The Age-old Argument Artists Are from Mars, Marketers and Merc
Understanding the average order value goals—as well as special offers and versioning—will help your artist create more productive, bottom line-driven concepts and to maximize opportunities to speak more appropriately and individually to your customer segments.
Of all the information, probably the most important to the artist is merchandising.
Because the ultimate task of any catalog designer is to visually represent the product in a way that drives sales, specific and complete merchandise information becomes the bones of any concept or design. Product tearsheets or pictures before the layout stage are essential, as are spec sheets and listings of special features or benefits.
In order to represent a product effectively, the artist must understand it and visualize it. She must develop an accurate perception of size and be able to define what it is about a particular product that will drive the customer to buy.
The artist must then decide on the most effective way to visually represent the product so benefits are clear to the customer, as well as irresistibly motivational. That's a heck of a task, but it becomes an insurmountable one when the only description the artist has to work from is that the product is "big, round and purple."
In a perfect world, every artist wants to have the product in-hand to poke, twist and bounce about the office before beginning the layout/design phase. But often the reality is that the product isn't readily available at such an early stage.
Because there often are special needs or limitations to photographing a product, and because there also are extensive propping considerations to be considered in any full catalog shoot, all product should be on-site at least three days before a shoot begins.
Only then can the artist properly plan the environment for each shot and identify and address any spec sheet mis-implications that invalidate the original plan for shooting the product.