Catalogues typically fall in to one of two layout types – flow-based or grid-based. While many catalogue characteristics are common to both types, there are some specific (and significant) differences between the two.
This guide has been designed to explain these major differences and to provide detailed information for consideration at (or near) the start of your journey towards creating an automated product catalogue. More information is contained elsewhere in this knowledge base, including a more detailed explanation of the various methodologies for creating the different types of catalogue.
Easy to conceptualise and often much simpler to implement than grid-based catalogues, flow-based catalogues places products (or collections of products) one after the other into a continuous text frame.
Most of the time content is placed into a single column which spans the whole page, although two, three or four column text frames can also be used.
The data source for a flow-based catalogue is often very simple – a minimal data set of basic categorisation, product names and simple product attributes (e.g. product code, product name/description and price) will allow you to make a no-frills catalogue.
Flow-based catalogues are typically used for larger product ranges in a wholesale/business-to-business setting e.g. electrical parts, automotive parts, office products etc.
Note: While the Wholesale catalogue example is typically created as a grid-based catalogue, it can also be created as a flow-based catalogue providing the grid layout is common to all pages.
Learn more about creating flow-based catalogues with our Creating automated content using ‘Paginate Into Text Flow’ guide.
More flexible designs are possible using grid-based catalogues, though with this flexibility comes additional data requirements – especially for more complex layouts.
Grid-based catalogues are typically used for more visually intensive products including retail (e.g. tool shops & supermarkets) and wholesale (e.g. food supplies, homewares, education supplies).
Learn more about creating grid-based catalogues with our Creating automated content using ‘Paginate At Positions Specified In The Data’ guide.
Catalogue layout selection guide
The following selection guide is based on the most common automated workflow design. It does not take into account additional complexity or options available by using scripting or other less common or more labour-intensive methods.
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