Catalogs document an exhibition or body of work. They are a record of your career at a moment in time.
You can create electronic catalogs and/or printed catalogs, but I urge you to consider the latter.
A printed catalog is tactile. It can be placed in a gallery setting and held in one’s hands. It can be sent through the mail with a handwritten note as a gift to one of your VIPs. There’s nothing quite like seeing your art in print!
Printed catalogs can also be sold. However, catalogs are rarely money-making ventures. I encourage you to think of them as marketing pieces and documentation rather than products you might sell for profit.
In order to ensure that your catalog is a lasting document of a point in your art career, see that all of the components are in place.
For a cohesive catalog, focus on a single solo exhibit or body of work. Unless your exhibit is a retrospective, you won’t be served by putting everything you’ve made into a catalog.
- Your name
- Featured image
- Title of exhibit or body of work, if relevant
- Title of publication
- Your name
Flipside of Title Page
- Copyright notice and date
- Credits: Designer, Editor, Proofreader, Essayist, Photographer, etc.
- ISBN number (if you use one)
- Instructions for ordering copies
There’s no sense having a catalog without images! Just be sure that your images follow these guidelines.
- Images should be of high resolution and of excellent quality.
- Images placed next to one another in the catalog should look good together.
- Images should have credit lines. You don’t need your name with every image unless the catalog includes work besides your own, but there should be a title, medium, dimensions (HxWxD), and date (if you use dates).
The written portion of your catalog is an opportunity to tell people about you and make deeper connections. Consider the following sections.
About can be placed at the front or back of the catalog. It could include:
- Short bio
- All contact info
Your Artist Statement can be near your About or placed next to the images.
A Galleries section tells readers where to find your work.
An Essay by someone else can contextualize your art.
Individual Stories next to images provide entry points for readers.
Rather than printing prices in your catalog, insert a separate piece of paper with a price list. This allows you more flexibility with pricing.
After Your Catalog is Printed
Take advantage of your new catalog as soon as it’s published. If you’re hard at work in the studio, it will soon be out of date.
I’ll be giving you some ideas for catalog distribution in an upcoming post. Be sure you’re subscribed (upper right of any page on this blog) so you don’t miss this information.
Have you printed a catalog of your art? Share your experience and, if we can read about it or see it online, feel free to leave a link.