5 Minutes With... / Bookbinder Cathy Roberts / Delta Design

Cathy Roberts is founder and owner of the wonderful Delta Design Studio, a professional bindery in Clerkenwell. She has lovingly crafted most of the LPA portfolios and so we thought she would be the perfect person to spend 5 Minutes With... this month to get some insider information. A key sponsor of LPA Futures, Cathy will also be creating the bespoke portfolio for our lucky final LPA Student Challenges winner this year! CathyRoberts Cathy (second from left) with LPA Photographer Nick David (far left), LPA Futures Oliver Haupt (third from left), and Delta Design colleague Margot, at the LPA Futures launch.

- Hi Cathy. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company Delta Design Studio?

I have been in business for 30 years this year, and feel very lucky and happy to do my work everyday and meet some amazing people! it’s a small business and its all about personal service and custom made work.

- How did you become a professional Bookbinder?

I trained for 1 year at London College of Printing and set up my business in Clerkenwell, I also got a small grant from the craft council after being selected.

- What’s your favourite part about the job?

Talking with the client, understanding what they want and then giving input and using my experience to advise them as best as possible, then of course when they collect the work and the smile on their face ... that is the best!

- Which is the more challenging part?

The blocking on the book is always a challenge, some foils are better than others so I very often make a sample with different colours for the client to choose from.

- What are the main skills you need to run your own company in bookbinding?

Believe in yourself and be passionate, I still learn many things and I am never bored, also patience sometimes is a plus!

1st Above: Example of portfolio by Delta Design.

- Why do you think having a great portfolio is so important?

- A folio represents you, your work and who you are. Its going to sell your work so its very important, and if you know its right it will give you confidence too!

- Do you think digital will take over completely from print, or do you think seeing images in print will always be a bonus?

I think it will always be a bonus ... who doesn’t like to look at a beautiful coffee table book!

- What are your best tips for making a portfolio stand out from the crowd?

A simple combination of colour, a very good font for your name or logo and with that your work should do all the talking? We add little details like embossing the front page, different coloured spine ...




Above: More examples of books bound by Delta Design.

- Originally from Provence, what are your favourite things about London and what do you miss most about home?

- I love London as its so cosmopolitan, and with so much diverse food, and there's so much to see and listen to. It has a great energy, but I miss the sunshine and special light from Provence when the light is so blue. And the cigales singing when its hot!

- Do the eateries of Clerkenwell live up to the standards of French cuisine?

- Haha, well when I arrived in London the only things there was Indian and Chinese food... things have changed and the food is amazing now, we can eat anything at any time!

- Who/What are your biggest sources of creative inspiration? Any favourite blogs?

- Art books, special fairs where I source new materials and textures, exhibitions but very often the client has a specific idea and I need to search to make it work and its always a challenge I really enjoy!

- What’s the most unusual request you’ve had for a portfolio?

Formica cover with name hand engraved or fully padded cover in leather with specially made leather buttons to look like a Chesterfield!

A slip case with an old Aston Martin seatbelt buckle for enclosure!