How to Make My Own Catalog

By Carl Hose

Any company with a wide variety of products to sell can benefit from having a catalog to give to customers. Producing a large, high-quality catalog can be expensive, but the payoff in sales for your company can far outweigh the expense over time. The Sears catalog, first produced in 1888, has become an iconic representation of mail-order marketing. The potential income and advertisement benefits generated by catalogs placed in offices or delivered to existing customers is too great to pass up. Learn how to make your own catalog for your business that allows you to take advantage of a market you may not reach otherwise.

Things You'll Need

  • Desktop publishing software
  • Camera
  • Scanner
  • Printer

Step 1

Design your catalog. Determine which of your products it will feature, whether it will be primarily color and glossy, and how big you want it. Take into consideration that printing a thick, full-color glossy catalog will be expensive.

Step 2

Write product descriptions and photograph the products you'll include in your catalog. Consider using one of your most popular items for the cover of the catalog, along with your prominently displayed company logo. Product descriptions should be short and to the point. Include item numbers for easy reference and prices for each item. The front or back page of the catalog should include easy-to-find contact information for your customers as well as a full description of return policies.

Step 3

Scan your product images into the computer, and use desktop publishing software to lay out your catalog. Microsoft Publisher and Adobe PageMaker are two big-name programs for accomplishing this. You can also use PagePlus, which is free desktop publishing software from Serif (see Resources below). Desktop publishing software helps you to lay out text and graphics for catalogs easily.

Step 4

Save your completed catalog as an Adobe PDF (portable document file). This is the file you will use to print your catalog. You can take your file to a local printer that may offer you a discount on large print runs, but the better option might be to take advantage of print on demand, which allows you to print smaller runs at a fraction of the cost of traditional printing avenues. There are a number of POD printers online that do good work (see Resources below).