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A university of collections

The University of Edinburgh houses one of the world’s greatest heritage collections and we worked with them to create an accessible, comprehensive guide to their full collection. It was important to produce an intuitive guidebook that didn’t compromise style for practicality. The result was a dynamic custom publication that showcased the unique strengths of the cultural assets held by the University of Edinburgh, and the University brand itself, to staff, students and the community.

View Directory of Collections at The University of Edinburgh

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A corporate gift

The Man Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English speaking world. In 2018, the Man Booker Prize celebrates 50 years of excellence. To mark this occasion, we worked with the Man Group and Colman Getty to create an illustrated week-to-view Man Booker Prize Diary, the first of its kind. Including 51 prizewinning covers, from the very first winner, P.H. Newby’s Something to Answer For in 1969, to Paul Beatty’s 2016 runaway success The Sellout, it’s the perfect gift for any booklover.

‘This is the perfect gift for any book lover. This and the longlist, giftwrapped and sat under the Christmas tree, would be sheer perfection.’

The Bookseller

View The Man Booker Prize Diary 2018

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An educational history

We worked with Wycombe Abbey to produce a richly illustrated history of the school that would appeal across generations. We combined meticulously researched archival images with specially commissioned photography to produce a souvenir that celebrates the ethos and enduring essence of this prestigious school, cementing its importance as an educational brand and firmly embedding a deep loyalty to the school.

View Wycombe Abbey Revisited: An Illustrated History

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An anniversary celebration

The University of Cambridge Engineering Department is globally defining the discipline and they requested a bespoke publication that would expand their brand and engage with their alumni in preparation for an 150th anniversary in 2025. We promoted this riveting history to the University alumni with a pre-order discount and the incentive to have their names included in the publication. Over 50% of the agreed print run was purchased by alumni in advance through our subscription programme.

View Cambridge Engineering: The First 150 Years


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A company history

First established in Milan in 1872, Pirelli now runs 22 factories in 13 countries around the world. This global company has endured and thrived for three centuries and we worked with them to create an impressive hardback that would reflect this rich history and highlight the key ingredients of their entrepreneurial success.

Pirelli: Technology and Passion includes exclusive access to the Pirelli Foundation archives and previously unseen correspondence and interviews. This company history provides a never-before-seen window into the construction of a remarkable global corporation and tells the story of the entrepreneurs, managers, engineers, researchers and workers who all contribute to an enduring corporate identity.

View Pirelli: Technology and Passion

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A career portrait

We worked with Charles Allsopp, the 6th Baron Hindlip and former CEO of Christie’s Auction House, to publish a book that would celebrate his professional history, build his personal profile and succeed as a trade publication, selling strongly through bookshops. Lavishly illustrated throughout, Baron Hindlip was delighted with this portrait of his illustrious career. Our position Profile Books allowed us to promote this book successfully through the trade, which sold out the initial print run and garnered widespread publicity in leading media.

View An Auctioneer’s Lot


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RGS Guildford past, present and future

Under the imprint James & James, we produced the first illustrated history of The Royal Grammar School Guildford (RGS) to celebrate their 450-year milestone. Flash forward a decade and a half, and we have returned to our flourishing publishing partnership with RGS for the fully updated hardback The Royal Grammar School Guildford: An Illustrated History.

Celebrating over 500 years of since their establishment, this elegant version of their story not only benefits from another 14 years of history, but from the advances in printing technology and a fresh approach to design. The Royal Grammar School Guildford was written by skilled heritage writer, and original author, Nigel Watson and considers RGS in its role of Guildford’s oldest institution and an important part of the Guildford community.

These two print editions of RGS’s heritage demonstrate the importance of regularly re-energising written histories to fit with the ever-changing style of communication and textual representation. Originally published with mostly black and white images, this new hardback features illustrated endpapers, new photography and coloured spreads throughout, giving a lift to the archive images on the page.

From a gloss jacket and smaller-format hardback, the story has grown into its larger size with a matt-finish jacket enclosing a gold embossed green wibalin case – an updated design for a fresh vision of the past. We were thrilled to receive glowing praise from the RGS team and we’re proud to have worked with this high-achieving school.

Follow RGS on Twitter @RGSGuildford and Facebook @rgs.guildford

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England’s Sistine Chapel

On Thursday 17 May, the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the UK was unveiled for the first time in over a decade. After a major £11.5 million restoration and conservation project – which has spanned 12 years – The Great East Window of York Minster has been restored and conserved for future generations.

