Volume 6 - Autumn 1998


Designer Bookbinders

A society devoted to the maintenance and improvement of standards of design and craft in hand bookbinding.

Designer Bookbinders is the principal society in Great Britain devoted to the craft of hand bookbinding. The Society is internationally known and respected, and fellows of the Society are amongst the finest exponents of the craft in the World.

The Society evolved from The Hampstead Guild of Scribes and Bookbinders, which was founded in 1951; in 1955 the title was changed to The Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders. The Guild was at that time an informal group of about a dozen practising bookbinders, but an increasing number of people with an interest in bookbinding wished to be associated with the Guild's activities. Thus, in 1968, a formal constitution was drawn up and the present name, Designer Bookbinders, was adopted. In 1981, the Society was accorded charitable status.

Designer Bookbinders has four categories of membership: Fellow, Licentiate, Associate and Honorary Fellow.

Fellows of Designer Bookbinders are elected on submission of work, and are considered to have achieved the highest standards both in design and technique. Fellows are the exhibiting members of the Society.

Licentiates are elected on submission of work, which is deemed to display a potential in design and technique likely to commend them as candidates for election to Fellowship within five years. Their work may also be shown in the Society's exhibitions. The Society is constantly seeking new talent, and promising bookbinders are encouraged to apply first for Licentiateship and then for Fellowship. The Society nurtures Licentiates by providing a regular series of tutorials and consultations; each Licentiate also has two Fellows appointed as mentors.

Associate membership is open to anyone interested in bookbinding and in the arts of the book generally, who wishes to support the activities of the Society. Associates comprise the largest category of membership, with about seven hundred Associates in twenty-eight countries, and with librarians, collectors, conservators, booksellers, teachers, amateur and professional bookbinders amongst that number.

Honorary Fellows are those who have rendered singular service to bookbinding and/or to the Society and whom the Society has thus wished to recognise and honour.

The objects of the Society are to maintain and improve standards of design and technique in hand bookbinding and to promote public interest in fine bookbinding. Designer Bookbinders pursues these aims by means of exhibitions, by the organisation of seminars, meetings, lectures and masterclasses, by publication of relevant books, periodicals, catalogues, and by the organisation of an annual bookbinding competition.

Designer Bookbinders publishes a highly respected annual journal, The New Bookbinder, which is free to all members and which can be subscribed to by non-members. Members also receive the quarterly DB Newsletter, which contains news, business, information, reviews, letters, advertisements, etc., and thus provides a forum for the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information which helps to foster a sense of involvement in a widely scattered membership. Designer Bookbinders also publishes from time to time a Directory of Suppliers of Equipment and Materials.

In serving its commitment to promote the art of the hand-bound book, the Society has a substantial list of major international exhibitions to its credit.

Further information about the Society can be obtained from:

The Secretary
Designer Bookbinders
6, Queen Square

Telephone and Fax +44 (0)1248 602591


Skin Deep - Volume 6 - Autumn 1998

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