Gold Award, Housewares, Linens, and Furniture: L.L. Bean Home, Casual Furnishings, Fall 2001

What more could a cover do than make a customer wish she could hop right into the photo? Persuade the reader to open the catalog and make a purchase, of course. And the judges who evaluated the L.L. Bean Home catalog agreed that its cover, like the rest of the catalog, does just that.

While the front cover, featuring a tranquil photo of a lone Adirondack chair on a dock over a lake, is well done, at least one judge thought that the back cover is even better. “The real genius of the cover is the back, where a nice assortment of products at varying price points helps customers understand what to expect inside.”

Once inside, it’s clear that the book’s merchandising is extraordinary. Catalogs selling housewares and furnishings are hardly a rarity. But “this book emphasizes the L.L Bean brand through styling and photography,” noted a judge. What’s more, the catalog’s rustic New England theme sets it apart from the competition.

The strong design supports the catalog’s distinctiveness. “The use of full bleed [photos] for features along with crossovers and grid spreads adds to the strong pacing that makes this catalog fun to shop from,” commented a panelist. Another judge added that the design “maintains order and minimizes clutter,” which in turn makes shopping a breeze. The catalog also received high marks for production details such as paper choice, print quality, and use of appropriate typeface.

The clean design is matched by what one judge called “tight, fun, effective” copy. And although, in true Yankee style, the copywriter doesn’t waste words, the descriptions make a point of detailing the benefits and features up front, the panelists agreed.

The catalog’s customer service policies also garnered praise. One judge noted that the order form itself could easily persuade a prospect to shop with L.L. Bean. Readers don’t have to look too far for a guarantee, a toll-free number, or information about monogramming. “Everything for customer service is there, as you would expect from Bean, including a very strong privacy policy,” said one judge. Although L.L Bean is a well-established mail order company, its attention to current issues such as privacy is sure to comfort new catalog buyers who may have come from other channels.

The L.L. Bean Casual Furnishings catalog shows the importance of staying “on brand” when branching out into a category different from that of your core book. And whether it’s selling duck boots or duvet covers, L.L. Bean proves once again that it’s a leader in its field.

L.L. Bean
Casco St.
Freeport, ME 04033

Company founded: 1912
Director/chief merchandising officer: Fran Philip
Designer: Leslie Wagner
Production director: Jason Kendeigh
Merchandiser: Kim Philippone
Copywriters: Veronique McAree, Kate Comisky
Photographers: Phillip Harvey, Eric Roth, Joe Standart
Marketing director: Mary Ann Bradford
Printer: Quad/Graphics
Color separator/prepress provider: Quad Imaging
List broker/manager: Millard Group
Cover paper: 60 lb.
Text paper: 38 lb.
Number of pages: 96
Trim size: 7-7/8″ × 10-1/2″

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