Catalogue Designing & Printing: Best Practice Secrets

Catalogue Designing & Printing Best Practice Secrets

Printed catalogues and directories have a long shelf life so they remain popular for companies who sell a large range of products. Consumer catalogues are still widely used for fashion, homeware, consumer electronics and gardens, while business-to-business catalogues are often used for components, machines, tools and other industrial products.

Keeping in mind the costs of designing, production, printing and postage, it’s important to get catalogue printing right first time. What are the secrets to a successful catalogue marketing? It starts with design and production.

Start by thinking about size and aspects. Common, economical sizes which are typically used for catalogue printing are B5 (240 x 170mm) A5 (210 x 148mm) or A4 (297 x 210mm). Do you want portrait or landscape? This might depend on your images, especially the size and quality, but it’s very much a personal preference. The widescreen look, A4 landscape, is a popular modern style. Calico can advise you on what’s best for your products.


Most catalogues and directories are printed in 4 colours throughout, although sometimes a fifth colour, typically a Pantone (PMS), might be specified for a specific element, like a logo, to ensure colour consistency throughout. Calico has many clients who use metallic inks such as gold or silver for beautiful effects, especially on covers.

Branding and brand identity.

Catalogues are highly effective marketing tools for your brand. Newer brands may need to shout louder than established big players, so it’s important to prioritise your brand name and graphic identity. Strong brands typically use their name or trademarks for their catalogue name. Emerging brands must use a compelling catalogue name, but might also want to describe their products on the cover.

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7 tips for Cheaper Web Design

7 tips for Cheaper Web Design

Web design costs can be reduced by thinking through the project from start to finish and preparing as much as possible in advance. This cuts web design costs and speeds up the web design process.

1. The wedding planner

We know what a wedding planner looks like, right. Never without clipboard – or App – unflappable, in control, and just thoroughly well organised. Being organised will help to reduce web design costs. Start with a basic site map (a list of links to all your website’s pages) with a Homepage, About Us and Contact Us, and then list all the products or services you offer. Place them on your sitemap in a logical order, grouping like sections together. Think about how your clients or customers will travel through your website, and crucially where you want them to end up – usually a purchase or point of contact. A good web design agency will bring lots of ideas to the table for ways you can show content. That’s their job. But it’s your job to understand your customers or clients and impart that information clearly to the web design agency at the outset.

2. Picture this: a designer spending hours looking for pictures

That’s going to cost in studio time, right? Studio time can be expensive, so we all need to use it wisely. Images are frequently the largest barrier to finishing a website on time. Get all the images you want to use up front and supply them to the web design agency in a single file, clearly marked, and ideally listed in an Excel sheet or Word document so everybody has the same record. Original, unique images are usually the best option, however some brilliant images can be obtained through stock image and video libraries like iStock and Shutterstock. So start researching as early as possible and give the web design agency a good idea of your media library before they start the design process.

3. Who da boss?

Approvals processes are absolutely critical to completing a web design project on time. Many projects get thrown off their axis when unaccounted for opinions suddenly have to be… accounted for! We’ve all been in this situation, so it’s important to get everybody’s approval as early as possible. Major design changes and upsets will frequently add cost to the overall web design project.

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In the distant past, the fastest way to communicate with business was to write a letter. That was superseded by the advent of the call centre, which at first was a bold step into the great blue yonder. But a million recorded messages and irritating selections of lift muzak later, you realise that all you really want to do is to talk to someone, interact with someone.

When it comes to communicating with customers, both current and prospective, Twitter has become an instant interactive tool that stands out. It’s a very responsive and immediate way to help drive a business forward. Twitter can be an integral part of your business strategy. If you don’t have it yet, then take a look at the Calico guide to business branding.

Start up companies and independent business  can develop their own unique brand persona and show their understanding of customer needs via their twitter posts. Set up Twitter on your smart-phone and you can come across just as effectively as a multi-national corporation. Integrate your Twitter feed to your website homepage and in the eyes of viewers it comes alive with your interaction. It shows there is someone there, someone paying attention, someone to interact with.

When positive tweets are flying into your feed, it’s an opportunity to re-tweet the good news. If someone has been kind enough to say nice things about you, then spread the word – it’s good for business. If complaints from the twitterati land on your page, view it as an opportunity to show how responsive you are and how fast you can act to put things right. It’s an opportunity to turn negativity to positivity that should be grabbed.

