When it comes to choosing a catalogue designer for your marketing materials, it can be difficult to know which will provide the best service and deliver the results you need.
You should, of course, check out samples of their previous work and get referrals from trusted sources wherever possible, but you can also usually judge a good catalogue designer by the kinds of questions they ask you.
The questions catalogue designers ask up front will give a good sense of where their priorities lie, how much they understand what goes into creating an effective catalogue and what they will be like to work with.
With that in mind, we have put together the following list of what we think are the top 5 questions any catalogue designer worth considering should ask you.
What does the catalogue need to achieve?
This is absolutely fundamental. A lot of catalogue designers can create beautiful looking documents, but if they don’t actually help you achieve your marketing goals, then it’s all so much wasted ink and money. Of particular importance here is the emphasis on what the product benefits are. Good catalogue designers should always ask you what benefits or added value your product or service will bring to the intended audience. This will help them use appropriate graphical elements, typography and imagery to make the items more desirable.
Why you need a catalogue and what specific goals it is intended to help you achieve should really be one of the first things you hear from a prospective catalogue designer. By asking this, they are showing you that they understand how to create a focused piece of work that will actually produce results.
Who will read the catalogue?
Again, this is fundamental. Different target markets respond to completely different things and if your potential catalogue designer doesn’t understand that, chances are they won’t be able to create an effective design for your needs.
Good catalogue designers will want to know all sorts of information about your ideal clients, including their age-range, gender, average income, occupation and, crucially, where they are likely to be reading the catalogue.
This information will allow them to create a highly tailored design which responds to the needs and preferences of your target market. If a designer doesn’t ask about this, it suggests they believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, which is no good for you or your potential customers.
Do you have an existing catalogue?
Good catalogue designers will always want to see your existing catalogue if you have one. They should then have a whole load of follow-up questions, including what you do and do not like about it, how effective it was and why are you redesigning it.
This information can help guide them towards creating something that is more effective than previous versions. You want to be sure your customers will instantly recognise it through reusing effective design elements, or catching their eye with a total visual refresh.
If you don’t have a current catalogue (or want a complete redesign from scratch) your catalogue designer should ask for examples of catalogues you like. It is therefore a good idea to find a least a few catalogues you think work well and identify why you think they do a good job.
Any catalogue designer you speak to should also bring samples of other catalogues they have produced which you can look at to help narrow down exactly what you are after.
Who are your main competitors?
When hiring anyone to help you with any element of your marketing, they should also be keen to know who your main competitors are. This is especially important for a catalogue designer as it will give them a better idea of what appeals to your target market while also allowing them to create something that stands out from the competition.
When meeting prospective designers, it is a good idea to have your top competitors’ catalogues to hand. Make notes of exactly what you think works and doesn’t work about them, any ideas you think are worth borrowing and all the things you would like to do differently and better.
Where will the images for the catalogue come from?
There are various logistical questions that any agency or freelancer should ask before coming onto a project, such as what the budget and deadline are and who the main point of contact will be.
However, the thing that will really separate out serious professional catalogue designers is how much focus they put on the imagery. Pictures sell and you can’t create an effective, high quality catalogue without great imagery.
A good designer will ask up front whether you already have existing images you want to use or if they will be expected to create them. If you already have images, they will want to see them and get a feel for their quality.
If your designer does not show a strong interest in the visual side of the catalogue that should ring alarm bells straightaway as that really is one of the key things you are hiring them for!
Work with catalogue designers who ask all the right questions
Palmiero Design combines highly talented graphic designers with a strong understanding of all the latest principles of both online and offline marketing. This means we can produce visually stunning print and digital designs that really sell your business, products and services.
We put a strong emphasis on creating effective working relationships with our clients, helping you to get exactly what you need to make your business a success. Great communication is the key to our approach, making sure we understand exactly what you are looking for and how we can deliver it.
Struggling to brief your catalogue designer effectively? Download our free guide which gives step-by-step tips and advice to creating the perfect brief for your designer.