Category Archives: Featured Graduates

Featured Graduate: Miriam Brüggen with a step-by-step guide on how to make your own Punching Cradle

Image showing Miriam Brüggen at the printing press at the letterpress studio Letterpress Letters in Tokyo
Miriam Brüggen printing at the letterpress studio Letterpress Letters in Tokyo

Miriam Brüggen is a graphic designer and visual artist based in Berlin. She graduated from London College of Communication in 2017 with a Postgraduate Diploma in Design for Visual Communication – during this time she focused on book and letterpress projects. After graduation she pursued a career in the field of spatial and communication design, and, in collaboration with architects, interior / product & motion designers creates analog and digital touch points for brand spaces. In her free-time, she follows her passion for book and print projects, since she values the work with physical materials.

She just returned from a 6 month trip to Japan, where she explored traditional bookbinding and printing techniques and worked for the letterpress studio Letterpress Letters in Tokyo. During that time she learnt to value the benefits of a sewing punching cradle, which allows to bind books very precisely.

Miriam created a step by step guide for you on how to create your own punching cradle below.

Showing Miriam's desk with a  punching cradle
Miriam’s desk with a punching cradle

Step-by-step Punching Cradle

You will need:

• Sharp Blade
• Ruler, Pencil
• PVA Glue
• Glue Brush
• Bone Folder
• Waste Paper

• 2 x large pieces of grey board (2.0mm–2.5mm), W 120 x L 330 mm
• 4 x small pieces of grey board (same weight), W 120 x L 105 mm
• 2 x strips of book cloth: W 80 x L 330 mm

Showing book cloth and grey board
Materials: book cloth and grey board

Start with the four small rectangles that support the cradle body.

Draw a triangle on two of them. Take the long edge (120 mm) for the bottom side of the triangle. It should start about 15 mm from each corner and the tip should be 45 mm away from the top edge.

Image showing cutting instructions on grey board
Cutting instructions

Cut the triangles out

Image of triangles cut out
Triangles cut out

Glue each of the remaining pieces on one of the untrimmed rectangles. The support legs are done and you can place both under a weight for a short while (some heavy books will be fine!).

Showing the support legs glued together
Support legs

In the meantime, make the cradle body. Take one strip of book cloth and mark the centre of the short edge. Repeat same step with the other piece of book cloth.

Image is showing two pieces of book cloths
Mark the centre of the book cloth

Add two marks, the first, one board thickness to the left from the middle, the second, one board thickness to the right (use the two cut out triangles as a gauge).

Image showing how to use the triangles as gauge
Use the triangles as gauge

Brush the book cloth with glue and attach the long grey boards to the lines.

Take your bone folder, flatten the cloth and score down the middle, this will neaten the joint.

Image of the usage of a bone folder
Use a bone folder to define the joint

Repeat with the other side: Brush the cloth with glue and put it on the grey boards, try to align it with the cloth underneath.

Image showing how to attach the book cloth
Attach book cloth from the other side

Neaten the joint from this side, too.

Image of the usage of a bone folder

Eventually, it should look like this. When you are ready, put it under a weight for a couple of minutes.

Image showing both joints together
Both boards joined together

Measure and mark up 10mm from the edge of both short sides. Create a slit by cutting the thickness of one grey board. The slit’s width should be 128 mm in total to fit the support legs. Take 64 mm from the centre of the cradle body to the left and right.

Images shows how to measure
Measure 10mm from both the sides

The depth of the slit should should equal the thickness of one grey board (use one of the rectangles as gauge. It should be the exact thickness, if its too wide the cradle body will sit lose).
The slit’s width should be 128 mm in total to fit the support legs. Measure 64 mm from the centre of the cradle body to the left and right.

Almost done, now you can slide each side over the support legs. If necessary, enlarge the slit to fit the cradle body.

Image on how to construct the punching cradle
Constructing the punching cradle

Et voilà. Below a printable version of the whole process. Miriam also prepared a short hand out with her notes and some step-by-step illustrations.

Image of punching cradle
Finished punching cradle


Featured Graduate: Noha Salmeen

Noha working in the letterpress workshop at LCC

Noha Salmeen graduated from MA Art Direction in 2019 and is based in Dubai, Bangalore and London. Her graphic design practice is based on curiosity, observation, experimentation, testing, failing and learning.

Tell us about yourself. Have you always been interested in art and design?

I am a graphic designer and design researcher. I believe in forward thinking and design for good. However, that was not how I started off. I was rather nervous when it came to graphic design but the more I learnt the more confidence I got. 

Yes, I have always been interested in art and design. I have always gravitated towards colour and visuals as a child. Art and design was a platform where I could communicate to people. 

Experimenting with how one is influenced by patience and learning a new skill.
The image above represents a proof of a paragraph in progress. The end result was a book.
Experimenting with how one is influenced by patience and learning a new skill.
The end result of carefully fixing the paragraph.