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Attract more customers online

Attract more customers online

Whether you have had a website for some time or you are just starting out, unless you put strategies in place to help people find your website, they won’t. Secondly, once they have found you, there’s plenty of digital marketing tactics you can use which will encourage people to inquire with you.

But, before we reveal how to turn your online activities into a lead generation tool, let’s start with your website.

Your website

The design, layout and content of your website is crucial. It’s well worth getting this right, before you invest any money directing people there.

You may have had your website designed recently and feel that you would rather see some return before you spend more, but trust us, you have to get it right. Plus, a lot of what we’ll recommend can be done with just an investment of time and won’t cost you a bean. Sounds good, right?

If customers don’t like what they see on your site, if the page loads too slow, has too much text, too few images or provides no customer projects or reviews – they will leave, never to return.

When people land on your website, it takes them 0.05 seconds to make a judgement about your site. That’s 1/10th of a second!

In a busy, attention demanding space they need to recognise what you do instantaneously, or they won’t stick around.

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How to build a social media strategy

How to build a social media strategy

Over the last few years, social media has revolutionised communication for people and businesses alike. Most businesses now use social media to share content and provide a hub for customers to make contact but not all have a social media strategy and are failing to leverage its full potential.

A well thought-out social media strategy is fundamental to social media success. Failure to develop a strategy can result in a scattergun approach to posting content, wrong channel selection or failure to link to wider business goals.

1. Social media audit

The first step to defining your strategy is to audit your current approach and capture a snapshot of where you are now. This involves looking at your social media channels and recording:

• Followers/likes/connections

• Post engagement – RT’s, shares, likes, favourites & comments

• Google Analytics – visitor acquisition from social channels, blog visits and behaviour of visitors per social channel.

2. Setting your social media goals

Your social media strategy must be guided by goals that directly contribute to the larger business objectives of your company.

It’s common that a business goal to increase sales will be supported by a marketing goal to increase web visitors, which in turn can be supported by a social media goal to:

Generate 100 website visitors per month from social channels over the next 6 months

It’s important that your goals are SMART to enable you to measure whether you’ve achieved them.

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Marketing an e-commerce website

Marketing an e-commerce website

Way back when outbound marketing prevailed, companies used to have a website designed as an online company brochure and didn’t do anything to change the site for many years after.

How things have changed! The website now plays a pivotal role in reaching and converting new customers and a whole industry of UX (User Experience) and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) techniques and strategies has evolved.

For many smaller businesses, the investment in an e-commerce website is a significant chunk of their marketing spend. And by having a nice looking website that’s easy to navigate means that your users are going to buy. If only it was that easy!

CRO is no longer optional, it’s a must. An e-commerce business needs to continually refine their website, understanding how your users engage with your site and introducing tactics to improve conversions.

So, as a small business with an e-commerce website what can you do to 1. get people to find you and 2. convert them to paying customers? In this article we’ll outline some simple ways that you can market your e-commerce site and increase conversions.

Getting potential customers to your e-commerce website

In addition to Google Ads (PPC) which any e-commerce small business should be utilising, the power of social media is undeniable and it simply cannot be ignored as a major channel for driving ecommerce business. Your customers are using social media, and so should you. But it’s not just about being on social media, it’s about using it strategically to engage and attract customers. Take a look at our previous post where we discussed how to develop a social media strategy for more on this.

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Planning your first website

Planning your first website

If you are commissioning a website build for the first time and your job role isn’t a marketing one, it can be pretty intimidating. There is a lot of technical jargon and terminology you may not be familiar with. It’s hard to feel in control of your project if you don’t understand half of what’s being discussed.
So this post is an attempt to address some of the basics associated with a new website design project, to help you feel more prepared and confident when you meet with your web designer.

Your domain name and web hosting:

A domain name is your Web address: You buy this from a registrar such at If you don’t have a domain name yet, you can go to this site and try out domain names until you find something that you like and is available.

A domain name needs to reflect your current business, whilst also giving you scope for growth in the future so do choose wisely. We can help you to choose the most appropriate domain name.

Web hosting

Essentially renting space on a server to store the files that make up your website. We will set up your domain name to point to the files. Web hosting is paid for annually.


