Engineering flexibility into your catalog pagination

Last year I took a fresh look at swapping out covers for versioning and realized that changing how the catalog signatures (pages that get printed together) were bound together allowed clients to have greater flexibility at very little cost. Here’s how it works. The traditional pagination for a 36-page catalog has a 4-page cover and […]

Is sending something less relevant, better than sending nothing?

There in lies the conundrum for marketers, especially email marketers. If you send nothing, you get nothing back. If you send something that isn’t relevant, you get some sales but you also get unsubscribes, which are worse than nothing. Is sending something less relevant, usually discounts, better than sending nothing? That depends. I have heard […]

What matters most in catalog design?

If there is one thing that will move the needle in catalog design, one thing that makes more impact than anything else, the thing that really makes the cash register ring, it’s product knowledge. There is no better thing to spend your time on than really, truly understanding what you are selling and why it […]

Shipping charges and STDs

Shipping charges are making a come back. The glow of free shipping is giving way to the reality that advertising lower prices works, offers a very real advantage online, and allows more flexibility in promotions. Free shipping was never really free, and making the numbers work with free shipping all the time isn’t possible for […]

Adobe is training me to be a jerk, #Adobe sucks

  A few weeks back I needed to work over the weekend to catch up from a bout with the flu. No one wants to give up a weekend to work, but sometimes there just isn’t another option. And then my computer went wonky, and then InDesign crashed, and then nothing worked. I was able […]

FIVE Catalog Design Fails

When assessing or critiquing catalog design I’m of the belief that every issue could “always be better.” However, most criticism points to small deficiencies that at the end of the day, do not make a big difference in overall results. Collectively they can make a big difference, but only if your catalog layouts truly stink […]

You won’t remember the pain

So right now, as you sit exhausted and numb from another holiday onslaught, take 5 minutes and write it down. Write down everything that didn’t work well. Write down what did work. Write down the things that made you go “Huh.” Write down the things that made you go “Wow!” Don’t worry about getting it right, […]

Rudolph and Catalog Trivia

It was 52 years ago today that Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer aired on TV. But what you may not know is there’s an important connection to the catalog industry. Back in 1939 Aaron Montgomery Ward (of THE Montgomery Ward store empire) asked copywriter Robert May to develop a coloring book for store patrons. The […]

Farewell to the remarkable Herschell Gordon Lewis

To say that Herschell Gordon Lewis was a legend, is underplaying his impact on both the catalog and movie world. I met Herschell back when he was a spry 75 year old. I was hosting my very first DMA Catalog Conference round table, and I was late getting from my session to the table. I apologized, […]

Amazon, Athleta and Man-Buns

The Art of Keeping it Simple. “Simple is harder than complex.” – Steve Jobs Browsing through a catalog of one of my favorite brands, I found myself completely frustrated, to the point that I eventually threw the catalog aside. Why? Because they made it hard for me to shop. We are in an era where […]