How do you integrate print with your design practice?

Print has definitely influenced my design practice. The letterpress as well as the production studio at LCC help in that. I am able to incorporate printing methods within the digital world, which allows for some interesting outcomes. 

Where do you find inspiration?

It really depends on the project I am working on. I usually like to use objects available from my environment and incorporate it. This usually allows me to express different permutations and combinations which leads to an A-ha moment!

Experimenting with how one is influenced by patience and learning a new skill.
Two books were created with the process and experiment. 

What are you up to now that you’ve graduated?

I graduated in 2019. Not too far back but since graduation and up until now I have been freelancing with various design studios in Dubai and working as an apprentice with Apple.

Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

If I could travel back in time I would tell myself to be kind to myself and if you need help ask for it. My time at LCC was great! As I finally found my passion which is print. But, I lived in my head a lot and was not very vocal about it. LCC is a place to learn. So ask, experiment and be free.

Experimenting with how one is influenced by patience and learning a new skill.
Elements that helped me understand letterpress

See more of Noha’s work at:

Featured Graduate: Azelia Ng Wei Zhen

Azelia at the Design Block at LCC
Azelia at the Design Block at LCC

Azelia Ng Wei Zhen, is a graphic designer based in Singapore. She studied at London College of Communication BA Hons Graphic and Media Design and graduated in 2018. Azelia now works primarily in the field of graphic design but isn’t defined by it. She finds herself coming back to researching the book as an investigation and explores experimental publishing and artist’s books. In this Featured Grad post, she talks about how she has continued her practice after graduating from LCC and how she is working within the times of COVID 19.

1. Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?

I do enjoy the art of making things and that to me is making art, which I guess started at a young age as I’ve always been curious about the things around me, especially in form, texture, and tactility. 

I’m a (graphic) designer, the reason for the brackets is the acknowledgment not to be pigeonholed by a single definition but rather one that expands and changes from time to time. The work that I do is print-centric but the principles that drive them are the synergy between craftsmanship, ideation, and the experience that resonates with people.

The image shows a book spread which is Azelia's interpretation of The Machine Stops by E.M Forster
Azelia’s interpretation of The Machine Stops by E.M Forster

2.  How did you get started in bookbinding?

It was one of the assignments on the course to interpret a classic read, The Machine Stops by E.M Forster a short story, which became a revelation of my relationship with the book as I explored book design. In time I was engaged in everything and anything to do with the book medium, from designing to making a book.

Most of all it’s therapeutic and fun. The tangible appearance of the final object once all the pages are folded, put into its sequence and sewn together does oddly fascinate me—as if I could control time and space within the book.

3.  Who are your biggest influences?

Irma Boom (Book Designer) + Tauba Auerbach (Artist and Book Artist) + Rahel Zoller (Book Artist + Bookmaker) = Respectable women in the realms of books. When it comes to their approach in the way they do things or the conceived idea, these ladies never fail to bring a pleasant surprise. Through their work, I understand that good + thought-provoking work does not happen by chance, they are the result of careful thought and meticulous attention to detail.

Essentially, the experience that people encounter in context to the subject matter is what influences the work I do. Designing for the senses requires intricate detail and the book medium embodies lots of potentials which is probably why I’m so interested in it—the paper; its weight, colour, opacity, texture; the typeface and how the final design floats on white space. Also, don’t get me to start on the reading experience or the binding. 

The image shows Azelia's desk
Azelia’s desk, working from home.

4.  Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated?

At the moment it’s my little nest, my bedroom, and makeshift studio, where I engage my hands in making, working and playing. With the current situation of COVID-19, I think many people are working from home and it has since become the new norm, possibly a post-COVID-19 condition. 

My workspace is organized with everything essential reachable at arm’s length (also the space I have isn’t very big as well) and mainly three areas – the digital, craft and library sections. In the digital section, I have the main desk, a glass table, to do daily work with the computer, Wacom, stationeries, important documents and underneath it is an A3 printer, which I use to do test prints of the mockups that I’m making.  

On my left is the craft area, a flat cabinet, used as a table with a cutting mat on top and it’s where I keep the necessary tools involved in tangible experiments—binding tools, adhesives, paint, paper, brush and etc… This is where I do my experiments + mockups, making and creating in the physical form. Lastly, I’ve got a personal library, with books of my interest and books collected during my travels in different countries. 

In a workspace, it is important to organise it to one’s workflow, and for me, I needed additional space, like a workshop area, where I focus on physical experiments without the need to clean up or shift things around just to do day to day things.

5.  Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you to yourself if you could travel back in time?

Firstly, do not rely just on computers to realize your project but rather utilise the many facilities in LCC to its fullest potential – BookArts, Letterpress, Screenprinting or the 3D workshops. As a designer, it is important to know the process required in the production of the work into its physical format. It better informs one’s practice by the understanding of variables in materiality and print production which can alter/ affect the final piece, to design with those variables in mind and to challenge them.

