Natural Baby Catalog, Winter 1998

Bigger is indeed better when it comes to catalog design and trim size. At least that’s what Natural Baby Catalog has found in overhauling its creative over the last year. The leap from a 5 1/2″ x 8 3/8″ format to a standard size enables the cataloger to run larger photos that enhance the detail and quality of the products – helping Natural Baby snag the Gold Award this year.

Perhaps the cover of this edition best demonstrates the power of exceptional photography. Featuring a tiny pair of baby feet with slightly crossed ankles peeking out from under a pale blue blanket, the cover is “very endearing and certainly attention-getting, especially for the target market,” says one judge.

While the cover shot gives the reader a good idea of what to expect inside, the positioning statement – “to offer you the best of the natural world for your baby” – on the opening spread leaves no doubt as to the company’s mission to provide children’s apparel and accessories made without chemicals, toxins, and pollutants. The merchandise selection further reinforces Natural Baby’s mission, from organic cotton rompers and cloth diapers to glass bottles and wooden toys. Even the nonapparel items, such as pine board furniture glazed with an environmentally friendly water-based finish, and goat’s-hair-bristle brushes with wooden handles, “have a natural look to them,” remarks a judge,

The catalog copy promotes the “natural is better” concept. The benefit copy for the toys section of the book is particularly strong, notes a judge. For instance, copy describing how wooden toys are superior to plastic states: “Simple basic toys inspire inner creativity and fantasy play. Gimmicky toys offer a short attention span and a long shelf life.” The book is also filled with helpful information, another judge says, “which adds a `keeper’ value to this catalog.”

Although the pages are dense with product, the catalog design is organized and appealing. “There’s good eye flow and tie-in to copy and prices,” comments one judge. Natural Baby also uses icons throughout the book to indicate product exclusives, “home spun” goods (products produced by a home business or sewn by a stay-at-home mother), organically grown cotton, and green cotton (cotton that has not been bleached or dyed).

Most impressive is the catalog’s focus on the concept of natural products for kids. As one judges sums up, “The president’s passion for the concept really comes through clearly.”

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