2023 Digital Design Trends: 5 Tips to Building the Perfect Catalog Strategy

We see a lot of catalogs here at ZOOMcatalog. It’s sort of our job. We see tons of innovative creations from all manner of promotional products suppliers, and that means we also get sneak previews of industry catalog strategies and popular trends.

Today, we’re sharing some of that insider info to help you build your perfect digital catalog strategy for 2023. We’ve highlighted our top five tips for innovative catalog strategies and included examples to inspire your digital transformation. 

Let’s get started!

1. Design for a Hybrid World

As we pull ourselves out of the pandemic times, we’re going back to the office to find that work has changed. If we’re no longer 100% working from home (and many of us still are), then we’re finding more and more hybrid options out there. Without one physical place to be Monday through Friday, our “offices” need to stay mobile. 

With a pseudo-nomadic work lifestyle, you don’t want to be at home and realize you left that catalog in your office filing cabinet (or vice versa). That’s why it’s vital that we design our catalogs for digital first. After all, the cloud is just a web browser away!

When you’re laying out your pages, think about how they’ll look on laptop screens, tablets, and phones. That way, distributors will always have on-the-go access to your catalogs, no matter where they’re working.


AdNARt’s catalogs feature big, splashy pages that really come alive regardless of the screen you’re viewing them on. Big or small, their designs make an impression, and what’s more, they take advantage of video too. Check out their latest holiday gift guide for a taste of their design sense.

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2. Breakout Catalogs Are Key

Suppliers have evolved beyond big book catalogs. While there is still a place for full-line catalogs, smaller breakouts or “lookbooks” allow you to highlight your new products and focus on what’s selling right now as well as niche markets and trends. Thanks to the speed and affordability of digital catalogs, there’s no reason to chain yourself to a doorstopper. Smaller, seasonal breakout books, category-specific catalogs focused on a particular product or group of products, and vertical market-specific catalogs allow you to keep your marketing fresh and focus your sales efforts on the categories your customers care about most.


PCNA has changed the way they think about catalogs. Instead of one huge catalog once a year, they’re releasing smaller, focused books every couple of months and combining those with landing pages and customization tools to help their customers sell. Check out all of PCNA’s available catalogs here.

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3. Add Links and Interactivity

It’s the 21st century. If you’re not designing interaction into your catalogs you’re designing in the past. Links to external sites provide more information than you could ever fit on a page – and they can remove friction in the buying process at the same time. 

And let’s not forget a hyperlinked table of contents and/or index. It’s a simple thing, but it exponentially improves the usability of your catalog.

EXAMPLE: alphabroder

alphabroder has reimagined the digital catalog cover page and taken advantage of hyperlinks to create one of the most attractive, interactive table of contents we’ve ever seen. Each product on their cover – yes, their COVER – is linked to the product inside the book. Not only is it attractive, but it’s also functional!

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4. Video Grabs Attention and Keeps It

When it comes to marketing and sales, amazing images are life. Effective marketing relies on strong storytelling. Nothing relays a story faster or with more power than a good lifestyle photo. 

Photos aren’t the only way to tell your story, though. With enhanced digital catalogs, you can embed videos, expanding your customers’ digital experience beyond the page. For a deeper dive into video, check out “How to Create Videos & Grow Sales.”

EXAMPLE: Hit Promo

Hit shows off how easy it is to create box kits with an embedded video right in their digital catalog. This one works well because it not only shows off their services, but it also provides the viewer with knowledge they can implement right away. Check out their full catalog here.

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5. Customizable Tools Are Essential

Your catalogs are tools that will help your clients sell more products. With that in mind, you should design with an eye toward customization. Start with the cover by leaving white space for distributor and end-buyer logos. From there, consider the content inside your catalog. Don’t overload it with logos, your website URL, and your contact information. Give them space to add their own. Thanks to recent technological advances, the options for customization go above and beyond putting a different name on the cover.

Our team has been listening to industry professionals for over a decade, and we’ve taken that research and created ZOOMstudio. ZOOMstudio goes beyond rebranding a catalog or flyer and allows suppliers and distributors to build custom presentations, lookbooks, virtual samples, and much more. The options for digitally customizing your marketing materials are practically endless. Check out “Marketing Tools in a Digital World” for more details on these tools.

EXAMPLE: Compass Industries

With an eye-catching cover designed around white space that puts the distributor’s logo literally front and center, Compass Industries knows how to design for custom. They took the required space for a white label catalog and, instead of using it to make another boring cover, incorporated it into the look and feel. 

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Want to talk to someone one-on-one about the future of your catalog strategy? Set up a personal session with one of our team members. We love helping you get the most out of your digital catalogs.