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Catalog types

When it comes to displaying one’s creation as a creator of a product, there are different ways to attract people to buy what one owns and makes. While some go for advertisements, billboards and mass/niche marketing, others go for more ‘selective’ methods of marketing their products so that only those who are interested in a specific product or goods get to see and maybe, purchase the product(s) put on hold.

This is where the importance of catalogs comes in. A catalog is, essentially, a "look book" of sorts to give potential buyers an idea of the product that the seller/creator is trying to sell. This may be made in order to attract people to buy paintings or catalogs may be used in order to inform people of certain problems that are present in various countries around the world. The thing about catalogs is that over the passage of time different kinds of catalogs have come to exist and each one of them is useful to a creator or organization in a different way. How effective these are is dependent upon how well they are put together and how the products/problems are displayed when one seeks to convey a message to people or to buy a product.

This is where the types of catalogs play an important role. Each type caters to people in different ways and every one of them is used in a different way though the purpose is the same: to attract people or to inform them of the existence of certain issues.

Auction catalogs are those that show/list the different products and lots of products that have been sold at auctions in the past, present and those that may be sold in the future. These are made by auction house that hold these auctions for a particular kind of clientele. Some may want to sell high-priced products which are of great value such as unique cutlery and/or china, models of cars, certain types of furniture and such like. These are quite expensive to publish and are no different than art catalogs.

The auction house may publish the catalog and explain the worth and cost of products to clients so that they bid on it accordingly. These provide a great deal of information to researchers and to those interested in buying certain products. The year of creation of the product, its prices and the reason due to which it was made may be mentioned. This is typically where art galleries are concerned.

Then there are catalog raisonnés which are made to ‘document’ and explain every work of the artist. These catalogs are made by experts and a lot of research is carried out in order to make such a catalog. Usually these catalogs consist of four main elements regarding the product: size, origin/source, condition and external publications which have written about or have depicted the product. Photographs and scans are typical features of these catalogs.

At the end of the day these guys are trying to attract people by putting various works of art together. That is why such catalogs will often include some biographical details regarding the painting, the artist’s signature which may have evolved over the years and all the work the artist has done to date. If the artist has done a lot of work or has managed to have a productive output, one could put together volumes of catalogs, literally!

Collection catalogs is another type of catalog that is put together to attract people to goods at museums. These are also referred to as inventories. Such catalogs explain the worth of a product. In addition to this they also explain how a creator of a product came up with a concept (for example, how the Wright brothers thought of coming up with a vehicle that would fly). Nowadays these are computerized too though the thing about these catalogs is that one actually needs to be present at a museum (or similar institution) to see the catalog.

Museums may put different pieces and/or collections together in an inventory by creating certain categories. For example, they may put products such as aeroplanes, trains and cars under the "vehicles" section to separate them from other products shown in the catalog. Or they may separate these products according to the era that they were made in. Perhaps certain products may be shown in the "European Art" section while another kind of product(s) may be shown under a different heading/section.

Fortunately one can always find such catalogs/inventories online. If you’re a tourist wanting to check out certain museums, these inventories would provide you with all the information you need regarding a product. However, websites do not display everything publicly. Obviously one would have to go to the museum though these inventories would give you an idea of the kind of products that are displayed at a specific museum. The point is to attract viewers and visitors, not to sell these to anyone.

The fashion industry puts together various catalogs: various models may be used to show how different clothes and accessories could be put together in order to give customers and idea of how one could combine these to create certain looks. Generally these catalogs give potential buyers and idea of a designer’s summer/winter/fall/spring collection. These are what are referred to as "look books". Certain parlours and saloons may put different haircuts and styles together in order to give customers an idea of how they could get their hair cut. One would often come across these kinds of catalogs online.

Various non-governmental and non-profit organizations may want to show people how serious certain problems really are in different countries. This would attract donations from those who receive these catalogs and at the same time, people are made aware of how different countries are suffering from, say, starvation, cholera, HIV, AIDS, polio, and other such problems. These catalogs may even consist of information on how you could protect yourself from these problems.

Universities put catalogs together so that anyone interested in going to a college/university has an idea of the faculty, subjects offered, requirements, fee for students for attending certain classes and the grades required to get into the university. More prestigious universities (such as those in the Ivy League) even take pictures of their gardens, squash/tennis courts/football fields and such like, in order to impress students. These catalogs often have an impact upon a student’s choice, too.

Stores that are selling technology may have catalogs explaining how certain devices, laptops and computers are different from the rest. These often describe the various features of such devices and this way many may be willing to check these out before purchasing them.

Mobile companies come up with online catalogs and compare mobiles produced by different companies with one another. Such a catalog would help a customer decide whether or not he would like to purchase a mobile. These catalogs often list down the features of the product for the customer.

Organizers of exhibitions that travel come up with catalogs so that people in different countries and cities are made aware of the products being exhibited by them. These consist of images of certain products and a description regarding these products too. Such catalogs are often put together by researchers for these people/organizations. Since these guys love to research they would come up with enough research regarding their historical and biographical themes. This is what helps the organizers of these products categorize the products and give them certain themes when arranging exhibitions.

While some catalogs are actually printed, others are available online, too. By way of example, universities and museums have online catalogs though auction houses give printed catalogs on the day of the auction or a few days before.

The advantage of catalogs online is that a larger number of people get to see these and more exposure is always great for organizations, museums and schools. Catalogs that are printed by auction houses are made for an exclusive audience- not everyone can afford these products so auction houses would rather spend money and time making catalogs for those who are wealthy and ready to purchase high-end and expensive products.

Hence, there are various types of catalogs. Though these are used differently, the purpose is the same: to attract people or to make them aware of a certain product/program or problem. The kind of people one may want to attract may vary too. When it comes to catalogs the main thing to keep in mind is the kind of people one would like to attract.

Not everyone would be able to relate to catalogs distributed by auction houses. Some may not have the money or the taste needed to purchase the products sold by the auction house. Others may not understand the worth of these products for the same reason.

However, if there’s no specific type of people that an organization would like to attract, the catalog made for everyone may be the same and nothing may be changed because then the main purpose would be to attract a larger clientele rather than an exclusive one.

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