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We provide Dissertation Binding, Thesis Binding, Bespoke Bookbinding and a range of printing services for students in Woing and the UK.

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Blog: Book binding and Student News

Stories from our bindery, tips for university, guides to print, experiences and presentations of our students.

Ultimate Guide to Writing a Compelling Study Abroad Essay

Dina Indelicato

Studying abroad begins with a thought. It might be something like, “I think I might like to study in (country, region) for a semester. I wonder how I can do that?”

Thus begins the process of exploration. Most students will find information about studying abroad on their own campuses. And there are several organizations with online presences that facilitate international studies for students all over the globe.

At some point, a decision is made to make application to an institution. A part of that application process will normally involve an essay, often called a “statement of purpose,” in which a student is expected to include two things:

1.    Express personal, academic, and professional reasons for wanting to study abroad. Here you will want to look a bit into the future and explain what goals you have that will be met by your program of study.

2.    The reason for choosing that specific institution. What does this school offer that will move you toward your goals?

The Process for Creating the Essay

Think about all of the essays you have written during your college career. You know the process, and, if you have received good scores on those essays, you can construct them well.

So, the first thing you need to do is relax and understand that, while there is a lot riding on this essay, it is not something you cannot do well.

Let’s take a look at the process, along with some strategies/tips that will make your essay engaging and compelling.

1.    Start with Some Brainstorming

What exactly are your personal, academic, and professional goals that will relate to your study abroad?  Make a list in each of these categories, because they can form the body paragraphs of your essay.

Don’t be in a hurry. Give it a week or so, because new thoughts will come to you when you least expect them.

Once you have your lists, you can refine them, until you have the important points in each category.

2.    Read and Read Again the Instructions/Requirements You Have Been Given

Some statement of purpose essays will have prompts, and you may have options. Read these options carefully and identify the one that will be the best fit for you. You already have the points you know you want to include, so choose the prompt that will be the best fit for those points.

Sometimes, an essay prompt will be something like, “What do you believe that your study abroad will contribute to your future career?” In this case, obviously, you will only be writing about your career goals. You may be able to weave some of your personal and academic goals into this essay, but the focus must be on those points you have listed for your professional goals.

3.    Craft Your Outline

Nothing has changed from the structure of the essays you have always written – an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

It is the body paragraphs that will require your attention at this point. Each goal or major point you are making will be a paragraph, and each paragraph should be included as a separate item in your outline, followed by the details that you will include.

The outline is critical, if you intend to submit a well-organized, coherent essay, so do not skip this part.

Put the outline aside for a day or two, and then go back to it. Have you addressed the prompt? Are there any details you left out?

4.    Write Each Body Paragraph

As you know, each paragraph must have a strong topic sentence. In most cases, this comes at the beginning of the paragraph, supported by detail. You do not have to stick to this structure, however. If you are going to relate a personal experience to make a point, for example, you may want to begin with that story, as it will be far more engaging to a reader. In this case, your topic sentence can come at the end of the paragraph, showing how your story relates to a goal.

5.    Ready for the Introduction

Now that you have the “meat” of your essay written, you are ready for that critical introduction.

Remember this: it is the introduction that will grab a reader’s attention. You cannot be boring, and you cannot just provide your thesis statement.

The opening sentence of your introduction must engage immediately. Perhaps begin with a startling statistic about your career goal or your major field of study. Or, better, begin with a short anecdote from your life that has lead you to seek study abroad. Readers love little snippets of stories.

Your thesis statement, which is a short summary of what your essay will cover, should come at the end of the introduction. It gives your reader the “map” for what follows.

6.    The Conclusion – An Easy Strategy

Your conclusion should give a summary of what you have said to the reader. And this is also the place where you can include a statement that this specific program at this specific institution has what you need to further your goals. Flattery is always good, as long as it is subtle.

You Are Not Finished

You still have some tasks ahead of you:

1.    Never submit a statement of purpose essay without getting a “second opinion.” Have someone you trust review your essay. Does it engage them? Is the flow logical? Are there issues with grammar or punctuation?  You should not review you own piece – you are too emotionally “attached” to it.

2.    If you are applying to an institution in a country/region in which your native language is not theirs, consider having the piece translated into that language. You want the translation to preserve your “personality” and the engagement that you have imbedded into the essay. Here are some website translation services that you may want to consider. They have the expertise and can assign a translator who will work personally with you. What this will demonstrate to admissions decision-makers is that you have gone beyond the basic requirements and have taken some initiative that others have not. Good for you.

Statement of purpose essays can be the difference that results in acceptance of you over your “competition.” While others may take them lightly, you will not. When you get that acceptance, you will be glad you took the time to craft an essay that has been impressive. 