Created between 1405 and 1408 by Master Glazier John Thornton of Coventry, the window consists of 311 stained glass panels. Each panel has taken between 400 and 600 hours to restore and has been reinstalled with state-of-the-art UV resistant external glazing.

The window has survived for 600 years, through vandalism, wars and multiple fires, and we were so thrilled to be able to produce a book that would tell its fascinating story and do justice to the reproduction of such a magnificent work of art on the page.

The Great East Window of York Minster: An English Masterpiece delves into the history of the window, profiles John Thornton and his patrons, discusses the meaning and intention behind the biblical imagery, outlines the conservation programme at the Minster, and considers the project in its wider context, looking at the validity of Thornton’s claim to authorship of a masterpiece.

With brand new imagery, the book captures the panels as they’ve re-emerged after conservation: lighter, brighter and less heavily loaded. Thornton’s true genius as designer, storyteller and leader of a workshop of artistic talent has been confirmed in The Great East Window as it stands in 2018.

Author Sarah Brown is the national expert on medieval ecclesiastical architecture and Director and Chief Executive of the York Glaziers Trust. She is speaking about the book in York on 31 May 2018 and you can purchase tickets here.

Follow Sarah Brown on Twitter @SarahatYGT and York Minster @York_Minster

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Shortlisted for the BBDP Awards 2018

We are thrilled to start September with a celebration of one of our 2018 books, 500 Years of the Royal College of Physicians, which has been shortlisted for the British Book Design and Production Awards. Thoughtfully designed by John Dowling, and published in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians, this impressive, large-format anniversary history is a credit to 500 years of life-changing revolutions and medical innovation.

As we all know, great things take time, and this book was no exception. Our production director Simon Shelmerdine was instrumental in ensuring that the book’s design aspirations at the outset succeeded in the final printed product.

We chat to Simon about the production process behind this illustrated history and the challenges this book presented.

How long have you been working in production?

A good twenty years. I’ve always enjoyed reading and publishing seemed like a natural fit.

What do you read after hours?

Anything that keeps me awake after two pages. I’ll never say no to a classic crime novel.

What was the initial concept for the cover design of 500 Years of the Royal College of Physicians?

From the beginning we planned to create a large-format, landscape hardback that would reflect the richness of the historical material inside. This history needed to stand out on the bookshelves as an impressive publication, while also providing an enjoyable reading experience. It was important to reflect the historical nature of the book but also to appeal to modern design aesthetics and the vision of the College. The book was sold to the wider College community and provided as a gift for partners and friends of the College. To meet these two needs, we created an exclusive slipcase version, which gave us the opportunity to experiment with a bold, sleek design that would work across two formats.

What were the challenges with fulfilling this design concept, and how did you overcome them?

The challenges with this particular project were sourcing the correct grades of paper and binding materials that when combined together resulted in the superior quality and harmoniously designed book, which befitted a history of this great institution. That and working with our suppliers to pinpoint the optimum way (which happened to be screen-printing) of translating the designer’s vision for both the PLC and slipcase onto the uncoated embossed paperstock.

When it comes to the production of illustrated books, what would you say are the most important things to look out for when sending a book to the printer?

As ever has been the case, working to ensure that the images within your files and on the proofs you supply to the printer are correctly colour calibrated, with a sufficient amount of contrast and maximum detail to befit the paperstock you are printing on. Only in this way can you provide the press minder with a precise point of reference to match to during the make-ready process and when the job is run. Also, always write out your print figure on the purchase order as well as detailing it in numbers, to guard against producing far more than you envisaged with an erroneous digit.

What project would you say you’ve learned the most from?

My first! For although it was just a black-and-white monograph for a small academic press, I was responsible for every aspect of the book’s design and production, from briefing both typesetter and jacket designer to cutting and issuing the printer’s PO and vetting the advances. The body text ended up being a little small and the jacket was more utilitarian than visionary, but it was also a lot of fun and quite a challenge.

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The College that left its mark: 150 Years of Methody

There’s no doubt that Methodist College Belfast has moulded generations of notable alumni. A proud collegian himself, author Alan Frame was delighted to be asked to write the history of his alma mater.

To celebrate the recent publication of Floreat Collegium: A 150th Anniversary Portrait of Methodist College Belfast, Alan spoke to The Irish Times about the school that has left its imprint on Belfast and Northern Ireland.

Praised as a ‘beautifully illustrated’ official history of the college, Floreat Collegium includes stories about notable alumni from writers John Hewitt and Robert Greacenm artists Paul Henry and Basil Blackshaw, stained-glass artist Wilhemina Geddes, to actors Jamie Dornan and James Ellis.

You can read the full interview with Alan here.