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Degree Show Catalogue Printing

We specialise in printing degree show catalogues for the top art and design colleges that are eye-catching, creative and memorable.
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Print a stunning catalogue to showcase your Class of 2024!

We know that behind every Degree Show Catalogue is a group of creative, innovative students keen to showcase their work in a unique and professional way. With the aim of each publication to attract the attention of potential employers, Ex Why Zed has earned a reputation for printing boundary pushing books that challenge convention and are eye catching to the audience. Our experience and knowledge of BA and MA Degree Show Catalogue printing means we can help and advise you to pick the right stock, finishes and format to match your inspiration.

Over the years we have printed degree show catalogues for all of the top universities from Falmouth right down in the south west up to Glasgow in Scotland.  The world class London colleges including UAL, Goldsmiths, RCA and Ravensbourne regularly use Ex Why Zed as well as many provincial art courses including MMU, BCU, Lincoln, Coventry and Loughborough.

Here are just some of the colleges we print for each year:


Enjoy our feature-length, degree show video guide

This guide will form an invaluable companion during your group meetings. At Ex Why Zed we have printed a lot of final catalogues over the past 18 years so we do know a little bit about what works and what doesn’t.

Before producing this video guide we have literally gone through each and every degree show catalogue we can find on our sample shelving. We have dissected them and pulled out the best examples of page layout and overall design and we really are going to showcase the winning print specs and what doesn’t work to give you a great set of tips and pointers when you come to produce your next catalogue.


Our goal is to get your creative idea into print.

Your creative puzzle is to develop a content and graphics systems structure for the catalogue. The challenge for the catalogue’s designers is to create a clean, clear, engaging layout for the diverse selection of information, size of content and imagery, while recognizing the importance of the book’s overall role to promote the student’s work.

The goal is to communicate the student’s name, contact information, best work and maybe a brief bio in a format that invites a reader to not only enjoy the publication but hopefully approach the students with a view to a placement, interview or job.

Catalogue designers tend to work closely with Ex Why Zed to develop the book’s structure and styling. If you are not sure about a particular technical issue with file preparation or whether a specific idea will translate into print effectively then do get in touch. Our team are friendly, knowledgeable and accessible and we’ll do everything we can to help you realise a great piece of work.


Tips for designing your catalogue

Your final catalogue will be seen by your family, friends and the entire design industry…no pressure then! With that weight of expectation, let’s make it visually brilliant.

Here are our top tips for creating a stunning degree show catalogue to get your work noticed and help you land that dream job:

• Allocate one double page spread per student: Left hand page for your contact details, a photo and some words about your favourite font. Right hand page for an example of your best work.

• Our house papers are the most cost effective paper solutions.  However, there are literally hundreds of options for paper. If your budget stretches that bit further then check out the ranges from GFSmith and Fedrigoni for something a bit different that will leave a mark and get your course remembered.

• Premium cover finishes also add a distinctive quality to any degree show catalogue – choose from spot varnishing, silver gold or coloured foiling and embossing. All will create a striking appearance.

Creativity doesn’t start at 9am and switch off at 5pm so email us your spec or order 24/7 and we’ll come back to you with a speedy quote. You will notice that Ex Why Zed get back in contact with you frequently outside of office hours, not like the part timers at other print companies.

Alternatively simply fill in our online quote form which contains everything we need to know to provide an accurate price.


Finding a winning formula

Beginning with the potential size of your catalogue you can choose any size from a six portrait up to a4 portrait or a4 landscape.

You can increase to A3 portrait (for wire stitched catalogues) but there is a price point cut off at A4 portrait and anything larger than that is significantly more expensive because we have to print it on to one of our B2 presses. So unless you are intending to go for something oversize, best to stick with possibilities that fall between A6 and A4. For reference, A6 is 148 mm high by 105 mm wide. A4 is 297 mm high by 210 mm wide.

On a larger print run, where we might litho print your work (700 copies or more) then 240 x 170 mm is a dynamic and cost-effective size which falls between a5 and a4.

A5 is a definite go-to size for degree show catalogues however. The large percentage of degree show catalogues are A5 and that is simply because it is large enough to include students work at a decent size, whilst also being small enough to fit in your visitor’s pockets when they leave.