Dina Indelicato is a blogger enthusiast and freelance writer. She is always open to research about new topics and gain new experiences to share with her readers. You can find her on Twitter @DinaIndelicato and Facebook.








Creative Imaging - BA HONS

Caroline Leonard

This Creative Imaging course supports diverse studies in graphic design, moving image, printmaking, photography and aspects of fine and applied art. Southern Regional College offers a programme of study which responds flexibly to the requirements of the creative industries by evaluating, reviewing and updating course content and its relationship with the market place. You will be required to research in detail aspects of advertising, digital imaging, contemporary practice and real life design projects.


Think Creatively - Courses

Spector captures font and colour in the real world!

Caroline Leonard

Royal College of Art graduate Fiona O'Leary, has designed a pretty neat hand-held tool that captures typefaces and colours in the real world, enabling our printed materials to become interactive. The device 'Spector' has a camera inside that takes a picture of a font and when connected to the computer via Bluetooth shows you what typeface has been used and also gives you the specific RGB, CMYK or Pantone values that have been used - brilliant! Check out the video below.


A Survival Guide to Student Life

Harriet Baldwin

Currently being an A level student myself, I am all too familiar with the difficulties of being flooded from a tsunami of school work all at once; it seems that the work is a chain which is never ending. You always have homework and when you think you have just about finished all… you are issued another set of homework. Even on the day you don't have homework, you do. If you are considering completing A levels, you have to be prepared to be up all night doing that essay you promised yourself that you would do in a free 2 weeks ago. And as if the influx of work received after school everyday isn't enough after a long laborious day at school, in the back of your head you know you have got that early start in the morning as well. Fantastic. I find myself more frequently than not having the same on-going debate every morning of “I’ve got 20 minutes until my train arrives, I really should wake up” vs. “Wow my bed is so comfortable this morning”.

It has to be said that the jump up in intensity from GCSE work to A level can be a difficult and a sudden change after a long carefree summer break. Balancing school, a social life, exercising, a part time job, homework and getting enough sleep can sometimes be a lot to handle. However the key to overcoming this has to be organisation and time management. Here is my 5 Point Plan for conquering school, which I have personally found useful when trying to use my time productively:

1.      Use a planner. Never underestimate the use of this often overlooked book, you simply cannot organise which work you need to prioritise if you don’t know what date your homework is due!

2.      Allocate appropriate time for the amount of work that the specific piece of homework will need. Lets be honest, are you really going to complete a 1000 word essay in a free period an hour before it’s due? Probably not.

3.      Do the work when it is set – don’t leave it until last minute! Without keeping on top of your workload, more and more work is going to be set meaning you will fall further and further behind.

4.      Use online apps to do work on the go. Google Docs is my saviour for this as it means I can start planning my essays whilst waiting for my train after school.

5.      Finally, be sure to not be doing too many hours working. Even though it is good to have a part time job for experience and extra cash, ensure that this isn’t effecting your studying time. At the end of the day you’re going to be working for the rest of your life – it may not be wise to jeopardise getting those all important grades needed for universities just for the case of earning some extra money. If you’re working over 16 hours and are still in full time education, you may be working too frequently.

Even though I have moaned about schooling life, many of my fondest memories are times spent at school as well as forming many special friendships along the way.

For the times that your motivation is running low, I hope that this advice helps to pull you through and keep you looking towards the end goal. Good luck!

Ideas for better coursework presentation by Kirsten-Rose Brooks

Caroline Leonard

Coursework is key to your degree and while sometimes it feels like you’re pulling words like teeth and watching the word count slowly tick up, it is far more enjoyable when you are well-equipped with information and advice to tackle the task. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your assessed work, so that you can present it in the best way possible with the minimal amount of stress.


Start Early!

The best way to end up with a beautiful piece of coursework is to start early - get a good idea of the topic you’d like and roughly what you want to say - and plan it. For a traditional written essay, you need a well-organised, solid structure which makes your argument clear from the start and supports it point by point throughout, with plenty of sound evidence. Talk to your tutor if you’re unsure about what’s expected of you, and discuss what will need to be done.

Before you start writing, if you haven’t already, read the style guide given to you by your course tutors. This will outline exactly what they expect, where you will gain or lose marks, how to format your footnotes and bibliography, and hopefully have a mark scheme in the back (get your hands on one of these right away and keep referring back to it!).

