, also show the price.
And others, in addition, add very specific data such as the different colors available for each product, the size, the materials from which they are made …
Write down what information you want to show to the people who are holding your catalogs, and go to the next step.
2. What design will your catalog have?
Now is the time to think about what design your catalog will have, from the colors, to the number of pages or how many products there will be per page.
Take paper and pencil again, and write down the following aspects:
- What colors will your catalog have? You can do it with the colors you want, as long as they combine well with each other. But I recommend that you use the same tones that you use in your online store or in the logo of your brand.
- What elements will you include? Decide whether the logo of your business or brand will be displayed on each page of the catalog (I recommend that you do so), the price, long or short descriptions, specifications such as size, a direct link to the product if you have an online store …
- What style will your catalog have? There are prospects where only one product appears per page, and others where several are shown per page.
- How many pages will it have? This question is closely related to the previous one. You must think where you are going to distribute your catalog, and choose a good size. If for example you are going to send it by mail, make sure that it has a good size to fit into a mailbox in a house. Never make it too big, because otherwise people who see it will feel overwhelmed. But also not too small where the images are barely appreciated.
3. What type of images will you include?
Both in a catalog, in a brochure or even in an online store, you can display two types of images: the product simply on a white background, or the product in “action”.
The product on a white background is just that, and it serves to show only the article so that its details can be seen better.
The product “in action” is when it is displayed in a specific environment so that the customer can get a better idea of how it would look or fit where they want to put it once they buy it.
Decide what types of images you want to include in your catalog. This is entirely up to you: there is no better or worse option.
You can also use both types at the same time : for some products, images with a white background, and for others, “in action” photos, depending on the means you have to do them, or if you are going to hire a professional photographer, from your budget.
4. Take visually appealing photos
The previous 3 steps consisted of organizing your ideas and deciding what to include in your catalog. But from here you will start with the practical part.
The photos are perhaps the most important about this type of brochure, because they are the element that first captures the attention and what will hook people who see it.
At this point, you have two options: either hire a professional photographer to take the photos, or take them yourself.
If you decide to take them yourself, it is essential that you do it with a good quality camera. It does not matter if it is the camera of your own cell phone, or a more professional camera: you must take sharp images, with good quality, where details are well appreciated.
And make sure to do it in a place with good lighting, and that the product has all the focus of attention for it.
You can take them on a nice table, somewhere outdoors … But you should always be sure that they look good, they are attractive, and they are as professional as possible.
5. Choose the program to create your catalog
Perhaps this is the part that most people find difficult. It is true that there are programs that will allow you to make a very professional catalog, such as InDesign or Photoshop.
But if you do not have enough knowledge, the simplest option and the one I recommend is with the Microsoft Office Word program.
With Word you can make it completely free, and it is easy to do if you know how to handle it a little.
You can do this by opening a new Word document on your computer, and placing the images and text yourself.
Or, if you do not have this program, or you do not know how to use it much, you can go to the office templates and themes section, choosing there the design that you like the most, and in your browser a window will open with the chosen template where you can edit text and images.
Although there are not many product templates, the ones you will find there are enough to make a nice catalog in a professional way.
Unfortunately, I have literally spent hours looking for other types of Word templates that fit better with a catalog, or online programs that make it possible, and I have not found anything that was totally free.
But with the basic Word layouts, or by creating the document from scratch yourself, you can make a nice, eye-catching and attractive catalog.
6. Edit the photos if necessary
When making a catalog, if the photographs have turned out well, it is not necessary to make up too much, because if you do, they can look too artificial and not reflect the true appearance of the product.
However, if you need to do any little tinkering – crop the image a little, fix contrast or saturation – I recommend using an online photo editor. like Befunky.com, which is completely in Spanish and free to use.
If your catalog is only going to be used online, save the photos in .JPEG format ; but if you are going to print it, you better save them in .TIFF format.
7. Organize the content of your catalog
Once you have everything ready, all you have to do is place the text and images in the style you have chosen.
A very important tip is that you place similar products next to each other so that potential customers can browse and see better what you offer.
For example, if it is a beauty catalog, put all the lipsticks in a row on different pages, then all the blushes close to each other, etc.
At the beginning of each section, it is a good idea to write a short introduction talking about those particular products and their benefits.
You should also make an index at the beginning of the catalog listing the categories you have included, and on which pages your customers can find each specific product to facilitate them to go directly to the article page if they are looking for something specific.
8. Create an awesome cover
The cover is the main element for a person who looks at your catalog to decide to take it, open it, and read it.
So it is important that you make it as striking and attractive as possible.
To create it successfully, you can use two different elements:
- The image of your best product, the one that sells best, or the one that most attracts the attention of all those you offer.
- A nice photo of one or more of your products placed in the same place, with a message indicating one of your special offers or promotions to capture attention.
You can include a simple image with the white background, in some striking color, or make the photo fill the entire cover.
But don’t forget to also include the name of your brand, your business, or your logo so that you know exactly what that catalog belongs to. This is obligatory.
Another option is to also include the catalog title: the season to which it belongs (Spring – Summer 2016), the type of collection (Home Collection), but it is not essential, and you can ignore it if you want.
Be that as it may, remember that the cover is simple, but attractive, and do not saturate it with too many texts, different images, or very different colors.
9. Make an order form (optional)
This step is optional, and largely depends on the type of sales you make.
If you have an online business, or a physical store, where your customers, in addition to going to your store or your website, can also contact you by phone or mail to make personalized orders, then you will need to design an order form.
But if your only means of sale is for buyers to go to your store, take what they want to buy and charge them, or visit your website and place an order directly there, you do not need this form and you can go to the next step.
The basic boxes that you must include in an order form are …
- The name and surname of the client.
- The address where you want the order delivered to.
- Telephone and / or email contact.
- Name of the product they want.
- Color (if you offer products in various colors or models).
- Number of units of each item.
When you’re done with this, congratulations! You have already created your catalog and it will be ready for you to start distributing it to your future clients.
10. How do I distribute my catalog?
The last step, when you already have your catalog mounted, is to think about how you are going to distribute it so that it reaches your customers.
This is entirely up to you, and in fact, you can do it through various channels regardless of the type of store or business you have.
A good option is to print it on paper, although for this you will need to have some budget since it is better that you send it to a printer so that they print it and that the result is of quality and professional.
This paper catalog can be kept in your physical location so that customers who want to can browse it, distribute it among the houses near your business, or even if you have an online store, give the option of sending it by mail.
But if you do not want to invest in printing it, or the paper option does not seem the most appropriate, you can also distribute it online.
If you have a virtual store, upload your catalog in .PDF format to your hosting, and create a section on your page where your visitors can view it online or download it directly to their computers.
You can also upload it to a specialized platform for catalogs and magazines such as Issuu.com (in English), or Joomag.com (in Spanish), copy the link provided to see it online, and paste it on your social networks, forums, communities of your sector …
Making a catalog is very simple if you follow all the previous steps and have a little patience at the beginning in case you do not know well how to handle some computer programs.
And what is better: it is a powerful tool to attract customers , make yourself known, and increase your sales.
Have you ever created your own product catalog? Leave me a comment below and tell me about your experience.
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