Making the Best PDF Catalog in a Digital World
Here's our recommendations to creating a PDF catalog that shines in a digital world.
Optimize for Smartphone Ratio
It's really important to consider the ratio between height and width for each page when making a PDF. Smartphones are vertical and you should think about your catalog as you would create a Snapchat or Instagram story in terms of ratio.
We recommend a ratio around 1.7. So if your width is 1,000px, the height should be 1,700px. Here's REMA 1000 nailing it.
Less Is More
Coop's agency, Republica, made a great guide for creating the optimal catalog. It's back from 2013 but we still consider it to be relevant. Their guidelines are:
- The best catalogs balance between emotional and rational triggers
- The most optimal layout has one dominating visual element. Visual decoding starts here. If missing, you're at risk of no decoding happening at all
- If you're using more than seven products per page, you risk cannibalization. People don't spend more time because of more products. Most effective: 4-5 clear elements/products
- The most optimal layout shortens the travel time for the eye to reduce confusion and ensure optimal decoding
Always Single Paged
It's important you make a single paged PDF because it allows us to decide whether to show 1 or 2 pages at the same time depending on screen size. For example, on an iPhone, we'll show 1 page at a time but on landscape iPad, we'll show 2.
High DPI Images
There's nothing worse than a product image that's pixelated. Make sure the images in the PDF has a high enough DPI so that when people zoom it's not pixelated. But avoid making a 300 MB PDF, which is just too much.