Indpendent Publishers of SQA Study Guides - Bright Red Publishing

Bright Red Publishing is a multi-award winning independent publishing company which develops and produces high quality Study Guides for the new National 4, National 5, CfE Higher and CfE Advanced Higher qualifications.  We have also collaborated with Edinburgh Napier University to create our unique online Digital Zone to further support Scotland’s students and teachers during this time of immense educational change.

Since the start of the Bright Red journey in 2008, we have:

  • Been named UK Educational Publishing Company of the Year at the Independent Publishing Awards in 2010 and 2011
  • Been shortlisted for the UK Independent Publisher of the Year Award at the Bookseller Industry Awards in 2011 and 2014.
  • Won the Local Business Accelerator: Edinburgh award in June 2013
  • Been Highly Commended at both The Bookseller Industry Awards and the Interface Excellence Awards in 2014.
  • Won of the Stationers’ Company Innovation Excellence Award for our online Digital Zone in 2014.

Our small team of six staff manage all aspects of the business from our office in the west end of Edinburgh and warehouse in Fife. We have worked hard to grow our list of National 4 and National 5 titles and have also launched our CfE Higher and Advanced Higher guides. 


In addition to our great Study Guides for the new exams, our ground breaking online Digital Zone, developed in association with Edinburgh Napier University, has attracted 35, 000 registered users to date. The innovative Digital Zone offers a broad range of online supporting resources to students approaching their National 5 and CfE Higher qualifications. The content, links, videos and games integrate completely with our best-selling Study Guides and the pioneering online tests allow students to check their progress and identify problem areas. This is an absolute first for S4 and S5 students approaching these new qualifications – Bright Red are the only commercial publisher offering this free service to Scottish students.

We are really proud of what we have achieved so far and we all enjoy spending our days developing the very best study material possible for Scottish students and teachers. The great feedback we receive on our books and the Digital Zone makes it all worthwhile! If you want to find out a bit more about the faces behind the Bright Red, have a look at our biographies!


John MacPherson, Director

Meandering through too many years in higher education, John accidentally fell into the world of publishing at the start of the millennium.  After five years working at the educational publishing coalface, he found himself in the role of Commissioning Editor and ready to take on something a bit more demanding.  With global financial meltdown on the horizon in late 2007, he decided the timing was perfect to start an exciting new publishing company!  John is involved in all aspects of the business but probably busiest when commissioning new titles and developing digital products.

John lives in Edinburgh but can't wait to move to deepest Fife and get a dog.

Alan Grierson, Director

After a short, unfulfilling stint in banking, Alan studied Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University before embarking on a much more rewarding career in the world of books. First port of call was the literary hotspot of Edinburgh’s new town and a brief sojourn amongst the shelves of the much missed Stockbridge bookshop. Before long, the bright lights of London town and a job with the venerable Butterworth & Co tempted Alan southwards. Alan became well versed in all things editorial and production and he humbly accepted the promotions that came his way. After a decade of toiling in the big smoke, Alan followed his heart and went home to be with his girl from the north country!

They are now happily married with two children and a succession of dwarf Russian hamsters, and live on the edge of the Pentland hills. When not working or spending time with his family, Alan likes to don a fancy shirt and socialise with pals or join his fellow Tartan Army footsoldiers on their high jinks around Europe.

Rosie Howie, Publishing Manager

Upon graduating from Newcastle University in 2009, Rosie spent two years travelling her way around the southern hemisphere, enjoying lots of sunshine, culture and noodles on the way. Eventually tiring of the good life (and her job as a pepper picker), Rosie returned to Scotland to embark on an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University. Whilst studying, she sold books in her local Waterstones and interned her way around Edinburgh’s finest publishing houses before finally landing a full time job at Bright Red. Four years on, Rosie is Publishing Manager and loves working closely with our authors to produce the brightest study guides around!

To find out more about Rosie's job and her talent for plate-spinning, have a look at her feature article on My World of Work!

Caleb Rutherford, Creative Director

A splendid round trip: Finger painting in Turnhouse, potato print in Aden, paper collage in Gloucester, blow painting in Cyprus, paper mache in Musselburgh, some serious drawing in Dunblane, colourful etching in Edinburgh, nurturing screen printing techniques in Northampton and then back to Edinburgh to dive into the working world of art and design. 

Inspiration, passion, a love of colour and the odd doodle or two are the staples which keep me going through juggling deadlines, late nights (and there have been many), crazy design briefs and fortunately a full work load which encompasses sectors such as retail, private and public organisations... and of course publishing. Passionate about books in all their forms, I have even taken up book binding... who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Sabrina Maguire, Marketing & Sales Consultant

Sabrina comes from Donegal in Ireland and can mostly be heard talking about how much she loves Donegal and her huge Irish family. After finishing her degree in Dublin, she moved to Scotland to complete an MLitt in Publishing. Eight years later and she's still here! A varied and roundabout career ensued which included working in educational publishing on graduation, then marketing for a law firm, event management for a newspaper and for a national charity and finally back to where she belongs - educational publishing!

Sabrina looks after all of Bright Red's marketing and sales processes - this lovely new website was her latest project! She also works on events and conferences, e-marketing, catalogues and flyers, mailings and generally shouting about how brilliant Bright Red books are!