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Graphic Design Book Printing for Manchester School of Art

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210x210mm Books
4pp Cover onto 300gsm Silk
Matt Lamination to outer
Full colour print double-­sided
and gloss Spot UV varnish to front and back covers
174 inside pages onto 130gsm Silk (10mm Spine)
Four colour print throughout
Trimmed, collated and perfect bound

The “This Is The Place” degree show catalogue for Manchester School of Art BA Graphic Design 2024 represents the pinnacle of Manchester graphic design book printing. This case study highlights the meticulous design and printing process carried out by Ex Why Zed, emphasising the unique aesthetic choices and technical expertise that brought this publication to life. Readers will gain insights into the thematic significance, design choices, and the collaborative journey between the client and Ex Why Zed, showcasing why Ex Why Zed is the premier choice for high-quality degree show catalogue printing.

The Best Degree Show Catalogue of 2024

Thematic Significance

“This Is The Place” serves as an exemplary degree show catalogue for Manchester School of Art BA Graphic Design 2024. The thematic focus on contemporary graphic design showcases the innovative and diverse talents of the students. The catalogue’s title and cover art encapsulate the spirit of creativity and innovation, reflecting the vibrant and dynamic nature of the design community at the university.

Styling Aesthetics

The styling aesthetics of the book are visually compelling, featuring a sleek black cover adorned with colourful icons. The icons, varying in shape and design, create a mosaic-like effect that captures the viewer’s attention. The use of a glossy Spot UV varnish on the cover enhances the tactile experience, making the book not only visually appealing but also physically engaging.

Design Choices

The design choices reflect a deep understanding of modern graphic design principles. The decision to use a 210x210mm format gives the book a unique square shape that stands out. The 4pp cover on 300gsm Silk with Matt Lamination ensures durability while maintaining a premium feel. The 174 inside pages printed on 130gsm Silk provide a smooth texture, perfect for showcasing high-quality images and detailed designs.

Colour Palette

The colour palette is bold and varied, with a strong emphasis on bright, contrasting colours. The choice of full-colour print throughout the book brings the students’ works to life, allowing each design to stand out. The use of bright colours on a black background for the cover creates a striking contrast that is visually stimulating and memorable.

Typographic Usage

Typography plays a crucial role in the book’s design. The use of bold, sans-serif fonts for headings and student names provides clarity and readability. The text layout is well-organised, with ample white space that enhances the overall aesthetic. Each student’s profile is presented in a consistent format, making it easy for readers to navigate through the book.

Page Layout

The page layout is thoughtfully designed, with a balance between text and images. Each student’s work is given adequate space, with high-quality images prominently displayed alongside their profiles and contact information. The inclusion of both personal statements and design works provides a comprehensive view of each student’s creative journey.

Binding Style

The perfect bound binding style chosen for the book ensures that it is sturdy and durable. This binding method is ideal for a catalogue of this size, providing a professional finish that complements the high-quality print and design.

Storytelling Elements

The catalogue excels in storytelling, with each student’s work narrating a part of their creative journey. The combination of visual and textual elements creates a rich narrative that is both informative and inspiring. The inclusion of personal statements adds a layer of depth, allowing readers to connect with the designers on a personal level.

Enjoy more degree show catalogue case studies.

Actionable Insights for Future Designers

  • Utilise a unique format: Opt for unconventional sizes like 210x210mm to make your publication stand out.
  • Incorporate tactile elements: Use finishes like Matt Lamination and Spot UV varnish to enhance the tactile experience.
  • Emphasise bold contrasts: Use a bold colour palette on a dark background to create visual impact.
  • Prioritise readability: Choose clear, sans-serif fonts and organise text with ample white space for better readability.
  • Balance text and images: Ensure a balanced layout that gives adequate space to both text and images.
  • Focus on durability: Choose sturdy binding methods like perfect binding for a professional and durable finish.
  • Tell a story: Combine visual and textual elements to create a compelling narrative that engages readers.

This in-depth analysis highlights the exceptional design and production choices that make “This Is The Place” a standout publication. By incorporating these actionable insights, future designers can create their own successful projects that are both visually appealing and highly functional.

The collaboration between MSoA team and Ex Why Zed

Key Takeaways

  • Initial Feedback: High praise for the artwork, with minor issues regarding image resolution.
  • Order Details: Confirmation of the order for 200 copies at a revised price.
  • Delivery Timeline: Discussions to adjust the delivery date due to the time required for Spot UV finishing.
  • Proof Approval: Client approved final proofs and confirmed payment.
  • Delivery Confirmation: Successful delivery and resolution of initial tracking issues.

