New line, new look at Artville

While its competitors focused on stock photography, the Artville catalog prided itself on specializing in stock illustrations. But after three years of selling royalty-free images on CD to graphic designers and art directors, the Madison, WI-based mailer plans to boost sales by showcasing its own line of photography in a redesigned catalog format.

Artville faces stiff competition in the stock photo market, with established players such as $185.1 million Getty Images, whose brands include Tony Stone Images and PhotoDisc. But Cynde Quinn, Artville’s vice president of creative services, believes that her company can distinguish itself from others with the freshness of its selection. “A lot of our competitors have work that’s been around awhile,” she says. “We’ll have 45-50 new photography titles in September. All of our photography has been shot within the last several months.”

To introduce its photography line, Artville’s 56-page summer catalog, which dropped on June 7, led off with 26 pages of photographs. And as part of the redesign, Quinn upgraded the catalog’s cover and text paper stock, and switched to a coated matte finish, which “lets the image shine through,” she says. “The gloss took away from the images underneath.”

Link to the Website

The cataloger’s redesign also includes a URL with each group of photographs or illustrations to direct customers to the complete set of images available on Artville’s Website (

“It’s important that we use the catalog as a sales tool, but we also need to drive traffic to the Web,” Quinn says. “Particularly as more of our customers design for the Web, we need to develop this symbiotic relationship between the print catalog and the site. And we have too many images to show in a single book, so when you request a URL, you may see as many as 100 PDF images.” To further develop the connection between its Website and the print book, Artville will use animated versions of its covers as the central image on its home page. Artville produces a new catalog four times a year but mails each month, with a new cover for each mailing.

Although the company won’t discuss financial information, Quinn says Artville continues to mail about 50% of its books to prospects. But the company plans to reduce the percentage of catalogs sent to prospects, she says.

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