Procrastination is the ultimate student bugbear, but there are plenty of ways to battle it. Experiment to find out what works for you - you might fit all your work into a continuous 9-5 day so that you can relax afterwards, or work late into the night when inspiration hits, or power through in short bursts of productivity. If you find yourself straying to Facebook and Twitter, try SelfControl ( to block the websites you spend too much time on for a specified period of time. There’s no way to access them during lockdown, even if you reset your computer! F.lux ( saves your eyes by gradually taking the blue light from your screen as the sun sets, and to improve your concentration you could try the Pomodoro technique - 25 minutes hammering away at your work, then 5 minutes’ break. Find more ideas for avoiding procrastination here: 11 ways to beat procrastination (

Reference Properly

While you draft your coursework, particularly if it’s assessed, constantly bear in mind that plagiarism is taken very seriously at university and your work will be checked. Don’t copy chunks of text off the Internet, and while long quotes should be avoided, if you do use them, then cite their sources very clearly and obviously. Any idea that you didn’t come up with should be footnoted, as must any kind of quote or specialist fact. If you’re not too hot on referencing, then check your style guide, or try an app like RefME, which automatically creates references for you when you scan the article title or book barcode (there’s a wide variety of referencing styles to choose from, too). (link -

Watch your language! Make sure your tone and choice of words is appropriate for the person who will be reading your work. A good tip is to imagine your audience as an interested newcomer to the topic with only a little background information - explain specialist terms clearly and succinctly, link your points together well so the reader can follow, and make your argument strongly. Equally, don’t be tempted to use complicated words and phrases just to show off, as it will often backfire. Your work will be easier and more pleasant to read if the language you use is suitable and relevant.

Edit, edit, edit

Once you’ve bashed out your piece and redrafted it within an inch of its life, give it a day or two’s space to gain a bit of distance. Then read it through over and over. Do one edit to check that it makes sense, with no contradictions or repetitions and ensure that you’re not labouring the point. Then read through it again, as closely as you can, to pick up typos and grammar mistakes. Finally, check that your footnotes are formatted properly and all in the same style, and make sure your bibliography is complete with entries categorised and in the right order. Check that your style is consistent - and it sounds obvious, but check the font is the same throughout!

Finally, this is a tip especially aimed at dissertation-writers, particularly at postgraduate level when you’re producing epic theses, or fashion and art students needing a fabulously creative presentation of the final portfolio. Once you’ve finished writing, checking and re-checking, send it off in plenty of time to get bound for submission. If you’re presenting a large piece of work, binding will make it more readable and impressive than staples or treasury tags. Take a look through the Student Bookbinding blog to see how others have presented theirs, and look for more inspiration elsewhere online.

With these ideas and pieces of advice you should be well set to start thinking positively about your coursework. Keep motivated, and good luck!

How to set up Pagination? Section Sewn Bindings

Caroline Leonard

For hard bound books and coptic bindings we often bind using sections, otherwise known as Section Sewn Binding. We use either a 12 or 16 page section with an exception for heavier papers, where we would use 8 pages per section. These type of bindings can have either a square or a rounded spine and will lay flat.

A section sewn binding is made of printed folded sheets which are then sewn together. As they are folded and sewn together,  the pages will need to be in the correct order for pagination before the document is exported as spreads. 

The pagination will vary depending on how many pages per section there are. i.e. 12 or 16. The diagram below shows the pagination for 12 pages.

If you are a little unsure of paginating your file, we can do this for you as an additional service - Just send us a PDF as single pages.

If creating your own paginated spreads creep is also something to consider. Creep is where the pages shift and do not sit correctly when the pages are folded over each other.  It is the distance pages need to move from the spine to accommodate paper thickness and folding. It is important to consider this for full bleed images and double page spreads. 

Setting up a book for single sheets binding

Caroline Leonard

Some of our books are bound using single sheets. These include Soft Bindings, Hard Bindings, Screw Post bindings and Japanese Bindings. These bindings will not lay flat as they are sewn down the gutter with an oversewn stitch.

Setting up:
When setting up your file, the first page will be the page attached to the endpaper of your book. Odd page numbers will always be on the right hand side and even page numbers on the left. Remember to include blank pages if you are printing your pages double sided.

Soft Bindings & Hard Bindings:
As the sewing is directly on the page edge itself, there is no need to allow for a large margin, but it is important to include a 3mm bleed. If you are concerned about losing text or information when sewn, include a 10mm 'safe zone' allowance.

Screw Post and Japanese BIndings:
The margins for these bindings need to be a little larger to compensate for the screws or stab binding. To do this set up a 20mm guideline from the spine edge within your InDesign document.

Double Page Spreads
If you have double page spreads then it is very important that there is a 3mm bleed around all 4 edges. We will bind on the page edge. 

For Screw Post Bindings and Japanese Bindings the pages will join where they are pinched together. Creasing pages for thicker papers with double page spreads is also an option.

When exporting check that the spreads check box is un-checked. Export with crop marks and bleed to the correct page size. 

