Behind the Scenes: The Making of the V&A’s 2013 Christmas Catalogue

As the sun shone down on the V&A and the rest of South Kensington was basking in the warmth of an Indian Summer, the sounds of children playing in the V&A courtyard drifted gently up in the Mediterranean-like breeze to our offices where the V&A Shop team were in full swing thinking all things Christmas!

Our buying team had already made their cuts to the product lines and in their cunning elf-like way had already predicted what would be on everyone’s wish list this Christmas. Beautiful jewellery, clever games and toys, and stunning prints were being delivered by the hour and hauled up to our top floor offices by postmen Steve and Peter.

Sample boxes were on the point of bursting when the Brand Communications team stepped in to get this year’s Christmas catalogue together. After brainstorming and picking up on current trends, it was decided the pages were to be arranged by colour.

Products were meticulously selected, organized and then packed off to our photo studio along with our photographer, Joaquim; designer, Jevon; and Sam and Emily from the Brand Communications team. A little tweak here, a straighten up there, a few products gone astray, and a couple of differences in opinion, until finally everyone was beaming with happiness at ten beautiful photos that would make up the pages of this year’s gift catalogue!

Christmas catalogue photo shoot, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Christmas catalogue photo shoot, © Victoria and Albert Museum, LondonThen to the captioning, and price, grammar and consistency checking. Then the rechecking, rechecking, rechecking, back and forth between the publishing and marketing teams until…satisfaction.

Now for decisions on the catalogue’s cover design. To celebrate our continued partnership with Harper’s Bazaar, we had previously been researching vintage covers and advertising posters from the early twentieth century for a set of Christmas cards and had selected a cover from these cards to use for the V&A’s exclusive Harper’s Bazaar December issue. It didn’t take long for us to decide that the striking design by renowned illustrator Erte, originally for Bazaar’s 1933 Christmas cover, would be ideal.

So, after many hours of hard work from our buyers, photographers, designers, editors, press and marketing teams, the precious finished product was finally sent to the printers.

At the printers, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

And here it is!

We are incredibly excited to announce that the V&A’s 2013 Christmas catalogue has finally landed.

V&A Christmas Catalogue 2013,  © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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