Get your print quote

Get inspired with our showcase of recent degree show catalogue projects.

(Real life ones, not made up CGI images of what a catalogue might look like).

Central St Martins BA Fine Art 2009.

“One tutor said it was intelligent and a benchmark for future catalogue design and they all said it was the best catalogue they had seen from St Martins.”

Roseena Hussain, CSM degree show catalogue designer.

Central St Martins approached Ex Why Zed in early 2009 to print their Fine Art Catalogue. After a lively consultation period we ultimately decided that the finished product would be a catalogue that gave a nod towards old school Maths textbooks with Gold Embossing adding a lavish twist. With so many variables involved we made sure the students were happy at every juncture and by supplying sample papers, dummies and proofs it ensured the job matched their expectations and fell under budget.

The winning spec is:

A5 Booklet
4pp Cover onto 380 micron Quantock Grey
Gold Foil + One Spot Colour
180pp Text onto 140gsm 9 Lives Offset
Four colour throughout
Trimmed, collated and perfect bound

When printing catalogues with Ex Why Zed, not only do you get years of experience from our always accessible team, you also get all of the following as standard:
Free Paper Samples
If you're undecided about papers, we're always happy to send out a range of our paper samples so you can make an informed decision on the kind of finish and appearance you're after - always easier to do when you can see and hold the paper rather than guessing over email!
The best customer service
Creativity doesn’t start at 9am and switch off at 5pm so ping us an email with your spec or order 24/7 and we’ll come back to you promptly. When you get in touch with us, you will speak to someone who knows about your project and is super knowledgable about the print process. We are friendly, patient and will regularly get back to you our of office hours - not like the part-timers at other print companies.
Supply your files early and we will deliver early
Submit your files early and we’ll deliver early! Our average turnaround is 4-6 working days (depending on spec and quantity – for longer print runs of 1000 copies or more do allow 8/9 working days please). It is likely your artwork will need a few last minute tweaks – allow an extra day for this. We trust our couriers to deliver, literally, but occasionally they can encounter traffic, get lost or run late. With a crucial deadline looming this can make for unneeded stress for you and us so (PLEASE) build in an extra day for delivery or choose a pre9am or pre12noon delivery slot.
Super Helpful Set Up Guides
Not everyone is a print guru. Our experience has taught us that nearly everyone could do with some advice and direction in preparing their artwork into a print ready format. The skills learnt in our file set up guide will benefit you in future and become a valuable addition to any c.v.
A zillion optons to make your year group stand out
You can create a really unique catalogue for your course that displays the work inside in a professional manner. We offer a huge range of combinations of paper, size, finish and quantity.
Registered supplier with many Universities.
The chances are we have printed for your college or Uni before so we will be on the Finance Department's system. This makes placing an order ALOT easier and saves days and weeks of bureaucracy.
We print Postcards and Business Cards too
From working with other colleges in the past, we imagine everyone on the course might also like to hand out postcards or business cards at the show itself?  We can also print these and are able to offer discounts if a number of students go ahead together.
FREE UK Delivery
Delivery within the UK is free. Yes, FREE! The catalogues will arrive the day after they leave us.


Our helpful section of FAQs to guide in the final stages of your print journey

We have done our best to give you a huge wealth of information on this page and in our guides but if here are some frequently asked questions to help you get your work into print.

If you haven’t already seen it, do also watch our feature length Degree Show Catalogue printing guide.

View all our FAQ's
How do I send the files?

We have a smooth, no fuss ordering system. Use wetransfer.com to send us the print ready PDF and our eagle eyed pre-press team will give it a preflight check. You will then receive a final PDF proof to check on screen and once that is approved we’ll go to print. Easy!

What are the best hashtags for degree show promotion on soical media?

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Why should we print a graduate show catalogue?

Producing a degree show catalogue is an excellent way of giving visitors to your exhibition of a memento to take away. The catalogue serves as a visual reminder of your work that the visitor can enjoy on the way home or with other staff after the show.

