Bright Red Internship

Note: Posts will be much more sporadic (i.e. infrequent) over the summer. Working full time + writing a dissertation means that whenever I have some free time, I want to get away from the computer!

Bright Red Publishing are an educational publisher based in Edinburgh, catering to the Scottish high school curriculum. Their vividly coloured, high quality study guides are instantly recognisable. Founded in 2008 by Alan Grierson and John MacPherson, the company has gone from strength to strength, winning numerous awards and growing their list. They currently employ an additional five members of staff.


The internship started in February 2017, and ran one day a week for ten weeks. For the first time, I was exposed to the inner workings of a publishing company! I enjoyed soaking it all up, and in such a friendly, fun (but still hardworking) office environment. Ideal!

The tasks set were tailored to my interests, which was great, but I could also see where I was really actually contributing to their work, which was exciting. I proofread the newspaper supplements that subsequently came out in the newspapers. The supplements covered exam revision in English, maths and science for high school students. Finding it in the local shop was such a thrill!

The Scotsman/Bright Red exam guide for National 5 and CfE Higher English and Mathematics

I did picture research for a forthcoming title, which could be a lot of fun at times (wondering how on earth some photos came about) and frustrating at other times (what kind of photo says ‘this is an example of conforming to a group’?)

I helped update their marketing mail-out lists – in fact I was paid to do this. The internship itself was unpaid but travel expenses and lunch were covered. This was a welcome deal, and fair compared to some exploitative internships I’ve heard about.

I helped with some research into Irish educational books. At the Bologna book fair, they had some successful meetings with various publishers, that might lead somewhere. One of them was an Irish publisher, so I was asked to do some research and put together a list of their titles with all the relevant publishing information.

I even got to tag along for a commissioning meeting one day, which was really insightful. And entertaining!

The atmosphere is wonderful in this office; it really makes all the difference to a working environment. Knowing only the Irish school system in depth, it was interesting to learn about the Scottish system – which differs again from the English system. The attitude in Bright Red is infectious; they are committed to providing high quality books across the range of subjects. Small student numbers do not put them off commissioning titles like they might a bigger publisher. They know that the students and teachers still require the material and guidance a well-produced textbook can offer. Even when occasionally bogged down by copious amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy, their positive attitude and love for what they do shines through.

It’s an exciting time for Bright Red. In addition to their digital zone, they are developing new gaming apps to enhance the digital experience for students. The games will be able to give students feedback on what topics they need to brush up on.



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