Anatomy of a Project: Criswell Furniture Catalog
Recently we had the opportunity, and welcome challenge, of working with the team at Criswell Furniture on an update to their product catalog. The primary goal was to freshen up and modernize the feel of the piece while still using existing photography. This meant the design would have to do the heavy lifting while still creatively leveraging the existing photography as well.
After reviewing the photography for each furniture collection, it became clear that the dated backgrounds and room settings were the real problems. So our approach would be to cut out the furniture in each photo and do something different with the backgrounds. Keeping in mind we would need to add text over the final photos, our concepts ranged from simple and minimal to playful, and from graphic and colorful to subdued.
Crayon sketch background
Crayon sketch with watercolor washes background
Flat, simplistic walls with no ceiling or floor
Block grid in place of walls, no ceiling or floor
The winner was a combination of simpler, more up-to-date room settings with transparent blocks of color floating in between the backgrounds and the furniture.
Now it was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. New backgrounds were created that corrected warped perspective issues and included more contemporary interior design elements. In addition, distracting elements were removed for a cleaner look. A color-coding system was established based on furniture style and applied to the transparent color blocks.
The Crescent Collection photo used for the opening spread in the original catalog
The same photo with a simpler, more stylish background dropped in place
The new photo with background in black and white; note that the dresser has been enlarged and moved closer to the bed, and the ceiling lights have been removed
The cleaned up and cropped photo with translucent blocks of color added to the background
The final image as used in the catalog spread
The final printed catalog spread
As the final catalog came together, the new spread designs and colors influenced the rest of the book. Typography was carefully chosen to have a friendly tone while still appealing to the upscale consumer. Photos from a location shoot at the factory were placed throughout to reinforce the hard work and values of the company. Overall, the new catalog accomplished the goals set out at the start of the project. But what we’re most proud of is the fact that we were able to breathe new life into the client’s photography on time and within constraints.