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Design Meets Database With The New NIB Catalog

October 24, 2016

National Industries for the Blind's (NIB) mission is to enhance the opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind through employment. NIB and its network of associated nonprofit agencies are the nation's largest employer of people who are blind through the sale of products and services provided by the AbilityOne Program, established by the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act.

The 320 page AbilityOne catalog was very outdated and desperately needed an update. NIB reached out to PUREi to discuss options and solutions to take the design of the catalog out of house for the first time. After reviewing their products and catalog, PUREi determined that their catalog was a perfect candidate for database driven design.

When a catalog is connected to a database source, we are able to auto-paginate page layouts automatically. Once the rules and templates are setup, and custom scripting is created to put it all together, a catalog can in essence lay itself out with the click of a button. Using this methodology we are able to save significant amounts of money for clients versus traditional design & page layout where a designer has to layout out each and every page by hand.

During this process with NIB, we quickly realized that their database source as well as all their product images needed quite a bit of adjustment and rework to make the automated scripting and integration work correctly. This added additional scope and cost to the project, but even with these budget overages, the overall cost of the project still came in significantly less than if the catalog was designed by hand.

The real savings, however, will come with future changes and iterations of the catalog. Simply updating the database and product images for new or outdated products is all it takes. We run the scripting and the updated catalog is automatically laid out and updated. See the results below.