Print Ready Artwork Checklist!

Caroline Leonard

We know you want your book to look beautiful and we want it to look beautiful too; so we've compiled a little artwork checklist to ensure it's print ready and that your finished book, often your final major project will come our print and bound just the way you planned. 

Here goes:

1) Images are no less than 300dpi (otherwise they may come out blurry) 
2) Do you have the licence to use the fonts in your artwork? (penalties can apply if not - be careful!) Make sure they are embedded into the pdf!
3) Remember to include blank pages, where they feature in your book
4) Make sure Double page spreads match up! 
5) Are you in the right colour mode? Remember CMYK is for print!
6) Do you have crop and bleed marks and exported it correctly?

Following these steps will make for a print ready pdf! Good luck. There's some tutorials on our Student Resources page if you get stuck!

World Book Day

Caroline Leonard

Spring has finally arrived. As the leaves turn green, it's time you dusted off the cobwebs from the books on your shelf and start leafing your way through a new book. And there's no better time to start than today, as we celebrate World Book Day, the biggest celebration marked in over 100 countries across the globe, of authors, illustrators, books and most importantly, reading.

What book are you reading at the moment? It certainly doesn't feel like a year since writing a post about my favourite childhood book for World Book Day in 2014. I concluded the post with a claim to turn off all digital media and get stuck into D-Day to brush up on my history knowledge; to that claim, I'm ashamed to say I still haven't finished the book. I may come back to it, but have sinced opened several more, Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas to follow up on his much-acclaimed hit and book I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Slap'. Before finishing that though, I've now moved onto Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" a number #1 New York Times bestseller and recommended to me by a loved one who has been somewhat transformed by his teachings. The book is of a spiritual nature and teaches one to try and live in the present moment and avoid thoughts of the past or future.

Will I finish this book? I hope I so. I can't quite work out if it's the book's fault or mine? Why can I never finish one before I feel the need to open another- surely because it's simply not a page turner? I asked around the office to find out what others were reading .. sadly there were only two of us, others reverting to magazines and newspapers, and no doubt succummed to the pull of digital world. 

Whilst schools across the UK are dressing up in wonderful book characters, on this day, we continue to make beautiful bound books for students and individuals in our Bindery. Happy World Book Day everyone! And if you've any recommendations for a good book you've read lately do tell!


Setting up Bleed and Crop Marks - Print Ready Artwork

Caroline Leonard

This week I'm going to walkthrough how to set up bleed and crop marks on your artwork in Adobe Indesign. I'll then show you how export to PDF so your file is ready to go to print. 

Firstly, what is bleed? Bleed is the area that extends beyond your final artwork. It is trimmed off by printers when your final piece is cut to size, but is required to ensure the print runs all the way to the edge of your artwork. If there is no bleed, there is no room for error, so if there is any movement of the paper or a misalignment when the printer is cutting your artwork to size you may see unprinted white edges along your document.

At Student Bookbinding we require 3mm of bleed on all finished artwork which is generally the standard bleed size in the UK. The 3mm should be added to each of the four sides of the page which in turn would add 6mm to the width and length of your document.

Create a 'New Document' in InDesign. You'll see at the bottom of the window that pops up,an area to input the Bleed; make sure it's 3mm on all four sides and press OK. 

Don't worry about the Slug - unless you want to include any document information such as the Version No. so you can see any tracked changes when editing your file. In InDesign, the slug will sit inside the bleed, so will be trimmed off.

Creating Bleed

A new document will open with 2 main areas, defined by coloured lines. The black line is the final dimension of your document, the line which printers will trim down. The area from the black line to the red represents your bleed area.

You will see here, that my image has extended 3mm beyond the black vertical and horizontal lines, which is where the artwork will be trimmed.

Print ready artwork
Step 3.jpg

Ideally, any text or graphics you don't want cut off from your design should lie inside the purple lines, or Margins that InDesign has provided for you - also known as 'the safe area'. You can define Margin size when setting up your New Document.

Right once you are happy with your layout we can begin to export to PDF and add our Crop Marks. 

Go File Export and choose Save Type: Adobe PDF (Print)
Choose Press Quality as per below.
Then navigate to Marks and Bleeds on the left hand column

Print Quality

Once you're in the Marks and Bleed area:
Check Crop Marks and Check use Document Bleed Settings

Press Quality

Finally, click Export, and you'll have one print-ready PDF! 

If you have already laid out your artwork and need to create Bleeds afterwards, you simple need to go to File > Document Setup and it will give you the option to add in Bleed. You will have to extend your artwork though to the edge of the bleed, so it's often best to just insert your bleed right from the start. Here's a video showing you how to do add in your bleed marks afterwards just in case. 

