How to make a fashion lookbook for your online store
Seasonal fashion lookbooks are an advertising staple for most eCommerce stores. Customers are raring to buy new items when the weather is changing, so it’s the perfect time to send them a flyer or magazine with products for the season.
Traditionally, you see these fashion lookbooks making their way to customers through the mail. But when your business is online, there’s no need to print magazines and haul them to the post office for delivery. You can create a digital flipbook (or lookbook) on a site called Issuu.com, where it gives viewers the feeling of flipping magazine pages in real life, but digitally. You can learn more about how easy it is to make one of these flipbooks on your own in this article.
The seasons are changing, so what do you think? Is it time for your eCommerce store to make a spring fashion lookbook?
I’ve gathered together some beautiful examples for inspiration, and I’ll walk you through the layout and style choices being used. Then you can take cues from these books to see what sort of feel your spring lookbook might have.
The first three sample lookbooks below are from apparel shops. This make sense because items like clothing, shoes and weather-specific gear (think: umbrellas, camping products, etc.) are tied to seasons, so they work well for this medium.
If your product isn’t seasonal (drinkware, wood signs, etc.) you can still make a spring lookbook, but it’s more like a magazine of your items that is accessorized with colors and props for spring, like spring lookbook No. 4, below, from Cotton + Steel (a fabric company).
Related: The small retail business guide to spring campaign ideas
Let’s look over our first few spring lookbook examples:
Spring fashion lookbook No. 1: JJ Heitor
From a layout perspective, this is a great example of using minimal props, and very clean pages. It’s extremely consistent from page to page, with the same model throughout, a spare studio, and a singular focus on the shoes they are selling.
It’s not copy heavy at all, so it’s easy to keep all focus on the shoes themselves and how fabulous you might look if you wear them, too.
Related: Best practices for using images on eCommerce product pages
This design uses only a few elements to give it “spring” appeal. You don’t need much, and keeping it clean and elegant is in line with this brand. They use a single focal color (green) throughout the book, in the background.
This repeated use of the green along with white wood flooring and ladder/chair props keep the design simple and clean.
The pages with large shots of the model have just a couple shoes featured on the side, to show variations of what she’s wearing.
Then they added a simpler “catalog” area to showcase many more variations of their shoes.
I highly recommend you use a catalog-like layout somewhere in your lookbook as well, if you have items that come in a wide variety of styles.
Related: eCommerce website design tips for do-it-yourselfers
Spring fashion lookbook No. 2: Weird Fish
The Weird Fish fashion lookbook has an overall styling that is very much like a traditional catalog or magazine you might receive from a department store.
The design is consistent, and very branded, but not as minimal as the JJ Heitor book.
You might notice that they are using one model in their lookbook, just as JJ Heitor did. The advantages of using a single model are:
- It’s simpler to get the shots taken since you only have to schedule one model for your photo shoot.
- It keeps the reader focused. If they switch up models from page to page, it could be more of a distraction.
But you will have to decide what fits best for you. If a key component of your brand is variety of people, then you’ll likely take a different approach.
Related: Checklist for your first retail photoshoot
Another nice feature of the Weird Fish fashion lookbook is how they use a little more variety from page to page with layouts. Sometimes there are full page spreads; sometimes it’s a sprinkling of smaller “in situ” shots of the model outside with the clothing items lined up next to it to show variations. And they have fun extras like zoomed-in views and illustrations of dress/pattern types instead of just photos.
Spring fashion lookbook No. 3: ONJENU
The ONJENU layout is the simplest of all the fashion lookbooks. Each two-page spread features the same layout with different photos. It has a full-page shot of the model in a setting on the left, and a smaller image on the right with a white border. And text is limited to simple wording on every picture that identifies the clothing item plus color and style. This repeats from page to page.
Once again we see the same model being used in the entire book.
If you were looking to mimic one of these fashion lookbooks, this would be the easiest by far. You only need to design two pages, then duplicate them and switch out the photos and names.
Spring fashion lookbook No. 4: Cotton + Steel
While some might argue that fabrics are seasonal, you can buy them to create items any time of year, so I think this is a great example to follow for non-seasonal stores.
One nice feature of the layout is the generous use of empty space (or “whitespace”).
The fabrics themselves are so full of color and patterns that your eye needs a little resting spot around them so you aren’t overwhelmed when you look at a page or a spread.
This layout has the most variety of page styles of all four of the fashion lookbook examples. Patterns, angles and colors are used generously throughout. This makes sense because these are fabrics, but even the styled photo scenes have patterns on patterns.
The image below, for example, has pencils lying at angles alongside pencil cases (that’s a pattern) and then there are patterns on the cases themselves.
Note also how they are taking advantage of the two-page spread width. Pages like the above feature a large image that takes up two-thirds of the space and crosses right over the fold of the magazine.
This works wonderfully in this digital format because it’s easy to view “flat” without a physical fold blocking anything important.
The Cotton + Steel lookbook designers bring the fun and lively appeal of this brand to the forefront right from the get-go. It has a sort of mixed-media-journal appeal, which is probably a big draw for their ideal customers.
Although this lookbook is full of variety, they do still follow a pattern in the layout. They use inspirational pages (with the large two-thirds or three-quarter photos that I mentioned above) showing examples of things you can make with their fabrics, followed by a catalog view.
If, like Cotton + Steel, your product isn’t tied to seasons but you want to give your lookbook “spring” appeal, you can do that by adding props to your photos, or mocking up your spring styling with digital graphics.
Here are some fun spring-themed props you can buy:
Michael’s has an abundant silk florals section that you can always find photo props in. But they also have entire sections devoted to the seasons. So just head to the website, and find the spring section, which is chock-full of decor you can use to style your fashion lookbook photos.
You can pick up some desk accessories in pretty pastels, or beachy items, or choose a more “greenhouse” appeal with potted plants and floral-themed decor.
There are many wonderful graphics and digital illustrations you can use if you aren’t planning to do photoshoots specifically for the season. Snag some of these to decorate the pages of your lookbook:
This watercolor set is feminine and full of soft colors for the season. Your lookbook will instantly look like the season if you sprinkle in a few graphics from this set.
This collection includes plenty of florals and plant illustrations to choose from, plus adorable bunnies if you’re going for an Easter theme in your lookbook.
And don’t forget about your fonts. Here are some fonts that are perfect for spring:
This serif font is rustic and spring-perfect when accompanied by flowers and petals as you see in the cover image above. It would be fitting for a cottage/farmhouse fashion lookbook.
This font is more casual, cheery, and youthful. It would be wonderful for a children’s boutique spring fashion lookbook.
This collection has a wonderful font with leafy bits on it. But it also has other badges, logos, patterns, and graphic goodies to add to your seasonal look and feel. You get multiple resources in this collection, so it could serve you for fashion lookbook decor for years to come.
Related:Website typography basics
Get that fashion lookbook started
I hope these examples have inspired you and given you some ideas for creating a spring fashion lookbook for your eCommerce store, and shown you how easy it can be using a platform like Issuu.com. If you make a solid plan, gather your graphics and photos and a lookbook template, you could have yours published within the week. Happy selling!
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