An education in perfect cover design

22nd April 2016 / Blog /
Cover Design

When your key selling tool is a catalogue or a brochure the importance of having a compelling cover design can be the difference to a potential customer opening it or walking away. So what makes an irresistible cover?

1. Research the client or product behind the cover brief
To ensure the cover has maximum effect with the audience be sure to research all the key elements of the products and features inside.

We were approached by HBS Group (incorporating Half Moon Group) to create a design for their latest catalogue. To help the company achieve their vision for the design it was important to understand the company’s heritage, brand values and USP.

So lets look at the company behind the cover. Since 1973 HBS Group has grown to be a leading provider of copier paper and educational supplies to schools and colleges mainly in London and its Home Counties. The company prides itself on being the only long and well established family run company with over 15,000 competitively priced products specifically for the Education Sector.

Their motto is A Good Deal. Easier. and this is what they strive for in everything they do. They are exceptionally passionate about customer service placing great value in speaking directly to a knowledge and friendly human being on the phone and also their free next day delivery service.

HBS Group also produces a range of excellent alternative products to the leading brands to help save schools money without compromising quality. These include educational resources like EziGlide drywipe pens, ball pens and colouring pens, Quickstick gluesticks and Durabook laminated exercise books.

2. Compelling imagery
Creating an eye-catching image for any cover is the first most important factor. If the viewer is not drawn to the cover within seconds they will rarely pic up the brochure or catalogue.

With the HBS Group catalogue a set of characterised 3D products which represent some of their best selling products are set against a simple blue background. Everyday educational resources now have friendly faces and smiles to reinforce the family heritage values of the company and to emphasise the personal contact when calling over the phone. The characterised products now become unforgettable and very likeable.

3. A consistent theme and layout
If you are creating more than one cover design developing a grid or template will create a family of consistent designs. Your audience will become familiar with where to find generic information in each issue. A consistent design will also gain trust from viewers.

4. Typography
Ensure your key messages are clearly visible and with strong hierarchy of importance. Use fonts that are clear and legible. You don’t want the reader to struggle reading your best deal or feature header. On the ‘Educational Supplies’ cover the ‘£’ symbol stands out emphasising cut prices. Other messages are clear on white placards, and generic contact information is given uncluttered space on a blue panel at the bottom.

5. Create calls to action
Create irresistible reasons for your audience to open the brochure or catalogue. Entice them to purchase products by creating clear offers or headers to interesting features. Give specific emphasis to topics relevant to your customers. For this catalogue the character products now appear as trusted informers of why schools should open the catalogue.

6. A flexible theme for all devices
Ensure styles and themes transfer well onto a variety of digital platforms and devices, making your offers and products reach a much wider audience. The 3D characters for the HBS cover can now be used for web banners, adverts and Twitter feed images. In the same way as creating a grid or template for the cover, carrying a theme consistently over the different platforms will enforce greater trust with your customers. It will also become instantly recognisable and memorable.

7. It’s all in the detail
And finally, once you have a final design check all the small details. Align elements that should be, check spelling and grammar, check the features or offers are correct and ensure the images are of high quality and the correct colour space.