A Smyths Christmas catalogue to spark imagination

A creative approach was the request from Smyths Toys when they originally approached us in December 2022. The goal was to create an enchanting experience for children, showcasing the wide range of dolls available online and in-store.

Smyths initially asked us to do a paid pitch. This was to show a scamped concept layout for 3 of Smyths Toys own brand products.  These were Missy Kissy, Super Wheelz and Our Generation.

Here is how we helped create the Smyths Christmas catalogue.

To help bring the toys to life, we developed the concepts.

Concept: Super Wheelz World

The DPS would mimic a city environment, with each toy inhabiting different parts of the city in a logical way (having the toy boat in a harbour for example). The city would be made up of illustrations to show buildings, roads, and the toys themselves with photography children playing embedded within the city illustration.

Concept: Let’s play house!

The idea leans into the child’s game of ‘playing house’ – It’s bath time / it’s play time / it’s bedtime. The design would feature an illustrated dolls house style interior in the background, with the relevant toys featured in the correct room – bathroom, kitchen, bedroom & living room. The design would use photography of 2 children playing with 2 of the dolls.

Concept: Besties day out photo album

The design is based around the concept of the doll being the girl’s best friend who does everything together – and capturing those special moments in an illustrated photo album, with polaroid style inserts used to give a crafty scrapbook feel.

After a successful presentation, our brief was to work with the Our Generation range, creating 3 double page spreads (DPS) across 3 European regions – UK and Ireland, France and Central Europe.

The initial stage was to develop the concept at scamp stage for all the products. Working closely with the Smyths marketing team to understand their requirements and we developed creative concepts that would resonate. We created scaled sketches of each product.  They would be featured across each DPS for each country. Then we waited for approval.

We took delivery of over 100 products. Then we set about shooting each product at the right angle and in the correct pose to sit within the scene we were creating in CGI.

Perfecting the visuals

After the photoshoot, we meticulously retouched the imagery. We enhanced colours, lighting, removing any imperfections to create stunning visuals that showcased each individual dolls’ attributes and accessories.

As we progressed through the shoot, we began to create the final designs for the catalogue to visually represent them in a fun and magical way.

Throughout the process, we worked closely with Smyths seeking their input and feedback at every stage. This iterative approach ensured that the final product aligned with Smyths Toys vision and requirements. It resulted in a visually appealing Christmas catalogue that exceeded expectations.

We were asked to help create several ‘standard product’ spreads towards the end of the project.

The result is an eye-catching and enchanting catalogue, capturing the hearts of children and parents alike. With our approach to design and storytelling, the catalogue showcased a delightful journey into the world of toys. It ignited imaginations and the joy of play, showcasing the incredible array of toys that Smyths Toys has to offer.

The result brings the catalogue to life and creates a memorable shopping experience.


Written by

Paul Grogan

Creative Director

Award winning, and self-confessed typographic and graphic design perfectionist, Paul has 26 years experience in the industry and is our managing and creative director.

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