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What a catalog is

When it comes to displaying something, there are different ways to be able to give people an idea of what your work is about. This applies to all fields: fashion, clothes, brands, etc. Different people and organizations use different methods to give others the gist of their work. While some go for billboards, television and magazine commercials, online messages and newspapers to do so, others go for something cheaper but just as effective (if not more) at the same time.

A catalog is one such thing. To understand what a catalog is you have to think about your product or product line. Every company or person who creates a product may come up with a catalog in order to give potential customers a general notion as to what their product or concept is. The product can further be explained in the catalog. Different companies explain how a product works or the idea behind the creation of the product via the use of catalogs.

Painters and artists come up with catalogs to show potential buyers their past or latest collections. This attracts people to exhibitions and some may be interested in setting up meetings with an artist so that he can buy his paintings. Others may just be interested in the concept that the artists tries to show through his paintings. The painter can also explain what inspired him to make the painting. This is what actually adds to the value of a painting or a picture (where a photographer is concerned).

Companies and people in the fashion industry put together, what are informally known as, look books. This way people would be able to pull different ‘looks’ together by using different clothes and accessories. The use of catalogs in the fashion industry is quite common. Models are used by various companies in the fashion industry in order to show how certain clothes are to be worn. Some may even include the price of the accessories or show how these are to be worn so that people know how to combine different sorts of clothes to come up with a certain look.

Universities use catalogs to list down their requirements and the subjects that they would be offering on-campus. These catalogs give students all the information they need and students need not go around looking for teachers, professors to tell them anything about the university since everything (requirements, subjects, various affiliated programs of the university available in other parts of the world, various branches of the university, pictures of classrooms, laboratories and football/squash/tennis fields made on campus).

Companies that ship certain products to other countries make catalogs especially for clients abroad so that a representative of the company can explain the purpose, use and need for such products. Such catalogs are made exclusively for someone with the intention of telling that specific group what a company and its product(s) are all about.

Essentially, a catalog is something which the creator of a product (or products) puts together for a specific market or for the masses. It enables the creator of the product to create a sales pitch so that he can attract the kind of people/customers/niche he is looking for. Catalogs can be made for everyone, or they can be made for a specific group or they may be made for an exclusive group, party, individual or organization. Who the catalog is made for depends upon the creator’s vision and goals.

Gymnasiums and health studios come up with catalogs so that they can promote themselves and tell potential clients what makes them different from other gyms and studios out there. This may be done by showing the clients that the gym has its own cafeteria, a room made especially for those seeking personal training. Different workout programs may be printed on these to show people that the gym owner(s) knows what he’s talking about and that he knows the dynamics of the fitness industry. This way the gym owner gets to flaunt his knowledge, the facilities offered at the gym and he can convince potential clients that what he has to offer isn’t the same as what any other gym may offer.

Think of a catalog as a silent, yet effective advertisement campaign. What does one do when putting together such a campaign? One would think of the niche that they are targeting. They would spend money accordingly on the advertisement which would depend upon the segment that they are trying to target. The medium used would vary: for example, in some countries where people cannot afford televisions and the internet, emphasis is laid upon the radio and so, the advertiser won’t spend much on illustrating what he is selling. He’d spend more on getting his point/product across via verbal means and methods of advertisement.

Now, compare this with the concept of a catalog: when the creator of a product comes up with something, he uses catalogs to show people what he is trying to sell. Rather than spending money and time on things that aren’t needed or required, one can spend these on things that do matter such as the presentation of the product(s) on the catalog or upon the product description. This would be ideal for someone who’s an artist or for someone who’s introducing a new product into the market. This allows the creator to design, navigate people and come up with a catalog that is solely meant to display his products in a way that befits his taste, ideas and goals.

One may make a catalog online or use printers and scanners to come up with impressive and colorful designs for his/her catalog. Since the main purpose is to represent one’s creation, how a creator puts together his catalog is up to him. Anyone who is interested in selling a product internationally or locally needs a catalog to be able to present his products, services or goods. A catalog would play a major role in attract people towards certain products or goods.

Another advantage of catalogs is that, say, if a company decides to promote a product internationally (or in another country) and no one really knows about this product, one can use catalogs in order to explain what the product is and how it works. This way, more people would be able to understand how the product works and the concept/idea behind the creation of the product too.

Apart from this, various organizations come up with catalogs to create awareness about certain matters. By way of example, the United Nations makes numerous catalogs regarding issues related to starvation and the lack of food and clean water in Africa. Such catalogs may be made available everywhere or in different branches of the UN, in different countries. This method is used to show people how serious an issue starvation really is, in Africa. Though television commercials can be used to explain and illustrate this too but one can always use more images on the cover of a catalog or inside it in order to have the same effect.

A catalog is also a more detailed way of passing on a message. One cannot attract people via the use of television commercials and billboards (which are quite expensive) because some important details may be left unexplained. By way of example, it would take a lot of time explaining why a 5 megapixel camera, in a mobile, is better than 2 megapixel cameras to someone who does not anything about technology. Catalogs would be able to explain this better. Not only would the catalog emphasize upon the various features of a mobile but it would be able to help one understand how to operate it, too.

Billboards and television commercials are expensive since they charge companies (or anyone who uses them) by the minute and this amount is not very small. Why go for something so expensive, when trying to attract a certain market, when one can just go for something that is cheaper and potentially twice as effective. Usually people don’t really care to stop and see what is written on the billboards, nor to check out television commercials because they do not have the time or desire to do so. The advantage of using a catalog is that it can be read at any point, unlike television commercials, some of which are only shown at a certain time.

In conclusion, a catalog is something that can be used in different ways, by various segments of a market though the main purpose is the same: to represent one’s ideas and/or to create awareness regarding a matter of concern. It is a form of advertisement via the use of print, rather than electronic media. At the end of the day, it is a way of communicating with the market and the client, whoever that may be. How effectively it does so is dependent upon how much effort is put into designing and creating the catalog. A catalog can be used to say or explain more than other advertisement techniques and that is what matters: connecting with the market.

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