What Catalog Creatives Can Learn from a French Fry.

The french fries were a revelation. Slightly thinner than you might expect, turned perfectly golden. Tossed lightly in sea salt and pepper, they were enough to get my attention. But the chef had added a drizzle of olive oil perfumed with finely chopped basil and a touch of vinegar. Perfection. After my meal, which was just as well done, I went online to learn more about the chef at the small Cambridge bistro. I figured he had to be famous. Well it turns out more than just a little, in fact he was knighted by the French government for his contribution to french cuisine.

So what does the perfect french fry have to do with catalog creative? Think about this the next time you throw something on a page and say “How exciting is this ever going to be, it’s just a _______?” That chef elevated an ordinary french fry to where one taste made me certain that I was in the presence of greatness.

Let’s be honest, most catalogs are selling ordinary things: shirts, tools, gifts, food. Great creative is often doing the simple things perfectly. Light falling just right on the cuff of a shirt. A headline that makes a customer think, “I need that.” or “Wow, that is so me.” Take a moment to challenge yourself. Can you add a signature touch, balance the elements differently, clean up a crowded page…? Is there a lead for the copy that is stronger or more interesting? Sometimes the smallest changes add up to the most impact.

Extraordinary is always a little extra time and a few extra steps, but it stands out. Cat-U is a great place to find inspiration and answers. Make this year your best ever.

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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