Lastly, always talk to the technicians, they are charming and one of the most interesting bunch within the school compound (tutors? not as much). Every technician has something different to offer, be it their life experiences or the comfort and advice they bring in the stressful period of submissions. They are also like spies living double lives, having things lined up outside of their day job—some are established artists.

6.  Where can we see more of your work?  

Since graduation, I’ve worked on commercial work in local design studios in Singapore, and outside of work I’ve participated in exhibitions and have organized a ‘Book Talk: Behind the Book’ at National Design Centre but at moment I’m preparing to open a tiny online shop, The Other Studio, turning my bedroom into a studio to create and make things.

The image shows Azelia moderating the 'Book Talk: Behind the Book' at National Design Centre
Azelia moderating the ‘Book Talk: Behind the Book’ at National Design Centre


Featured Graduate: Vytenis Semenas

Vito printing in the workshops at LCC, 2018.
Vito printing in the workshops at LCC, 2018.

Vito Semenas graduated in 2019 from BA Illustration and Visual Media (IVM). His work involves intricately carved and carefully printed linocuts and engravings, that draw inspiration from different mark-making languages and cultures. In this first Featured Grad post, he talks about how he has continued his practice after graduating from LCC.

Tell us about yourself.  Have you always made art?

I believe visual art is one of defining characteristics of the human species. As far as I can remember I have been always doing some form of visual art. Whether it was experimenting with photography or drawing anime illustrations, art has always been a big part of my life.

The body of my work contains different techniques and styles developed over the time; it can be described as a catalogue of my life. So the answer is yes: I have been doing art my whole my life whether it was intentional or not.

The Metamorphosis, 2018. 
Linocut on Somerset Velvet Newsprint.
The Metamorphosis, 2018.

How did you get started in printmaking?

During the first year in LCC, where I was studying Illustration and Visual Media, I tried numerous techniques of illustration and printmaking, just to get to know what would benefit me in professional practice. I even tried to do a digital paintings as this style of art was always fascinating to me. However, I was not able to achieve the results I was aiming at. For that reason, I kept looking for other ways of expressing myself.

In the meantime, my love for printmaking was growing extremely fast. I decided to create a series of lino carvings during the summer holidays hoping that it would help me to prepare and improve my portfolio for the upcoming year. At the time lino printing technique looked easily accessible and most affordable technique if I had to work from home.

What influences your artwork?

An artist might be inspired by one painting, a body of work, or even an entire style of art.

Finding influences and connections between artists is an important to the art I create. For me it is important that the conversation of art continues and new intuitions about art can be made whilst looking from different viewers perspectives. My illustrations are based around the idea of utilising fine line work and geometrical shapes combined with the various allegorical meanings and symbolism to books, mythology-religion, movies, personal experiences and so on. The biggest influences of my style have been my obsession with the patterns and naturalism that could be found in the nature. Sometimes influence comes by examining the descriptive attributes of art other people create. However, finding influences is a sophisticated process that involves studying.

The Story of Two Mountains, 2020.  
Linocut on Fabriano Avorio.
The Story of Two Mountains, 2020.

Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated?

My dream and goal always were to set up my own little print studio at home. In the meantime, I was lucky to win the Thames -Side Print Studio New Graduate Prize. I also was nominated for a Royal Academy printmaking fellowship. These opportunities provide me with the access to printmaking studios 3 days a week which is more than enough knowing how slow engraving and carving techniques could be. I illustrate, plan and design my pieces at home. I also carve my blocks at home in order not to waste that precious studio time.

Planning is very important and for that reason I record my work time by using designed apps for time tracking. This comes really handy calculating how long it took me to carve each piece and makes it easier to decide on a sales price.

Photograph of Vito at Thames-Side Print Studio, holding a lino block, in front of a press.
Vito at Thames-Side Print Studio.

Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

The time at LCC was the best part of my life. I gained a lot of knowledge, met a lot of amazing artists and field professionals. It also opened the doors to a lot of exciting new projects and opportunities.

I am happy that I tried so many different medias and that would be my advice to everyone studying at LCC: try as many different things as possible! Experiment and don’t be afraid of failure. That would be the advice I would give myself: is to not be afraid of things not turning out the way I was planning, because everything happens for a reason.

The Arrow Maiden, 2019. 
Linocut on Somerset Velvet Newsprint.
The Arrow Maiden, 2019.

Where can we see more of your work? 

Most of my work can be found on my Instagram profile and website, which also serves as a e-shop and portfolio.

Instagram: @wild_stork

Selected Exhibitions
2019 Final Degree Show UAL, London College of Communication
2019 WOWxWOW- ‘’Monochromagic 2’’
2019 WoWxWOW- ‘’Eternity’s Engine’’
2019 National Original Print Exhibition, London
2019 Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, London
2019 The Masters Relief, Bankside Gallery, London