Client’s Aims and Aspirations

Laura Katie Sheridan, representing Manchester School of Art BA Graphic Design 2024, aimed to produce a standout degree show catalogue titled “This Is The Place.” The primary goals were to create a visually stunning and professionally bound publication that effectively showcased the students’ work. Laura’s aspirations included achieving high-quality print standards and ensuring timely delivery for the degree show.

Questions, Pain Points, and Stumbling Blocks

  • Image Resolution: The initial submission included some low-resolution images, posing a potential quality issue.
  • Delivery Deadline: There was a tight deadline for the delivery of the catalogues, complicated by the additional time needed for Spot UV finishing.
  • Payment and Proof Approval: Ensuring timely payment and approval of proofs to meet the production schedule.

Ex Why Zed’s Expertise and Solutions

  • Technical Guidance: We provided clear instructions on how to improve image resolution by adjusting their size, ensuring the best possible print quality.
  • Cost Transparency: Detailed and transparent pricing was provided, including adjustments for order quantity.
  • Flexible Solutions: We communicated the constraints of the Spot UV process and negotiated an adjusted delivery date to meet Laura’s needs.
  • Efficient Communication: Prompt and clear communication was maintained throughout the process, including updates on production progress and delivery status.
  • Proof Approval Process: A final PDF proof was provided for approval before printing, ensuring client satisfaction with the final product.

Positive Outcomes and Testimonials

  • Client Satisfaction: Laura expressed her excitement and satisfaction multiple times, particularly highlighting the quality of the catalogues.
  • Successful Delivery: Despite initial tracking issues, the catalogues were delivered successfully, and the client confirmed they looked great.
  • Future Collaboration: Laura indicated a strong likelihood of returning for future projects, praising the overall experience.
  • Experience: Highlighting our extensive experience in producing high-quality degree show catalogues.
  • Expertise: Demonstrating technical knowledge and the ability to provide practical solutions.
  • Authoritativeness: Establishing credibility through clear, professional communication and successful project outcomes.
  • Trustworthiness: Ensuring transparent pricing, timely updates, and delivering as promised.

The Graphic Design Students’ Print Journey

Initial Communication and Feedback

The interaction began with high praise from Ex Why Zed for the design of the catalogue, noting it as the best seen so far that year. However, a few low-resolution images were identified, and solutions were offered to improve their quality.

Adjusting Delivery Dates

Due to the tight deadline and the time required for the Spot UV process, Ex Why Zed communicated the impossibility of the initial requested delivery date. After negotiating and confirming new timelines, the production moved forward.

Proof Approval and Payment

Final proofs were sent to Laura, who approved them promptly. Payment was confirmed, and the order proceeded to production.

Successful Delivery and Resolution

The catalogues were dispatched and delivered successfully, although there were initial tracking issues. Laura managed to locate the catalogues and expressed her satisfaction with the final product. Ex Why Zed committed to promoting the project on their social media, further supporting the client’s success.

The collaboration between Laura Katie Sheridan and Ex Why Zed was marked by effective communication, problem-solving, and mutual satisfaction, showcasing Ex Why Zed’s commitment to quality and customer service.


The “This Is The Place” catalogue stands as a testament to the collaborative effort and dedication to quality between Manchester School of Art and Ex Why Zed. The thoughtful design choices, such as the bold colour palette, sleek typography, and tactile finishes, combined with Ex Why Zed’s technical expertise, resulted in a stunning publication. The successful resolution of challenges like image resolution and tight deadlines further illustrates Ex Why Zed’s commitment to excellence. This project not only highlights the talents of the students but also reinforces Ex Why Zed’s reputation as a leader in Manchester graphic design book printing.

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We hope you find this case study inspirational.

For more information on this book or to discuss your upcoming project, do get in touch on:
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Brilliant communication from start to finish. Mike had endless patience for the many questions we asked. The guides provided were easy to follow and super helpful (the video guides are a must watch too). Our order of hardback illustrated children's books was delivered expertly packaged and on time. As for the finished product itself - stunning - a real joy to finally hold, beautifully made and perfectly printed! We couldn't have asked for more. Well, we did - we instantly placed an order for paperback children's colouring books too, which we are equally as happy with. Look forward to working with Ex Why Zed again in the future.
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