Before the fun stuff begins, such as designs, photos and colour schemes, to make sure your website project is a success, you need to be clear about your website goals and how your new website will support your business goals and tie into your marketing strategy.

What are your goals?

If selling online, what are your online turnover goals? Is the main goal of the website, lead generation or is its main purpose to capture registrations for a free trial, event or other offline activity?

Having a clear idea of your goals for the site will help your web designer to advise you on the best ways to achieve them.

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Five steps to great logo design

Five steps to great logo design

It can be difficult to take the plunge, a shake-up and change from the familiar branding you see day-in, day-out. But if you’re a business owner, a budding entrepreneur or just been tasked with overseeing the project; we all have to go through a re-brand at some point – starting with a logo design. This short five step guide is here to help you not be too overwhelmed by this sometimes daunting task.

Everyone knows how important a logo is to a business, but have you really thought about how important it actually is?! It’s more than likely the first thing people will notice about your business, sub-consciously forming an opinion within seconds and what they will remember and associate with you going forward, so it needs to be right and decisions made for the right reason.

1. Do your research and get inspired before you start:

As with most things in life, knowledge is king. As a rule of thumb, the more preparation you do the better the outcome and the smoother the ride. In the time that you’re considering updating your logo, keep a mental note (or even better, an actual note on old fashioned paper or slightly less old fashioned, on your phone) of logos and branding you’ve see elsewhere. It doesn’t have to necessarily be related to your business but it will get you thinking and when you have it all compiled you will start to form opinions on what you do and don’t like. Your designer will of course do their own research, but the more information you can provide and discussions you can have with your designer, the more they will be able to get in your frame of mind. This is necessary as being on the same level is important to a successful working relationship when it comes to design. When a client gives me a brief, I like to think of it as soaking up all the information they give, using my brain as a filter and a bit of a mixer, then outputting the other end in a concise, professional package.

It’s also a great idea to compile you research into a mood board. It will help you to narrow things down a bit and get a clear idea of the direction you want to head in with the designs. So again, if you come to the first meeting with one, you’re on to a winner!

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Time to Get Personal

Time to Get Personal

As marketeers and designers, we have always talked about being in the business of B2B or B2C, this has widely been accepted as a broad mechanism of targeting groups of people. But earlier this year, we came across something which suggested that we should all be in the market of H2H. That is Human to Human.

As Bryan Cramer, the CEO of PureMatter and the man that came up with this concept, says,

“Marketing increasingly strives to become one-to-one, with solutions to collect and wrangle the big data about us to serve up more personalised offers and experiences.”

Essentially H2H requires us all to do away with the jargon, move away from ‘solutions’ and ‘synergy’ and talk to people like real human beings. It requires customer empathy and engagement.

So how do you talk to customers as humans recognising their own individual needs and challenges without increasing marketing resources?

Whilst social media enables companies to share content, amplify their marketing, monitor the voice of the customer and gain valuable insights, its essentially a mass-market media. Of course, you can tweet individuals but to reach 1,000 individuals requires 1,000 tweets.

In the last 10 years, full-colour digital printing technology has developed in conjunction with data management, creating greater possibilities in one-to-one personalisation. Variable data printing makes it possible to create 1,000 unique documents that have customised messages and images for each customer, allowing you to create directly with individual end-users.

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Business Cards. A great start to any meeting

Business Cards. A great start to any meeting


Business cards… a relic of those Mad Men rolladex days, or still a vital part of the marketing and professional arsenal. As a creative agency, we’re obviously biased in their favour, but on what grounds? Surely a Twitter or SNAP ID does all the introductions you need?

By the first introduction, your meeting partner may have scanned your Tweets, eyed-up your LinkedIn, nosed around Facebook, and peered into your Pinterests. So how does the business card improve your standing?

Everybody likes a gift Business cards are the perfect way to open a meeting. Like an exchange of gifts and a mark of mutual respect. They provide a point of reflection, to take in the credibility of the person in front of you. A business card says who you are. How far you’ve come. Junior or senior, manager or director. In our opinion it’s still an important, personal statement.

Their design should reflect the quality, personality and aspirations of your brand. Modern edgy or zany, or reserved and serious, the card says a lot about who you represent. And unfortunately, so do cheap, badly printed, poorly designed cards!

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