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26 August 2019

Create catalogs faster with these 10 handy tips

Tim Melis
Media Workflow Consultant bij Catena Company

Creating a successful product catalog does not happen overnight. Often a whole team works on it over a long period of time and it requires a lot of effort. What’s your experience? Does it always work as efficiently as it should, or are there ways to save costs? Here are 10 useful tips to increase efficiency and minimize production costs.


1. First things first

Above all, a catalog must be a visual gem and the products must be displayed optimally in a pleasing layout. Always ensure that a layout approval is obtained before proceeding with production. After all, layout changes during production can cause huge delays. Design a few pages and present it to the marketing managers, product specialists, sales managers and the board of directors. Only after everyone agrees, you can proceed to design the other pages.


2. Determine the right page size

Will the catalog only appear digitally in PDF format or flipping book, or will it also be printed? Choosing the right format is hugely important and the choice of a landscape or portrait layout is an important factor. The overall size can also affect the cost of printing and shipping.


3. Collect all content

To get started quickly and efficiently, it is important to have all the content. Often a catalog not only displays products but also includes introductory text, more information about the company, order forms, contact information, … This information must also be available at the time production begins.


4. Determine the order of your products

Before producing the catalog, determine the order of the products. How will they be grouped and sorted? According to the application? The target audience? Do not limit to defining the order of items. Also think about what product information should be shown. Which information is relevant to the consumer, and which is not?


5. Centralize product information

To get to catalog produced quickly, it is important to centralize all product information. This can be in a simple Microsoft Excel file, a database or a PIM system (Product Information Management system). This way, all product information and/or prices can be brought together.


6. Centralize your images

Often, each catalog displays one or more images. It is important that all these images are housed in one central location where the images have a logical name or product number. These images can be housed in a central server location or in a DAM solution. It is recommended that the correct reference of our image is also housed with the product information. This way everyone knows very quickly which image belongs to which product.


7. Ensure the correct dimensions of the images

A catalog may contain hundreds or even thousands of images of the products. If the images are displayed very small in the layout, but the original files are much larger, this can greatly slow down production time. It is recommanded to optimize the dimensions of the images for catalogs by resizing them to the appropriate size.


8. Use plug-ins for Adobe InDesign

Catalogs are often formatted with Adobe InDesign. By default, this solution has several powerful tools but by using external plug-ins such as EasyCatalog, production gets a huge boost. EasyCatalog can provide a link between the data, and the layout. This allows the designers to have the latest information up to the very last minute. Working with multiple language versions, given the right approach, becomes child’s play. Using such an automated solution is a must for every professional.


9. Use templates

Is the layout for each page unique or are the product pages the same? Often the use of templates, which define how products are displayed on a page, can provide huge speed gains. These templates can also be addressed via EasyCatalog to create pages automatically or semi-automatically. The use of different templates is perfectly possible.


10. Use styles

Using styles is an absolute must for those who want to get started building catalogs quickly and productively. This basic functionality of Adobe Indesign is still not used by everyone but for efficient production, it is absolutely required.


Want to know more about how to boost catalog production? Are you curious about the possibilities of EasyCatalog and how it can add value for you? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Catena Company is not only supplier of EasyCatalog, but also provides customized training and support so you can get started quickly.


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