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Toysmith distributes a full line catalog for its B2B buyers annually, accounting for a significant portion of its revenue. It's maintained a relatively similar look for many years, and was ready for an update. Let's look at the hand I played in bringing it to fruition. 

Role

Design

 

Agency

Toysmith

Gift Section Challenge

BRIEF 

Toysmith curated and produced a line of gift products aimed at adults featuring light bathroom humor, nostalgia, and fidget fun. The goal was to bring the items together in a section that evoked the feeling of the items' intent- to bring a smile to the face of working adults!

I first get to
know the brief, what the end goals are, and for whom it's created, so that I can understand their wants and needs through research

This was a typical "BEFORE" spreAd

Toysmith Catalog

RESEARCH + SKETCHES 

I've kept a library of inspiring design examples both physically and digitally for years. I started there, in way of research, continuing with visits to toy, collectible, fashion, and home decor sites to peruse the latest way they're displaying product, rounding it out by combing through our print catalog subscriptions. Armed with a Sharpie and notebook, I began my ritual of jotting down lists of necessary components, potential ideas, and thumbnail sketches of possible layouts. I took the best options and digitally laid them out with placeholder copy and photography in order to present to marketing. 

Working with existing photography due to the given time and budget restraints, as well as a set page count allotment and items desired per page, my goals were to bring structure and hierarchy, allowing the viewer's eye to follow the spread's composition from one item to the next. I wanted the items to feel "touchable" with some seemingly coming off the page. Injecting playful fun was key through a variety of cheeky, witty, funny, and/or cheesy jokes and sketched drawings (which were a ton of fun to write and draw!). There were six spreads, each one displaying a different color of the rainbow to unify the items on the spread, letting their color pop against one unifying hue, as well as tie into the logo at the time which featured the colors of the rainbow.

Toysmith Catalog Gift Section Concepting

I always start projects by making lists of the needs, possibilities, and questions, then sketching potential elements and compositions

Partial concepting example

RESULTS 

The new section look proved successful in dollars and cents, paving the way for further gift collections to come. Marketing was reassured that new looks could be tried and trusted, allowing for further exploration of new layouts in the mix. 

1MAGAZINE PSD MOCKUP copy.png
Toysmith Catalog

I'll spend time
testing a variety of typeface solutions and 
colorways- differing color combos applied to design elements

Toysmith Catalog
Toysmith Catalog
idea book 39.png
Toysmith Catalog

Typeface Variations and color way Examples

Toysmith Catalog
Toysmith Catalog

NEWLY DESIGNED SPREAD EXAMPLES

CATALOG REDESIGN Challenge

BRIEF

In 2016, Toysmith underwent a significant rebrand to position them with a clean, fun, versatile style that took a backseat to the brands and products themselves, paving the way for this super paired back, highly gridded, and slimmed down catalog look based on the desire of marketing to trim away the bulk and drive sales through an emphasis on bestsellers. 

Toysmith catalogs in past busier looks

Toysmith Catalog
Toysmith Catalog
Toysmith Catalog
Toysmith Catalog

RESEARCH + SKETCHES 

Just as with the above catalog challenge, I visited a variety of resources to glean any new possibilities to incorporate into the latest catalog look. Taking up a Sharpie and notebook, I began my methodical process of working through needs, wants, and ideas towards a solution. Due to restrictions on time and resources due to COVID, I was again limited to the use of existing photography only, so that heavily influenced the look of the layout. I let the existing company brand style guide heavily dictate the final design.

Toysmith Idea Book Concepting

Partial concepting example

Toysmith Idea Book
Toysmith Idea Book

NEWLY DESIGNED SPREAD EXAMPLES

Toysmith Idea Book

RESULTS 

Working remotely with a team to place product and copy, I created guidelines and a variety of templates to fit the other designers' needs. Toysmith was set for success with a paired down catalog format to build up as needed in the future. 

Toysmith Idea Book Style Guide

CREDITS
Designer - Deborah Davis
Photographer - Jim Palmer

© 2023 DEBORAH DAVIS
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