Lookbooks are a great way to show off the products you offer and
convey their stories. They’ll come in handy at craft shows, to mail out to
existing customers, when you’re pitching to retailers and even online if you
create a digital version. The idea is to take some amazing photos of your
pieces and add descriptions and details about your products and brand. These do
take a lot of work and can’t just be whipped together so here are some tips on
creating one for your handmade business.
We were lucky enough to have Cheryl of Cloud + Lolly share her Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook with us as well as some of her own tips for putting one together. Keep an eye out for "Cheryl's Tips" throughout the article and her beautiful lookbook at the end!
Decide if you need one – as mentioned, lookbooks
take a lot of work to get together so you want to make sure they’re worth the
investment. Consider where you will hand them out, whose hands you would like
to get them into, how they will be distributed and what you would like to get
out of it. If the time and cost of creation and distribution justifies the
outcome you expect from them, then let’s get started!
Set a date – generally lookbooks come out with
each season; spring, summer, fall and winter. Decide when you would like to
send your book out and start setting some deadlines so you can get your pieces
made, priced and photographed in time. Don’t forget that many retailers do their
purchasing months in advance; the same goes for magazine editors when planning
Write your story – what feeling do you want to get
across to the people viewing your lookbook? Write down some keywords and think
about aspects like colors, text and fonts that will help get your message
across. Don’t get too crazy though, you want the images to speak for themselves
and keep everything else complimentary and simple.
Determine your key pieces – these are
the ones that are the showstoppers and everyone oohs and aahhs over. If your
collection isn’t too large, you may want to include pictures and descriptions
of all your pieces, but if you want to keep it simple and your costs down,
stick to just a handful.
Brainstorm your layout – now that you have an idea
of how many pieces you want to include in your lookbook, start thinking about
how you would like it set out, how many pages you’ll need and the type of book
you’ll print. You may only need one sheet, which would cut down on costs or you
may need a small booklet printed and bound.
Cheryl's Tip: Keep your layout consistent,
use quality imagery or graphic elements. Also consider page count. If you’re
just starting out 4 is perfectly fine, whereas 8 to 20 is standard for
established shops/designers. There are great resources out there if you’d
rather purchase a template or a pre-designed layout. Creativemarket.com
is one I highly recommend and it’s very affordable.
Take some quality photos – if photography is not a
skill of yours, you may want to consider hiring a professional. Poor quality photos
will discredit the entire lookbook and your brand. Imagine receiving a Sears
catalogue full of poorly lit models and blurry images. It wouldn’t give you
much faith in them as a company.
Cheryl's Tip: Scout a location - speak with your
photographer about your ideas, or maybe you’d like them to scout for you
(he/she will have insight to what will provide the proper backdrop)
Write out your text – once you have determined which
images you’re going to use, write short descriptions for them and be sure to
include prices, style names or numbers for ordering, and any options that are
offered (i.e. alternative sizing, colors or prints). You may also want an
introduction for the lookbook or each story within the book, an ‘About Us’
section at the back for people who aren’t familiar with your company and of
course, contact info.
Cheryl's Tip: I also like to separate the style names, options,
prices etc. for the line sheet.
Decide on a printer – if you’re going to distribute your
lookbook in print form, it’s a good idea to choose a printer first so you know
what type of files, dimension and image sizes they need for a quality print
Cheryl's Tip: For sharing online ISSUU is a great host. You can publish your
look book online, plus it allows you to share it via email, embed it into your
website or use it as a presentation.
Compile everything – you can either send everything to
a graphic designer and have them put it together for you or you can try your
hand at it. You can use an editor like PicMonkey to create your pages,
combining text and photos and then piece the pages together in a word document.
Start Distributing! Make a list of all the places you
can send or display your lookbook, both in print and online and get starting on
putting it out there.
Check out Cheryl's beautiful work below. You can email her to order: email@example.com, visit her Made Urban Store: www.cloudandlolly.madeurban.com or become a Cloud + Lolly fan on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cloudandlollyshop