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What is a print catalogue?

A print catalogue, unlike a brochure, is a comprehensive listing of products enabling a user/reader to easily find an item of interest, normally with some supporting information.

What is the purpose of a Print Catalogue?

Although the catalogue promotes the organisation it is from, its prime purpose is to engage the reader and influence a buying decision.  Often a product is shown in the catalogue with, for example, a short description, product code, pack size, available quantities and, sometimes, pricing details.

Catalogue Design

Because of the specific objectives of a catalogue its design is crucial.  Many catalogues are ‘over designed’ to the extent that it can be difficult for a reader to easily assimilate the information portrayed.  A logical layout is essential with each section clearly defined by colour.  Pages should be of uniform appearance with consistent use of fonts and point sizes along with easy-read bands.  Contact details should be made clear on each page.  Where possible, the opportunity should be made to cross-sell and up-sell products.


Depending upon the quantity required and the degree of customisation, the catalogue will be printed digitally, by offset litho or, if a long run, web offset.  Consideration should be given to the weights of paper and board to be used, finishes such as lamination and how the catalogue is to be bound.  All will have an effect on the final outcome.  Prior to print production though, it’s crucial to see a proof for final checking.

Quantity: How many Catalogues should I get printed?

Consideration must be given to how many will be used over a given time period.  Think about product changes and when they’re likely to occur.  Using an edition number, rather than a date, to ensure the catalogue will not appear out of date if the year is not printed on the cover.  Look at channels of distribution and how many will be used in each.  Examples of such channels include direct mail, direct sales force, branch outlets or dealers.

The Cost of Catalogue Printing

Cost per unit is governed by quantity printed but it is a false economy to print more than is required only to discard them later.  Request costs for several print quantities and then decide what is likely to be most economic.


After the catalogues have been printed it is possible to have them mailed out directly to customers or prospects.  This can be really beneficial if, say, an offer is included to entice customers to buy before a cut-off date.

Counter display cartons

If catalogues are being displayed in dealer outlets then consider a combined carrier carton with counter display unit as shown below.

Carrier Carton Display Unit for Print Catalogues

For further information about catalogue production, please check out our personalised catalogue printing services page. You can also call our catalogue expert Martin Bender on 020 8391 3001 about how we can assist you today or fill out a quote request form here.