Once the hallmark of fashion print magazines, lookbooks are a great way for brands of all kinds to showcase their products online.
Not only does the medium allow brands to tell a story – helping to set a particular mood or enhance a theme – but it also puts products in context and highlights corresponding items to drive additional sales.
Lookbooks aren’t just about taking pretty photographs, of course. In order to be of real value, they need to offer consumers a visual experience that is slick, easy to use, and interactive.
With this in mind, here’s a run-down of some of the best examples out there, and the reasons why they work.
Uniqlo’s lookbook layout offers a pleasing user experience. While many examples often require the user to click through a paginated experience (which can result in frustrating niggles like poor load speeds) this one is set out in a uniform grid format which simply involves scrolling down.
The grid format allows you to scan and browse multiple ‘looks’ at one time, meaning the eye is likely to be drawn to whatever the user finds most appealing. There’s no clicking back and forth deciding between looks – you can get a good idea of the entire range in one go.
Perhaps most importantly, each image is clickable, with a ‘shop the look’ lightbox giving the user the ability to add each item featured to the basket or carry on browsing.
The only let down is that the lookbook does not appear to be mobile responsive. The images are too small on mobile, making it awkward to use.
Brandy Melville’s lookbook is distinctly ‘Instagram-like’, bringing the lifestyle imagery often used on social media channels onto the website.
It’s another great example of a fuss-free user experience, enabling the user to simply scroll down the page and click on whatever catches the eye (with pop-outs).
Clicking on an image also tells you the product name as well as gives you the ability to add it your bag. The fluidity of this design means that users are much more likely to add items and carry on browsing rather than stop and move away from the page.
Extra kudos to Brandy Melville for also offering one of the best mobile lookbooks, with its easy user experience seamlessly transferring to mobile devices.
Swimwear brand Triangl’s lookbook is another non-shoppable example, however it is certainly one of the most immersive.
Its images take over the entirety of the screen, fully immersing the user in the brand’s sunkissed world.
One reason I think it is particularly effective is that it is in stark contrast to the rest of the site, where it largesly uses product-based imagery (rather than contextual imagery of models wearing it).
The lookbook also gives shoppers more of an indication of the brand’s wider image, effectively instilling desire for a particular lifestyle as well as a product.
L.K. Bennett’s lookbook approach is refreshing in comparison to the rest, integrating product detail into the main images themselves.
This means that users will only click through to the products they’re really interested in, which in theory could help to further the chances of a sale.
The design is also particularly creative, with images that are deserving of more attention being split into two.
Monsoon’s lookbook cleverly showcases the variety of each new season with the brand. Instead of using a singular theme, it separates clothes out into trends, e.g. ‘floral romance’ and ‘modern military’.
While it’s slightly annoying that each image takes you directly to a product page (what if you want to add it to your bag and carry on browsing?) – there are other positive elements.
The layout makes it feel like more of a fashion editorial, with integrated copy also providing extra information and inspiration.
As a brand that’s well-known for its strong mobile strategy, Monsoon’s mobile lookbook is unsurprisingly good too, allowing users to easily browse and click through to its user-friendly product pages.
Lazy Oaf tends to create lookbooks in correlation to new collections or designer collaborations, such as ‘G.E.M’ – which is the brand’s latest label.
With cleverly integrated GIF’s alongside standard imagery, it’s one of the most creative examples in the list.
There are other nifty features too, such as the ability to ‘love’ or add products to your cart, as well as a handy button that takes you back up to the top of the page.
This example shows that lookbooks aren’t just for fashion brands.
Minna Goods, which is a US home interiors brand, uses the medium to showcase items like rugs, cushions, and other soft furnishings in different settings.
Sadly, its lookbooks are not shoppable (meaning you have to search for items via the site’s main categories), however it’s a decent example of an independent brand using the medium to provide inspiration to consumers and showcase its collections away from standard product pages.
Another brand that uses its lookbook to showcase variety is glasses desiger, Polette. Much like Monsoon, it groups items into different styles, making browsing much easier for people who are looking for something more specific.
With the site’s product pages also using basic imagery, the lookbook lets users see how glasses look when styled a certain way or whether suitable for a certain face shape.
True to form, Cos’s lookbook is as minimal as the rest of the brand’s aesthetic. With nothing but side by side imagery on the main page, there is zero distraction for the user, leaving them to simply scroll down.
It is only when a user clicks on an image that further information is provided in the form of a pop-out window, giving you the name and price of products.
Finally, the option to ‘share’ items is also included here, which nicely encourages shoppers to share ideas and inspiration on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.
Temperley London uses its lookbooks to engage consumers who are eager to get their hands on hot catwalk trends.
It creates a lookbook each season based on new collections, which include imagery taken directly from the runway.
While it’s a bit clunky having to click through each image (rather than having a pop-out ‘shop the look’ feature) it effectively instils desire for the products, prompting users to add each item to their wishlist as well shop the look there and then.
Another cool feature is the ability to zoom in on imagery as you hover over it.