Catalogue Production

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Catalogue Production

Catalogue Production

The following outlines the production process for producing a catalogue. The first edition is always the most difficult as the subsequent editions tend to contain a lot of existing content.

Here at Grays we have over 20 years’ experience assisting companies of all types and sizes, the length and breadth of the UK with the production of their catalogues. It is always our aim to ensure the catalogues we produce are perfectly suited for their target market and generate both improved response rates and increased order values.

Article Contents

What is Required from You?

The text can be supplied in a number of ways:

1. The best option is an Excel database with fields for:

  • Product name
  • Description
  • Product code
  • Price
  • Any other product related infomation (size/colours etc)
  • An indication of what page the product is to appear on
  • Also, any notes as to whether you would like this product to be prominent (a hero product)
What is required from you?

2. Second best option is a Word Doc.

3. Third best option is to take content from your website

Or a combination of the above, along with any other source

In an ideal situation all the text and images are supplied at the outset. However, it is often the case that this is not possible, in which case the next best option is that the content is supplied a section at a time. The third option is to supply content for separate pages, this can be done but the content on the pages needs to be somewhat finalised.

These need to be at a reasonably high resolution for printing, unlike images that are to appear on a website which can be much lower resolution. The rule of thumb is to aim for 300dpi at the size the image appears in the catalogue. Therefore if you supply an image at 150dpi and we position it at half size or lower on the page that will be fine as it doubles the resolution. Or, if you supply an image at 600dpi we could position it any size up to 200% bigger.

You can go as low as 150dpi without noticing too much loss of detail and pixilation, but any lower will be noticeable. Some companies are willing to live with this if a higher resolution image is not available.

Production and Pagination

This is where you work out the contents; what sections are there to be and what products are to appear on what pages.

This can be done by folding some sheets of paper to create a mock-up of the catalogue pages, then on each page put what is to appear on it. Or you can list every product you require in the catalogue design and then put a page number next to it. Either way may take a little shuffling until you get a nice spread of products on the available pages. Consideration at this stage needs to be given to the product to space ratio i.e. a high value big selling product may get its own page, but low value, low selling products may have numerous entries on a page.

What is Done by Us

Design and Layout
If you are able to give us the content for a two-page spread, we will create designs showing how the page layout will look. The things we would consider before creating the designs are:

  • Your brand identity
  • How many product sections are there and how can we differentiate them
  • What additional information is required, i.e., website and telephone details
  • Is more prominence to be given to some products over others
  • Do we design a graphics pack, (New, Best Buy, Best Seller etc type logos)

On approval of the design and supply of the content we can then begin the process of putting all the supplied text and pictures onto the pages.

In an ideal situation all the final approved text and photographs are supplied correct first time. However, this is rarely the case, and some pictures may need to be sourced and sent later. Also it has to be accepted that some of the text and prices may change before printing. Indeed, some product may be deleted or added to the catalogue. But if as much of this can be finalised in advance of starting the artwork it saves time.

Production, Design and Layout

The Production Process
As each section is completed we will send it to you as a pdf or as a laser print. It is then your job to check that all the content and detail is as you require and inform us of any additions or changes you require. Any pages that require changes will be amended and then again, sent as a pdf or printed copy.

This artwork production process continues backward and forwards until all the pages have been approved and signed off for printing.

On approval of the page artwork all the files are converted to a pdf file format that meets with the printers specifications.

We can then obtain a low-resolution book proof for a final check to ensure the printers system sees the files correctly.

We can also obtain high resolution proofs that show a photographic type of representation of how the page will appear. These may be obtained for a few key pages to make sure colours and photographs are represented accurately. If the colour representation of every product is critical, such as a clothing catalogue, all the pages may be supplied as high-resolution proofs. These tend to cost around £10/£15 per A4 page, hence them not usually being requested for every page unless essential. The printing process tends to take between five and ten working days.

Additional Services

Along with the design, artwork and printing of catalogues, there are number of additional services we regularly undertake, these include:

  • Product photography
  • Product photography manipulation
  • Mailing and postage fulfilment
  • Sourcing mailing lists
  • Organising insertion into magazines
  • Marketing communications, promoting the company or catalogue


Every catalogue production process we undertake is different. This is because we always accommodate each companies’ unique way of working and no two companies follow the same process.

As previously outlined, the important thing is to do all you can to get the content right first time.

For more information on our services, or to discuss your exact requirements with one of our expert design team, feel free to get in touch.

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