How to Write a Dissertation

Caroline Leonard

I empathise with those going through the arduous task of writing their Dissertation which is undoubtedly the most important, and lengthy research paper you’ll have to take on whilst studying at University. It’s the one you’ll need to pass to obtain your Degree, due in your final year of study, an academic achievement, and something to be very proud of!

Choosing your Topic

It doesn't have to be completely original, to make life easier I’d be choosing a topic where there is ample literature– get on the Google! Without past papers, research and data you’re probably going to struggle with your word count, which will vary dependent on the topic, course and University, but generally lie between 9,000 - 15,000 words.

Here’s a few places where you’ll find academic journals, books and papers and other resources.

Google Scholar
JSTOR – good for dated /classic papers for scientific, technical, and medical research.

It would also be wise to check out what your Supervisors know, as they are the ones that will be guiding you along way. Source staff websites and any papers they’ve written and ask fellow students. Having a decent supervisor that knows their stuff will be a big help!

The question you propose doesn’t have to yield a yes or no answer but make sure you've got a good grasp on the relevant concepts and have a clear objective as you will have to explore the area in depth, through analysis, evaluation and discussion developing your own ideas and arguments.

If you’re struggling with a topic, here is a list of dissertation proposal ideas by subject. When answering your central question or proposition can you answer it in a different way than it has been answered before? Are you shedding any new light on the subject matter?

A rough outline

Again, based on your subject and topic this will vary, but commonly the structure will be similar to previous essays you will have written with a few additions:

  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • List any Tables
  • List any Abbreviations alphabetically ordered.
  • Introduction – Present your research question or proposal, summarise the contents of the dissertation and the main arguments you will be discussing.
  • Literature Review – aims to show you have sufficient knowledge and understanding of your chosen study, it may include past assignments, online resources and literature from your chosen field; include loads of references in this part and critically discuss and highlight where writers are in disagreement.
  • Methodology – What methods and why have you chosen these methods to investigate your topic?
  • Findings -  present your key findings, reveal any strengths and weaknesses of the data and research you have found.
  • Discussion  - Discuss the outcomes of your findings - try not to just rehash your results
  • Conclusions
  • Recommendations
  • Bibliography - Reference all the literature you have used to carry out your study.

Start Writing Now

It will take longer than you think remember this will count for the highest percentage of your final grade!

Printing and Binding your dissertation

Now comes the part we’re here to make easy for you. But, before we do, make sure you’ve got your formatting right, and your artwork ready to go.  

Depending on which course you are on and whether you’re an undergrad or postgrad will decide how creative you can be with the style and presentation of your Dissertation. For our fashion and graphic design students that generally have poetic licence, we can work to create an out of the box bespoke bound project. See some of our bespoke bindings and learn about the different Types of Binding from our last blog post.

We also cater for Universities that have rather strict specifications for presentation; for those in BAs and BSCs spiral binding is quite common. Please bring us those guidelines.

Have you checked each of the points below to supply us your Print Ready PDF?

  • High Quality PDF
  • Crop Marks
  • 3mm Bleed
  • Supplied as single pages 
  • Cover, end papers and contents separate PDF’s
  • Blank pages added where required
  • Images and files are CMYK
  • Images are 300dpi
  • Fonts are embedded/converted to outlines

For a detailed explanation on these terms please check our FAQs.

The guidance I have provided for you is of a general nature, make sure you follow the specific requirements laid out by your University, and don’t leave your printing and binding to the last minute! Plan ahead and contact us 3-5 days in advance. When you’re artwork is ready to go, we’ll go through style and presentation options with you.

Good luck!

Types of Binding - Back to Basics

Caroline Leonard

There are many different types of binding methods out there that designers and students use for dissertations, portfolios, pitch documents and books.

Firstly I'll run through the most common types of binding:

Saddle-stitching - It's probably the easiest (have you the tools) and the most economical binding method. Pages are folded, creased and stapled together (not by an ordinary stapler - a stapler with long jaws, designed specifically for saddle stitching). We often see this type of binding used for lookbooks, booklets, and magazines that have a smaller page count. 

Saddle Stitched Booklet Printing

Saddle Stitched Booklet Printing

Perfect Binding - a form of binding most often used in the types of books you find yourself reading on the train or at home, otherwise known as paperback or softcover books. Perfect bound books can also be useful for manuals, catalogues, and annuals. Pages are folded into sections (termed signatures in the industry) and glued with a heavier printed wrap-around cover into the spine using a strong adhesive. It's not the strongest form of binding and your book won't open flat; you'll know a book has been poorly perfect bound when your pages start falling out.