Degree shows themselves can be a very busy bustling environment and the one or two seconds that the visitor gets to look at your work on your display boards isn’t going to be enough time to do it justice. Printing a catalogue means they have a permanent recollection of your work to draw back on at a later date.

Where are you based?

We are in England’s oldest town, Colchester.

How do I add bleed to my file?


We will need 3mm bleed on all the edges, you’ll notice at the moment that the artwork stops at the crop marks – it needs to extend 3mm beyond this to avoid any chance of a white border.

The following page includes illustrated and video guides on how to set up bleed correctly:


You might have set this up correctly in InDesign but when you export to PDF just make sure that in the ‘Marks and Bleeds’ menu you not only tick ‘Crop Marks’ but you also add ‘3mm’ in to the four bleed boxes – top, bottom, inside and outside. This will add the bleed to the exported PDF.


It’s one of two things:

Have you dragged the background image out 3mm beyond the black line on your Indesign file into the bleed area?  Try that then export again.

OR you have done the above but then when you’re exporting you need to click the Marks and Bleeds menu, then type ‘3mm’ into the four bleed boxes.  This will add the bleed to the pdf.

How long does it take?

We will aim to deliver short run (upto 500 copy) digitally printed catalogues in 5 working days. If you are going for a longer print run or any bespoke elements then allow 8 working days+.

Additionally there can be a day or two of amends required to the artwork before it’s print ready which we’re more than happy to help with but you’ll need to factor that in to timings. If you send the files to us incorrectly set up for printing, then we spend 3 days asking you to make changes, we are clearly not able to still deliver in 5 days from when you originally sent us the files 🙂

Remember, we’ll need a hi res pdf file with 3mm bleed and crop marks on each edge to go ahead please. Sending it over correctly first time means we can go straight to print. Do have a last check through our file set up guides to make sure all the boxes are ticked.

Why aren’t your prices online?

We don’t advertise our prices online because we prefer to open up a conversation with you and find out a little bit about the project. Your artwork is unique and bespoke, so in turn, we will provide you a unique and bespoke print quote for your job.  I am sure you will take no fun in looking at a boring spreadsheet with rows of bemusing numbers so we don’t put you though that.

Do we need laminaton on the cover?

This video guide gives you a great showcase. The short answer: when paper is printed, the ink sits on the surface. When it is then folded to make your cover the ink can crack. While you should never judge a book by it’s cover, this cracking will look unprofessional. Lamination is a thin layer of protection which prevents the ink cracking. Win win. It comes in matt, gloss, soft-touch or anti-scuff.

What size catalogue can you print?

The maximum portrait size will be 420mm high x 297mm wide.  The maximum square size is 297x297mm.  The maximum landscape size is 210mm high x 297mm wide.

Why do you call it ‘text’ pages? Can I have images?

Yes, ‘text’ pages is our common term for the inside pages of your publication. They can be filled with illustrations, photography, full colour artwork…or just text if it’s a poetry book.

Where can we print a degree show catalogue?

At Ex Why Zed, we are specialist degree show catalogue printers. We will work with your team to transform the idea into print.

Start a conversation today on 01206 766647 or hello@exwhyzed.com

Producing a degree show catalogue is an excellent way of giving visitors to your exhibition of a memento to take away. The catalogue serves as a visual reminder of your work that the visitor can enjoy on the way home or with other staff after the show.

What is a page?

For the purposes of our quoting, we call a page one side of content.  So, a sheet of paper has two pages – a front and a back.  If you ask for a quote for 40 inside pages, that will be 40 pages of content, 40 pages in your artwork file / pdf and in the book 20 leaves printed on both sides.

What is wire stitching?

Wire stitching is a little bit of print jargon for ‘stapling’. If you have an A5 booklet then we print it onto A4 sheets, fold them in and put staples along the left-hand edge to bind the sheet together. In some quarters, this is also known as ‘saddle stitching’. Let’s stick with stapling though if that’s easier 🙂

An advantage of wire stitching (in comparison with perfect binding) is that you can only the pages completly flat with breaking the binding.

What is perfect binding?

The perfect bound method of binding will give your publication a square spine and professional looking finish. It is best for 40 pages or more.  We can just about do it if you have 32 but that will only give you a skinny 2mm spine.

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