Winning Imagery: New Rules for a Digital World

When it comes to catalogs – either digital or print – you can’t deny that pictures do a lot of heavy lifting. Effective marketing relies on strong storytelling, and nothing relays a story faster or with more power than a good lifestyle photo. 

In terms of the kinds of images we choose for our catalogs and flyers, there’s a lot of crossover between the print and digital worlds, but there are also some important differences you should keep in mind when designing your digital experiences. 

1. Your Cover Will Pull Double Duty

When customers and clients are browsing online catalogs, your cover is your first impression. Think of your digital cover as your storefront: it has to be beautiful, bold and above all else, it has to grab their attention. That’s it’s first job.

After you catch their attention, you’ll want to make sure your cover can become their cover. Incorporate white space into your design so your clients can add their logo. Don’t forget to leave room for their contact information too.

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and in the promotional products industry, that saying goes double.

2. Focus on the Story

Lifestyle images are one of the best ways to engage a customer. We all know that. When it comes to digital catalogs though, consider the many different ways a client might share your material with end-buyers. 

Are your photos ‘gram worthy? If you saw them on social media, would you share them with your followers? Social media isn’t the only avenue, however. Emails, web banners, text messages, presentations – your clients will cut up and share your digital materials more than a thrifty shopper clipping coupons. 

Photos aren’t the only way to tell your story, either. With enhanced digital catalogs, you can embed videos and links, expanding your customers’ digital experience beyond the page.

3. Format is Everything

Since digital catalogs and flyers can be viewed on everything from phones to desktops to conference room projectors, it’s important to take that into consideration when designing your page layout. 

We generally see three different kinds of layouts on, and they come in both single and double page spread varieties:

  • Square
  • Portrait
  • Landscape

There’s no right choice, but we find that the portrait, double page spread gives you the most bang for your buck. Square catalog formats can look nice in print, but no matter what screen you use to view them, they’re going to be surrounded by negative space. Likewise, landscape layouts can be impressive on ultra-wide monitors, but as soon as you try to show off your catalog on a phone, you’ll be flipping back and forth chasing the perfect angle.

Portrait-formated catalogs, though, look great on phones and tablets, they fill out the space of a browser window nicely, and the double-page layouts can easily be scaled up for presentations. 


There’s so much to learn about laying out and designing digital catalogs and flyers. If you’re interested in exploring more, try these links:

If you’d like one-on-one help, set up a personal tutorial with one of our team members. We love helping you get the most out of your digital tools.