The Designer Bookbinders society evolved from The Hampstead Guild of Scribes and Bookbinders, which was founded in 1951. Its name was changed in 1955 to The Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders.

Initially, the Guild was an informal group of about a dozen practicing bookbinders, but gradually an increasing number of people with an interest in bookbinding wished to be associated with the Guild’s activities and so, 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’ history can be traced back to 1951, when the Festival of Britain attempted to revive the spirits of the British people after the austerity of the 1940s. The festival inspired many groups of people to take a positive view of the future and promote various art forms.

Bookbinding was no exception, as at that time it was in great need of a new approach and ideas to move it on from its traditional origins, where the output from most workshops, and particularly ‘the trade’, was still mired in the 19th Century.

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Commissioning A Binding

Many commissions that bookbinders undertake are for private individuals who want a unique binding of a treasured text for their own personal delight or as a special gift. What could make a more inspired and personal gift? The pleasure and excitement of commissioning a binding – and the joy of handling the finished piece – cannot be overestimated. When you own a fine binding, you have a book that has been painstakingly executed by a highly skilled bookbinder and is a pleasure to look at, handle and read.


Firstly you need to select a bookbinder. Go to the Fellows and Licentiates pages in the Members section to view the variety of work available. Most of the binders take on commissions and you can contact them directly or, for more general advice, email the Designer Bookbinders secretary (see below).


You can provide a book text of your own, or leave the choice of text to the binder. You may like to discuss the design with the binder or give him/her a free hand. Alternatively you may agree with the binder that the design is submitted before work is started on the book. Bindings can range in price from £500 to several thousands. Agree timing, especially if you have a specific deadline.

For further information please contact:
E: secretary@designerbookbinders.org.uk

Designer Bookbinders
Society of bookbinders
Bookbinders near me

Designer Bookbinders Meetings

To view please login with your membership credentials.
2023 Meeting Dates
2024 Meeting Dates


Former Fellows

Former Fellows are distinguished members of Designer Bookbinders who have either resigned from their Fellowship or who have passed away. These include founder members of Designer Bookbinders and many past Presidents. Members we will be adding to this section over the coming months include: Philip Smith, Sally Lou Smith, David Sellars, Romilly Saumarez-Smith and Trevor Jones.

Support Designer Bookbinders

Designer Bookbinders is a registered charity. Membership subscriptions cover a third of the Society’s costs.
We depend on generous sponsors and donations to help support the Society in running exhibitions and competitions, providing education in
bookbinding, organising events, and publishing the highly esteemed journal ‘The New Bookbinder’.

If you would like to make a one-off donation please click the button.

If you would like to discuss sponsorship for the Society or of an event, or discuss leaving Designer Bookbinders a gift in your will please contact secretary@designerbookbinders.org.uk or president@designerbookbinders.org.uk.



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