The Ultimate Lookbook Guide: From Concept to Printing

Showing your skills or products in a portfolio presents your work in a pick-what-you-like fashion. Portfolios rarely follow an order or presentation format. To truly impress your potential customers, it’s more effective to place images in a lookbook.

Creating a lookbook gives you more control over the order and arrangement of your images and allows you to develop a cohesive, brand-focused design. 

Lookbooks for Fashion Brands, Photographers, Artists and More

Lookbooks are perfect for visually oriented-businesses. Fashion, photography, graphic artists, hotels and other lifestyle-focused brands must present impressive displays to impact their target users. This narrative approach keeps potential customers flipping through page after page.

Print lookbooks offer an upscale, luxurious feeling with heavy, glossy paper and high-resolution images. The cover provides an additional wow factor. Imagine what a customer would think if they expected a cheap, stapled catalog and you handed them a hardcover lookbook instead.

Why Printing a Lookbook Is a Good Idea

Photography, graphic design and fashion lookbooks are all intended to impact potential customers. Here are a few reasons they’re so effective.

Promotional Purposes

In the fashion industry, an obvious use of lookbooks is to introduce new seasonal products, but other businesses and professionals can benefit promotionally, too. Lookbooks can be handed out at events or mailed directly to clients.

Brand Awareness

By choosing a specific outward appearance, lookbook creators can boost their brand image before users have turned the first page.

Fashion brands can use lookbooks in myriad imaginative ways beyond just using their logos and appropriate colors and fonts. Imagine a clothing manufacturer releasing a lookbook for a new line of linen apparel and binding their lookbook cover in linen.

Potentially Increase Sales

Whether you employ a direct mail campaign or place your lookbook in strategic locations to garner interest, you should design it with new sales in mind. Make sure your lookbook contains information like retail shop locations, website URLs and social media pages.

What Should I Include in My Lookbook?

The photos in your lookbook should be high resolution, properly lit and, above all, captivating. You should also incorporate text explaining the inspirations for the images, the season the clothes are for and other necessary information. 

Photographers attempting to get their work before new eyes should curate their images for visual impact. Hotel lookbooks can offer a glimpse of what it would be like to vacation in a certain locale, showing off features of the hotel before branching out into the attractions of the surrounding area.

Steps for How to Make a Lookbook

Now that you’re familiar with the basic utility of lookbooks, let’s focus on how to make your own.

1. Determine Your Lookbook’s Purpose

First, figure out the “why” behind your lookbook. Perhaps it’s to show off your graphic design skills to secure more freelance work, or maybe you want to showcase a new fashion lineup.

2. Plan the Lookbook’s Design

Your lookbook’s overall aesthetic, including your logo, color schemes and font choice, should all be consistent with your brand. Pay particular attention to your layout, as the order and placement of your photos will determine your book’s readability. It may help to create a mood board and sketch out your ideas.

3. Choose Your Models and Photography Style

Think about your target audience when selecting models to pose with your clothing or artwork. You should consider your readers’ likely age, gender, ethnicity and sensibilities.

You’ll also want your lookbook to have a professional air. Use high-quality cameras and compose each shot with the utmost attention to detail. Consider hiring a photographer if your own skills aren’t up to snuff.

4. Create a Compelling Narrative

Your lookbook needs to flow from beginning to end. Write an introduction to give the user a sense of what’s to come and prime them to take a specific action. Do you want them to buy new clothes, hire you to take pictures, use your graphic design services, attend an event or go to your website to sign up for a newsletter?

5. Send Your Files to Print Bind Ship

Print Bind Ship can transform your files into stunning lookbooks. Our expert design team will assist you with your layout and suggest the best printing techniques, paper, cover and other important aspects.

6. Receive and Market Your Lookbooks

Place your lookbooks in your retail space, offer them through your online store, bring them to events and shows or hand them out directly at client meetings. You can also use Print Bind Ship’s Mail Genius platform to develop a direct-mail campaign and generate buzz.

Factors to Consider While Printing Lookbooks

Talk with our designers to ensure that your lookbook has all the necessary ingredients for success. You’ll want to consider the general size, paper type and weight and whether to go with a hard or soft cover.

Tips for Designing a Successful Lookbook

An irresistible cover design is just the beginning — the inside must also be worth exploring. The photos must be attention-grabbing, and the layout must drive the reader forward while being memorable.

Why Choose PBS for Printing Lookbooks?

From the initial spark of an idea to the final product in your hand, Print Bind Ship will guide you along the way. You get the benefit of our expert lookbook printing, design, bespoke solutions and responsive customer service.

New Customers Await, Trust Print Bind Ship to Craft Your Lookbook

Portfolios and catalogs can still get attention, but lookbooks pair branding and quality images with a compelling narrative flow. They’re the perfect way to exhibit your fashion, photography or graphic design prowess.

Get started crafting your lookbook, and trust Print Bind Ship to see your vision through.


What is a lookbook?

A lookbook is a collection of images and captions that showcase new products or services with a storytelling-oriented flow.

Who can create a lookbook?

Anyone can craft their own lookbook, but these publications are especially useful for businesses or professionals looking to promote their products.

What’s the difference between a lookbook and a catalog?

Catalogs are more utilitarian, presenting products in a straightforward, unostentatious manner. By contrast, lookbooks showcase products in a more visually compelling way and incorporate intriguing storytelling aspects.