Working directly with print on a daily basis, I have seen my fair share of fashion lookbooks and catalogs. Seeing as Fashion Week is on approach, I thought it appropriate to put together a brief checklist of tips I found to be quite useful in designing a lookbook.
Product has to be centralized:
You don’t want to have your lookbook full of pages that make it hard to tell what it is you’re actually trying to display. You want your viewer to easily identify your goods and not have to spend too much time scanning each page. In checking this, I like to use a personal method of mine that I’ve named the “stop sign rule”. The reader should be able to clearly identify what is being showcased on the page, within the time they should spend at a stop sign. Any time longer than this to identify a product, in my opinion, could cost you your readers attention. If any additional content is required for a page displaying a product, such as text, a rule of thumb i like to use is, that it should never take up more than ¼ the page.
Categorize your products:
If you’re selling different categories of products, make sure they have some sort of grouping. For example, a company displaying hats, shirts, pants, and shoes, should have a method for keeping each category together. Whether they have there own section of the lookbook (front, back, or middle), or are grouped on individual pages, its always nice to see products together. Having similar products in a designated area in your book help readers to refer back to a product that caught their eye, with ease.
This one may be obvious, but I thought it important to mention nonetheless. One of the most significant elements of your lookbook is going to be the detail in each of the products. You want to be sure that you have a high enough resolution on each of your images so that they come out sharp and crisp. At the very least, I recommend submitting files that are 300 dpi in resolution to avoid any kind of image distortion. A misconception is that people think they can up the resolution by bumping it in photoshop. This is not the case. In order to achieve a true resolution, the original image must be at or above the desired resolution.
Feel and look of the book:
When it comes to what type of paper stock and type of finish you use on your book, it’s not necessarily always a “make-it or break-it” deal, but it does make you and your book stand out. Lay out all the content for your book before deciding on its material and finish. Standard paper stocks that you usually see used in lookbooks include the 100lb gloss or matte book for the insides, and the 100lb cover stock for the book covers. I always recommend adding some sort of customization to your book to make it stand out. One option I am particularly fond of in lookbooks is when matte paper is used for the inside pages. It provides a smooth feel when flipping through the book. Although, one thing to be aware of is that images may not look as vivid as a gloss stock would.