Tossing Shirts: Creating the Perfect Catalog Cover Photo

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Carolina Made 2018 catalog cover

How do you tell a story in a single photo? How can one frozen moment represent the rich experience of a brand? Sometimes it takes a lot of creativity and a whole team of people to implement the brand vision. That was certainly the case with the SPARK Publications’ catalog cover design for the 2018 Carolina Made catalog.

Carolina Made sells imprintable sportswear to the promotional products and ad specialty industry. As the name implies, the company is headquartered in the Carolinas just outside of Charlotte—a place where city skylines give way to country roads and blue skies, where a leisurely Sunday drive could take you to the mountains or the beach. So the creative team developed a cover concept that featured a country road, a sunny-yellow corvette ready for adventure and with the license place “CMADE4U,” and imprintable sportswear of course.

For the back cover, we wanted to convey motion—as if a stack of shirts had been sitting on the back of the car when it took off. But you can’t leave that sort of thing to chance. What if the shirts just plopped off in a pile when the car took off? That’s not a good way to display product. And it would be hard to show the license plate with the car actually in motion. We needed an up-close shot with license plate visible and shirts up in the air framed by Carolina-blue sky. That’s where some extra creativity and a team of people came in.

First, we used a leaf blower to catch one series of images of shirts in motion. Then several team members repeatedly tossed shirts in the air for another series of images. The photographer, Mark Hanson, caught hundreds of frames each time. Our creative team at SPARK Publications took a few of the best and created a photo composite. Yes, that back cover photo is more than one image. In fact, it’s at least five. See the videos below for the team in action.

Putting it all together took some outstanding art direction and photography, serious design magic, and flawless teamwork. Contact us if you need the same for your magazine, catalog, or book cover.


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