Perhaps you've heard the term PUR perfect bound? Here the binding is much the same, but a stronger adhesive is used, and is what we would recommend if perfect binding is the style you're going for. Generally, a hardback covered book would only be PUR perfect bound, as the glue used to form your paperback or softcover books won't adhere to the hard case spine very well.

Perfect Binding

Perfect Binding

Perfect Binding

Perfect Binding

Section Sewn - Your most secure binding method. Here pages are folded together into sections (signatures). Each section is then sewn into the following section along the spine. The spine is then glued together for extra support and the cover then attached. A Section Sewn book, regardless of pagecount will be able to lay flat.

Section Sewn Book

Section Sewn Book

Section Sewing

Section Sewing

Wire Binding/ Spiral Binding - Most of you would have bound a document throughout school or university using one of these methods. In a nutshell, holes are punched through the pages of your document near the bound edge, and held together using either wire or plastic coils. If you're after a something a little fancier, a a document can be wire bound inside a hard cover, cloth or printed case.

Wiro Bound Document

Wiro Bound Document

Wiro binding with a Hard Cover that is blind debossed. Click to enlarge.

Cased-in Wiro Binding - If you would like to hide the wire from the outside there is a solution known as a Cased-in Wiro. This technique, however, is more involved than your traditional wiro bound document, but the final result looks lovely as you can see.

The inside of a Cased-in Wiro 
Click to enlarge

A printed cover for a Cased-in Wiro bound book

Moving on now to some more bespoke hand-made book binding options.. I'll try to keep it brief:

Pamphlet Binding uses a single section (signature) and is sewn with a running stitch down the spine; often an alternative to stapling (saddle stitch) but in my opinion leaves you with a much more elegant finish. 

Pamphlet Stitched Book -Click to enlarge book

Coptic Binding – A non-adhesive form of binding that stems from bookbinding methods employed by ancient Egyptians! Signatures are sewn through their folds, and attached to one another and again sewn through two loose covered boards with a chain like stitch across the spine. 

Coptic Bound book where the cover has been sewn on.

Coptic Bound book where the cover has been sewn on.

Coptic Bound book where the cover is mounted onto the end papers

Coptic Bound book where the cover is mounted onto the end papers

Japanese Binding – This is useful for binding single sheets of paper. You can have either a soft back or hard back cover which attaches to the text block with decorative stitching along the spine. Another option  using this decorative sewing technique is to only expose the stitching on the inside of the book. This is achieved by turning in the edge of the cover boards to create a hinge; the book is then sewn from the inside. It is recommended to use Japanese style binding for large or landscape format books as the binding requires a large margin. 

Exposed Stitch

Exposed Stitch

Screw-post Binding - There a few ways you can use screws to bind your work and it's a popular choice for portfolios as it leaves you with the ability to add or remove pages. 

Option 1 – Screws are used to hold the pages together between two covering boards.

Screw Post Binding


Option 2 - Pages are screwed into a hard case with a square spine which unfolds to reveal the screw posts inside. The pages are screwed onto the back board of the case.

Front Cover  - Click to enlarge

Back Cover - Click to enlarge

Inside - Click to enlarge

Option 3 - The binding screws are not visible on the front, or back cover. Achieved, by turning in the edge of the cover boards to create a hinge allowing the covering boards to sit over the screws. A spine piece of material is added and the screws are only visible when the book is opened.

Exhausted yet? And, I haven't even finished; there are truly many unique ways you can bind your book.

Student Bookbinding provide standard types of binding with a fast turnaround. If you have the time and are looking for a more bespoke option we recommend the following binders that may be able to help you out.

Wyvern Bindery -

Shepherd Bookbinders -

Best of luck with your presentations!


Scrapbooks are back

Caroline Leonard

Our hand made Exposed Stiched Notebook/Scrapbook

Our hand made Exposed Stiched Notebook/Scrapbook

The creative art of scrapbooking is back and more popular than ever.

I can remember 16 years ago, at the tender age of 13 when I left my home country to live in Paris and received an abundance of ‘goodbye’ gifts, the common being notebooks, scrapbooks, diaries and journals to document my journey and create keepsakes of my favourite places, moments and people. The ticket to Paris Disneyland, the Eiffel tower ticket, my first metro ticket, photos and postcards were all cut and pasted into scrapbooks along with a small anecdote of the day.

Nowadays, those printed life experiences only get recorded into cyberspace.  No longer do I send postcards of new countries I’m visiting, having been replaced with an upload of a photo and a ‘check-in’ on Facebook for friends and families to comment on. No longer do I receive the excitement of opening that Kodak envelope after getting my photos developed from the local pharmacy or print shop not knowing quite how they were going to look. Before the digital age it was a mere 20 photos; now we take three of the same shot (just in case we didn’t get it properly the first time) and end up with hundreds and hundreds of photos we eventually have to trawl through on the computer to find the best ones to upload into albums on Facebook. And how often do you re-visit them? Rarely.

