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Catalog printing is one of the best marketing strategies for retail businesses, and it’s at the core of mail-order catalog companies. In fact, studies have shown that many consumers prefer print catalogs over online catalogs and other advertising methods. Free catalog templates make it fast and easy to design and print professional catalogs that boost sales.
Given these statistics, it’s no wonder 85 percent of marketers plan to increase catalog circulation. Once you’ve decided to start a mail-order catalog business, you’ll need resources to help establish your company and make it profitable. A printed catalog needs catalog design that’s attractive, innovative, functional – and most importantly, lends itself to excellent return on investment.
Design plays a critical role in your overall catalog marketing strategy, and the best way to put your catalog design on the right track from the start is to take advantage of free catalog layout templates. Catalog layout templates do not have any design elements; rather, they’re preformatted files that make it easy to produce print-ready artwork. The following details what you should look for in a catalog layout template.
When you take on a catalog printing project, you can avoid costly mistakes by starting out with a catalog template properly formatted in the size and resolution you need for the printing press. Trying to scale your artwork post-design will result in layout issues and pixelated graphics, so it’s best to download the appropriately-sized free catalog template to avoid these problems.
Your catalog template resolution should be at least 300 dpi to ensure high-quality catalog printing. Anything less, and you’ll jeopardize your design with product images that look out of focus; at 300 dpi, however, your catalog marketing campaign will look brilliant with clean, crisp, bright images and other graphic elements.
Your catalog template should be preformatted in your printer’s preferred color mode to ensure your printed catalog colors match the colors on your screen. Most catalog printing companies print catalogs in CMYK four-color process, which means you should download a free catalog template formatted for CMYK printing.
One of the main tenants of color catalog printing 101 states that you need to ensure the colors on your screen match what the final output will be. Invest in a good printed color swatch chart to see what specific CMYK values will look like on paper, and print your catalogs with a G7 Master Certified Printer to get perfect color calibration.
RGB is for computer screens, while CMYK is for print.
customers expect (and respond to) large, full-color images alongside product descriptions to help them make purchasing decisions. Large color images help create desire and influence response. They’re more attractive and attention-getting; plus, online printing companies such as PsPrint have made full-color catalog printing more affordable than ever, even for small businesses and short-run catalog printing.
One of the most useful features of free catalog layout templates is that they include guidelines for your artwork. A good catalog template should include:
Anything inside these lines will be printed in your finished catalog. The safety area represents the main content of your catalog, and no content inside the safe area will be cut off
These lines represent where your catalog pages will be cut post-printing. Cut lines aren’t perfect – you need to allow some room for variation, hence the reason for the safety area – but they offer a good idea of catalog page boundaries
These lines show how far you should extend any graphics you want to go to the edge of the page. For example, if you have a color background and do not want any white space around the page border, you need to extend that color background to the bleed lines
Design your catalog layout according to these guidelines, and your finished printed catalog layout will look just as it does on your computer screen.
Another consideration you need to make is whether your catalog layout template is compatible with your design software. Catalog templates in PDF format are compatible with a variety of popular applications, including the Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.
The advantages of using Photoshop and InDesign include editing and enhancing quality images and crafting unique layouts that stand out from competing catalogs. Maximize your efficiency by following template-specific guides for Photoshop and InDesign, which will help you ensure your artwork meshes with your template’s size, color mode, and resolution; and also provide instructions for file output to ensure premium-quality catalog printing.
The catalog template standards mentioned here save time, allowing you to skip the tedious work of file setup and direct your attention to the fun (and profitable) work of creating your catalog design. Catalog templates make you a more efficient graphic designer, which in turn allows you to make more money in less time.
In addition to catalog templates, there are many catalog design resources available to help you craft creative catalog designs and powerful, profit-producing catalog marketing campaigns that are critical to success in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace.
If you have special considerations, you can even request to have a custom catalog template created for you. This is useful if you want to print a die-cut catalog, need to have holes drilled to include your catalog in product binders, or want to print catalogs in a non-standard size.
No matter what industry you’re designing catalogs for, you can save time and money – and avoid costly mistakes – by taking advantage of preformatted templates. Get started by downloading free catalog templates today!