Travel, Gold Award: Backroads, 2001-2002

With its vast offering of active vacations, Backroads invites you to take a walk on the wild side. Or a bike ride, a multisport trip, or a cooking adventure, for that matter. Name a destination, and this Gold Award-winning catalog probably offers a trip there. What’s more, it does an exceptional job using the print medium to sell those trips.

The initial lure of the catalog is a strong front cover that captures the enjoyment of active travel. Raved one judge: “Breathtaking! The images are great, and they make you want to be the people in the places they depict.” The back cover also works hard, providing brief summaries of the “Backroads Experience” that customers will find detailed inside. It also promotes the Website and the company’s services, such as its 24-hour online reservations.

What sets Backroads apart from many of its competitors is an impressive product selection. “I never realized that there were so many organized trips that I could choose from,” marveled a judge. Prospective travelers are sure to appreciate that Backroads has something for everybody — singles, families, and couples, multisport enthusiasts and laidback lovers of luxury.

Navigation through the broad range of products is made easier by the user-friendly table of contents in the opening pages. The consistent and well-organized design prevents customers from being overwhelmed by the number of trips. Vacation destinations are arranged according to geographic region, each of which has its own individual table of contents organized by activity. Handy, color-coded thumbprint cutouts take readers directly to the desired geographic sections.

The photography is spectacular as well. For instance, one page on a spread selling a biking trip to New Zealand is given over to a full-bleed photo of a herd of zebras. Romantic copy complements the visuals, making these trips an easy sell. Readers can’t help but be drawn into another world when reading the descriptive copy block for a hiking trip to Norway: “Imagine wild strawberries growing within arm’s reach of fresh snow. Deep silvery-blue fjords bordered by a rainbow of forget-me-nots, buttercups and daisies….” Every trip also features summary information written in friendly, straightforward prose.

And let’s not forget customer-friendly service. Frequent references to the 800-number and Website address, and special offers such as gift certificates not only inspire customer loyalty, but also simplify shopping. Even such information as “what’s included in the trip price” is handled simply and efficiently. In short, Backroads makes it easy for consumers to select and book a trip they’re sure to remember forever.

801 Cedar St.
Berkeley, CA 94710
Company founded: 1979
Catalog launched: 1980
Director: Lee Micheaux
Designer/production manager:
Caldera Design
Copywriters: Lee Micheaux,
Julie Snyder, Valerie Gilbert
Photographer: Matthew Cook
Marketing manager: Julie Snyder
Printer/color separator: Overseas
Printing Corp.
Cover paper: 250 GSM
Text paper: 100 GSM
Number of pages: 194
Trim size: 9″ × 12″

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