The design and layout of books is something of a speciality. There are a number of industry standard protocols which require a specific level of knowledge and understanding in order to do it properly.

We specialise in guidebooks for the heritage, exhibition and museums sector and we can even offer copy editing, interpretive copywriting and proof-reading services.

Souvenir Guidebook for Cardigan Castle

We are strong believers in the principle that ‘Every design has a job to do’. When Cardigan Castle approached us to produce their souvenir guide, we saw it as another opportunity to put that principle put into practise.

Great design must always be appealing to the eye, but making the document fit for purpose is vitally important too. So, we approached this project from a different angle. Instead of producing a guidebook in the usual, chronological and data-heavy style, we decided to present only the best of the Cardigan Castle’s stories as concise, standalone tales. Each story occupies a double page spread and is supported by an eye-catching hero image.

This is a great way to present the castle’s history and heritage, providing historical facts and data woven into a story-telling style narrative. That way, the guidebook appealed to a wider generic audience of visitors, rather than the few who have specialist historian interests.

This project has a wonderfully happy ending too. Shortly after the guidebook went on sale Cardigan Castle won the Channel 4 Restoration of the Year Award. Visitor numbers went through the roof and their souvenir guide has been flying off the shelves ever since.

Visit the Cardigan Castle website here

Our guidebook for Cardigan Castle was a unique project. It needed to tell the castle’s story, but be more eye catching and easy to read than a traditional guidebook. It also needed to be completed in time for a very strict and important deadline.

Vickie and her team went beyond the call of duty to ensure the finished guide was not only beautiful and engaging, but also that it was here in time for the announcement of our winning the 2017 Restoration of the Year award on Channel 4’s Great British Buildings. Their unique and innovative understanding of interpretation and storytelling has made the guidebook a great success.

Highly recommended, a pleasure to work with and on our speed dial for future projects.

- Sue Lewis, Facilities Manager

Volunteer Handbook for London Museum of Water & Steam

We’ve done a lot of work for the London Museum of Water and Steam, from designing interpretive panels and signage for new exhibits, to producing the museum’s guidebook.

This project is a digital handbook for the museum’s dedicated team of volunteers. It provides all the necessary information the volunteers might need, such as health and safety information, important contacts, policies and procedures and security procedures.

The aim was to make the handbook easy to read and understand, while still getting all the important information across. We used a handful of clever design and communication tools to make sure the information was received loud and clear – see if you can spot them. The digital handbook makes great use of images, which is fine if you’re looking at the document on a screen. However, some people might want to print a copy. So, we also made a black and white text-only version which will use less printer ink. Understanding how a document will be used is an important part of the design process, and it’s something we think about during the preparation for every project we take on.

Visit the London Museum of Water and Steam website here

Vickie’s freelance graphic design service is ideal because we only need design work done occasionally. Having a professional designer available just when you need them is perfect for us. We know we can rely on Vickie – her work is always fabulous, she’s efficient and meticulous, and she’s really lovely to work with too. We can’t recommend her highly enough.

- Penny Jenkins, Museum Director

Boat Hire Manuals for Snaygill Boats

We’ve also done lots of work for Troy and Jo at Snaygill Boats in Skipton.

Our favourite Snaygill project involved rewriting and designing their hire manuals, which are sent out with the boat each time a new customer sets off on a boating holiday. It contains all the information they need to have a safe and enjoyable holiday, so it’s important that the information is presented in a way that makes it easy to read and understand.

Boat hire manuals have never been produced to this quality before as most companies simply use A4 photocopied printouts in wallet-style folders. However, Troy and Jo wanted to raise the bar with their manuals, given the importance of the information they must convey. Realising they needed the right professionals to do the job well, they not only hired a professional graphic designer, they hired a professional copywriter and a photographer too.

We love projects like this, because it needs more than just pretty pictures and the ability to lay out a page. The information in the manual is extremely important and it could be quite onerous if it is not presented in just the right way. It’s all about the user experience and how they receive and process the information, so the design, the text and the images we use must take the reader from one point to the next in a clear, easy and logical journey.

We decided to use 3D illustrations in place of photographs for some of the instruction pages. This ensured we got the information across in the most clear and effective way.

Copywriting by Tony Jones at 52 Oaks

Photography by Jon Stroud at Jon Stroud Media

Visit the Snaygill Boats website here

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If you’re looking for design that stands out from the crowd, we’d love to work with you.