Japanese stitched Notebook

Japanese stitched Notebook

But, it seems the world of craft and scrapbooking is not all but lost as retailers report growing numbers in the sales of scrapbooks and associated craft products. The stationery chain Paperchase has seen a double-digit rise in scrapbook product sales in the last year and has recently opened new workshops in Buchanen Street, Glasgow, Tottenham Court Road, London. Hobbycraft the arts and crafts chain also reported a surge in sales rising by 600% on the previous year.

The Craft & Hobby Association UK estimate that 2.8 billion Britons are ‘scrapbooking’ with 28% of them aged between 16-24. The hobby attracted 615,000 new crafters between 2012 and 2013, with the total expected to rise again this year. It’s nice to see the younger generation rediscovering the enjoyment one gets from creating tangible memorable objects, reverting to the old fashioned way of collecting memories.

And, just yesterday I discovered how to make my very own custom made notebook which will be my keepsake for a few years. I ventured into our bindery where our talented bookbinders taught me how to make my very own hard case book from scratch. For all those beginner bookbinders out there, I'll  share my experience with you in my next post. 

Binding Creative Lookbooks

Caroline Leonard

A couple of months back we wrote about the work we did for London Fashion student Chelsey Flood, and last month Chelsey revisited us to help work on her next graduate project.

Continuing the theme from the first lookbook 'Americana Destruction' we created a concertina style lookbook with printed cloth covers. The lookbook was housed in a printed mat laminated photo box. Quite a unique way of showcasing your collection and if you click on the photo below to enlarge it, you'll see a perforated section to tear off for prospective buyers to make orders.

We also helped to construct a book with the chosen method of hard back binding. We again used printed cloth for the covers. And, to present her fabric swatches Chelsey provided us with loose sheets of fabric that were sewn onto the book cover and folded back. A rather challenging but achievable task - we left the fabric trimming down to Chelsey though, being the textiles expert and all.


A little more about the book which is published here 

In 1972 Stephen Shore left his home in New York City and took the passenger seat for a road trip to Amarillo, Texas. This sparked his interest in brief encounters across America and urged him to continue this trip later that year, travelling with just a point and shoot camera, creating the vision of American culture through the eyes of a tourist. These images are made up of all the he experienced during his trip, everyone he interacted with and everyday object and scenes that we do not notice on a day to day basis. This idea of mundanity in American living made me consider whether photographers like Steven Shore have had an effect on the way we depict our life through the means of Instagram and such apps."

It was a pleasure working with Chelsey again, and in her own words it was a 'great experience - & would definitely use again. Vicky was so helpful!'

Thanks Chelsey, from the Bindery :)


Want to learn Letterpress Printing?

Caroline Leonard

Check out Mr Smith Rules Letterpress Workshop if you'd like to learn the rich distinctive technique of letterpress printing. The one day course provides you with an introduction to Letterpress and is designed to allow art directors, artists, graphic designers, print makers, students & beginners to work closely with wood type, letterpress materials & printing equipment.

Binding Communication Design for CSM Degree Shows

Caroline Leonard

Last week we were invited along to the Central St Martins Degree Shows to see the showcase of works from graduate students Benedetta Spreafico, Ferdinand Feiler, and Veronika Grisold all studying an MA degree in Communication Design.

We worked with each of these students in the printing and binding phase of their final projects ready to be exhibited at the show which explored the form, function and value of communication design in a changing and challenging world. 

Benedetta Spreafico’s project is about coping with stress at University. Stress I think most of us will have all encountered at some stage throughout our studies. Her project began with the analysis of personal experiences of being a stressed student at university. It then opened up into an exploration conducted with other students sharing their stress experiences. The aim? To help Benedetta and her fellow students to address their stress, and empower us with confidence as university students. 

The journey is narrated in a three-volume series under the title of ‘Coping With Stress at University’. The series is presented as an alternative resource to the existing institutional survival guides on the topic. It offers a unique perspective from a stressed student, as well as those of other students in a similar position. We helped  collate and bind the books. Bernadetta has her own website If you’d like to learn a little more about the work she produces.

We then moved on to Ferdinand’s project ‘Multisensory Platewear Design‘ was about creating a more intense flavour and dining experience through the use of platewear. His final project consisted of two bowls where the design and characteristics (colour, texture, shape and size) were influenced by the findings from a series of recent studies that were conducted in the area of multi-sensory dining.We helped create a concertina booklet with printed content detailing how each characteristic of the plate design affects the dining experience. I also spotted a delicious looking creamy asparagus and wild mushroom risotto recipe inside that I’ll definitely be trying at home!  Click on the images to enlarge and to check out the recipe- seems pretty straightforward to follow!

