Design Poop with a fresh powdery scent

The last batch of dog poop bags I bought came with a light powdery scent. I suppose the scent was added to improve my poop scooping experience. It didn’t. Poop with a light powdery scent is still poop. Bad design with pretty elements is still bad design. If you want to improve your customer’s experience, a spiffy new font or some pretty pictures probably isn’t going to do it. Here are 4 things you can do to actually improve your design.

Number 1

Shop your own catalog. Sounds like a waste of time but go buy something; really shop, get out your wallet and make a purchase. Do it online and then by phone. Fill out the order form if you have one. This will make you look at your catalog shopping experience with fresh eyes. It will also make you use the purchasing information that is provided, which may or may not be well thought out.



Number 2


Have someone who is not familiar with your catalog buy something from it. Don’t help them or hint or point stuff out. Watch them struggle and then fix where they got hung up.




Number 3


Make a list of your top 10 products then give it to someone who is not familiar with your catalog and ask them to find all 10 items. See how long it takes and watch how they navigate. This will show you how intuitive your design is.




Number 4

Ask people unfamiliar with your catalog to look at the top 10 items and then ask them if they would buy each one. If they say “Yes” ask them why. This will tell you what benefits and high level information they saw. If they say “No” ask them why. This will tell you what benefits and high level information they didn’t see.


Great design is about great communication. Trying to make bad design pretty is about as effective as adding a light powdery scent to poop bags—it’s still poop.

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The Catalog Blog covers opinions and information on all things catalog. Have something to add? Leave a comment below. Catalog University is devoted to helping you get ahead in the fun and fascinating world of catalogs. If you want even more information about cataloging, including FREE Pub Talks, be sure to sign up for the Cat-U mailing list. We will never share your name with 3rd parties.

Sarah Fletcher President/Creative Director Catalog Design Studios Inc. Co-Founder Catalog University