Public expectation today of a catalogue or handbook is of a stand-alone guide that can serve as a memento of the visit, absorb the reader and compete in price with a vast range of merchandise offered in competition.

Whether the guide is for an international exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, a gallery in Bond Street or a mass-market W H Smith own-brand book on Ireland, the fundamental requirements are the same as for the Imperial War Museum. Perceptive editing of an involving text, a design that is conscious of being innovative without overwhelming the subject and the possible production values.

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