And then we came across Veronika’s project ‘How can visual communities help people to overcome creative block?’ which aimed to ‘help creative practitioners overcome creative block by providing a self-diagnostic tool that leads to different exercises. These are based on three areas –thinking, feeling and doing – that were identified through the research’.

Veronika’s resourceful book was constructed using Section Sewn Coptic Binding with printed covers and endpapers. This type of binding structurally requires there to be stitching on the front and back covers, yet Veronika’s vision was for this stitching to remain hidden. This became a new challenge for our team in the bindery which they managed to pull off devising a way to wrap the printed cover as a panel around the sewn section – A lovely finish!

If you’re in the creative industry here are 11 tricks I’ve come across from Leading Creatives to help you battle with the block!

The value of a Degree.. is it worth it?

Caroline Leonard

In 1999 Emma Moss was among the first students who had to pay tuition fees and take out a student loan in the UK. The introduction of tuition fees raised uncertainty about the value of a degree yet most still believed it was worth it. It has now been a few years since the cost to obtain further education has significantly risen. So is it still worth it?

Further education, such as University or college, is a fantastic way of encouraging our knowledge to grow. You get to choose an area you want to work in and learn about it in order to get a desirable job in the future. However, this can be costly and not everyone can afford the rising tuition fees, which are now reaching £53,330 in the UK. Fortunately, other paths out of compulsory education, for example, an apprenticeship, can provide you with the life experience you need to go out into the job world.

student library

If you’re looking to go into further education and you’re worrying if it’s worth it financially, this guide describes the pros and cons of further education and the alternatives.

In my opinion, there's definitely no disadvantage in attending University, other than the monetary component. In attendance, I have definitely expanded my knowledge base. Yet, whether or not it resembles work life in the real world I'm not so sure. I think you can learn most jobs on the go, and, reasonably quickly unless you're in the specialist field of medicine or engineering alike as Emma's guide suggests.

I do though, believe having a degree will help you in landing that interview and securing a job. Most companies won't give your CV a second look, if one at all if there is no further education documented on paper. Unless, you're Richard Branson, who wrote a great article on why he hires on personality which he believes is more important than if the person has the skills for the job.

I guess it's one of those life choices you have to make, and it's all circumstantial. The guide, written by Emma Moss will provide you with insight in how you might like to weigh up some of your options.

Best of luck!

Bookshelf Porn

Caroline Leonard

If you're a booklover, and haven't stumbled upon Bookshelf Porn yet, I suggest you get to it! The Tumbler blog was created by Anthony Dever in 2009 and showcases the best bookshelf photos from across the globe. 

I wonder why libraries aren't a little more creative with their interiors... here's a few of my favourites from the site and perhaps some inspiration if you're looking to build a little home library of your own.

As It Will Have Been by Central St Martin's Noemi Niederhauser

Caroline Leonard

Noemi Wiederhauser, an artist from Switzerland, studying her masters in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins recently finished her Research Paper ‘As It Will Have Been’.

Noemi came to us with a very specific idea of how she wanted her paper to be presented. She provided the paper herself, which can often be challenging as we may not have previously worked with the stock before and in such case, we hadn’t. Noemi brought in a recycled 90gsm which printed beautifully – perhaps we’ll add it to our selection range. Thanks Noemi. 

We bound 3 x 32pp pamphlets with printed covers, green stitching and lining.

I spoke to Noemi to find out what ‘As It Will Have Been’ was about…

 “This text is an interrogation about the construction of language, text, and meaning around objects. Artefacts belong to the sphere of making, to something that is not made out of words but that speaks nevertheless. A special focus in this paper will be on artefacts as things of ethnographical or historical interest, which are fragmented from their original use and purpose. Who makes them speak? How are they made to speak? It is an interrogation on how meaning is conferred to objects, what kind of narrative is wrapped around them and how it is constructed. An interrogation that deals with the notion of authenticity, with the building of historical narratives, and with the interpretation and misinterpretation of artefacts in ethnography. This paper focuses on the idea of “making meaning” and is an attempt to understand and dig up part of the construction that lies behind the discourse of knowledge and cultural value placed on artefacts.”

 You can see more of the Noemi’s work on her website. I've had a browse and it’s quite impressive. She’s also featured in a number of exhibitions and art spaces at notable galleries in London and Europe.

 Central St Martins have their upcoming Degree Show One 2014 on the 23 -27th May from 12noon until 8pm, where you will be able to see some of Noemi’s work up close. Other students studying Central St Martins Courses will be exhibiting too. You can find out a little more info here.