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What is catalog printing

What is Catalog Printing? The Complete Guide

As a professional China catalog printing manufacturer, I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about catalog printing, so I figured it’s about time that I write the complete guide on this important topic.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover:

What is catalog printing
Why catalog printing is important for business growth
Standard vs custom formats
Key technical specifications influencing catalog printing
The catalog printing process step-by-step
Tips for creating a high-converting catalog
Let’s get into it!

What is catalog printing

What is Catalog Printing?

Catalog printing is the process of producing physical product catalogs that effectively display a company’s offerings. Put simply, it involves designing, printing, and binding catalogs as a promotional and informational tool to boost sales and brand awareness.

Catalog printing encompasses meticulous steps to ensure each page reflects your brand essence with clarity and visual impact. There are many possibilities and options that influence production costs and the catalog’s final appearance.

Why Catalog Printing is Important for Business Growth

A catalog serves as a critical sales and marketing asset, allowing customers to learn about your business at their own pace. With an attractive, well-designed catalog, you can effectively sell products, services or reinforce brand messaging for nearly any business.

Brands leverage catalogs in multifaceted ways:

  • Increase brand awareness and visibility
  • Showcase new product launches
  • Highlight service offerings
  • Drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores or e-commerce sites
  • Generate direct sales revenue

Print catalogs have exceptionally high returns on investment compared to other marketing channels when executed properly. For example, specialty retailers using direct mail catalogs yield $7 in sales for every $1 spent.

Now let’s explore key considerations when printing catalogs to maximize your investment.

Standard vs. Custom Catalog Formats

When printing any document, including catalogs and brochures, you have two main options – standard or custom formats.

Standard formats ensure optimal paper usage alongside machine printing limitations. This results in less paper waste and more affordable printing costs.

Custom formats enable more original and distinctive catalog dimensions. However, custom sizes often generate more waste and tend to have higher associated printing expenses.

Ultimately, your sales and marketing objectives shape the catalog format. For example, a company showcasing luxury accessories may opt for a custom large format with thick, high-quality paper. This aligns with positioning their brand as prestigious and exclusive.

Whereas mass retailers would likely select a standard size to print highly affordable catalogs at scale and distribute cost-effectively.

Key Technical Specifications Influencing Catalog Printing

When determining your catalog’s specifications and final format, three primary factors come into play:

1. Available Sheet Sizes

The production expenses directly correlate with how many catalog pages fit on a single paper sheet size. Catalog page layouts arrange based on printing sheet dimensions to minimize waste.

Common sheet sizes include:

  • 60 x 84 cm
  • 60 x 90 cm
  • 64 x 90 cm
  • 70 x 100 cm

Custom sheet sizes are possible but often more costly.

2. Machine Printing Limitations

Presses have minimum and maximum print area capacities that dictate what catalog sizes are possible. Going beyond device constraints requires manual intervention, influencing pricing.

3. Other Technical Considerations

Additional dynamics shape possible dimensions and expenses:

  • Catalog binding type
  • Paper selection
  • Page bleeds or printable elements near paper edges

Consulting catalog printing experts helps navigate specifications for optimal quality and affordability.

The Catalog Printing Production Process

Design and content creation are just the beginning.

To bring your catalog vision to life, it then needs to pass through a detailed printing process including:

1. Prepress: Getting print-ready files uploaded/prepared for press. Confirming page sequence, color matching etc.

2. Press: Running quantities through printing presses and finishing equipment.

3. Binding: Using stitching/gluing equipment to adhere covers/pages.

4. Die-Cutting: Trimming catalogs down to finished dimensions.

5. Additional Touches: Any special treatments like laminating, spot UV, perfing etc.

6. Packing: Prepping for shipment by palletizing, shrink wrapping etc.

Here’s a helpful diagram breaking down the full catalog production workflow:

Catalog Printing Production Workflow

Seem complicated?

The good news is that as the client, you simply upload your print-ready catalog design files and handle the rest with your printer.

After sending my print-ready PDFs, Conquest handled printing, binding, packing, and even mailing to my subscriber list!

So with the right web-to-print partner, you barely have to think about the production process.

Now let’s wrap things up with some key catalog creation tips…

Tips for Creating High-Converting Catalogs

Here are some best practices for developing catalogs that engage customers and drive sales:

1. Lead with Hero Imagery

Compelling visuals on the catalog cover grabs attention and raises perceived quality. Invest in pro photography/editing.

2. Emphasize Benefits Over Features

Talk directly to customer pain points and position products as the solution. Keep copy conversational.

3. Make Ordering Seamless

Include order forms, QR codes leading to product pages, and clear calls-to-action. Remove all friction from the purchase process.

4. Funnel Customers Online

Add links/scannable QR codes that lead to product/informational pages on your ecommerce site or microsite.

In Summary

Hopefully this overview gives you a strong foundation on best practices for catalog printing. Reach out to discuss your specific objectives and how custom printed catalogs can take your marketing to the next level.

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