The Age-old Argument Artists Are from Mars, Marketers and Merc
1. Brand Identity.
This is the first (and most-often neglected) information an artist requires. Whether designing a template for a catalog startup or redesigning existing creative, it's vital for the artist to understand the unique positioning in the marketplace, as well as the goals of the brand identity.
As virtually every design decision, from fonts to color palette, must support the catalog's brand, it's essential that the artist be clear on not only the established elements of brand identity but also those elements that currently may be detracting from the desired effect.
Any new goals that have been established to evolve the brand identity into a more desirable market niche must be communicated. The creative voice, the market niche, the target demographics, the strategic agenda and goals ... all must be clearly discussed before the design phase begins.
If a visual identity already exists, create a style manual detailing every possible attribute of the catalog identity. Fonts, color palette, copy conventions, logos, icons, naming conventions and anything else that's been established as standards must be included.
A photography style manual may be helpful, and it should include visual representations of brand-enhancing materials and colors to be used as guidelines for choosing/creating backgrounds, surfaces and propping in the photography stage.
Finally, a catalog's special service attributes should be discussed. When a catalog offers unique services or extraordinary skill or product, the brand identity should build upon these competencies and brand differentiators at every available opportunity.
In the design process, there are many opportunities for an artist to visually reinforce these important brand messages.
2. Marketing Strategy.
It's important for the artist to understand the catalog cycle goals, as well as exactly who comprises the target audience. Different strategies—both visually and conceptually—apply when appealing to an established customer base, compared to when you address a prospect.