Monthly Design Review - March 2019

This month features my latest obsession - pattern. In our work, we often design wallpaper and fabrics - where can we get our inspiration from? Here are a few places to start -


Dover Publications is an American book publisher that primarily focuses on reissues of books no longer published by their original publishers, often in the public domain. The original published editions may be scarce or historically significant - Dover republishes these books, making them available at a significantly reduced cost.

Dover's Design Library includes over 50 books, many with hundreds of rare and unusual images, stencils and drawing for the amateur and professional designer to include in their next project.

Buy the books here.


The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is one of the world’s greatest museums of art and design, with a vast collection that been an unparalleled resource for designers for 150 years. This series of pattern books presents the range of the V&A’s pattern collection. Beautifully designed, accessible, and informative, these little books are a repository of ideas and inspiration for designers of all kinds. Included in each volume is a CD of all the images shown within, and many of the patterns are available to license online.

Buy the books here.

Browse and license the pattern collection here.


Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s Library is a branch of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and contains more than 80,000 volumes, including books, periodicals, catalogs, and trade literature dating from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries. Volumes cover American and European design and decorative arts with concentrations in graphic design, interior design, ornamental patterns, wallcoverings, textiles and more. The library’s special collections include early editions on design process; sample books and works on materials; and resources on material culture.

The museum's website contains a vast digital collection of patterns, as well as blog entries discussing pattern in detail.

Learn more about the Research Library here.

Browse online pattern samples from the Wallcoverings Department here.

Browse online pattern samples from the Textile Department here.

20th CENTURY PATTERN DESIGN (Lesley Jackson, 2011)

Organized by decade, the book details the technical innovations that affected the development of modern textiles and wallpapers. Featuring stunning color plates and focusing on surface patterns in the home, author Lesley Jackson draws frequent parallels to the worlds of fashion, packaging, and graphics and explores the relationship between painting and pattern design.

Highlighting the decisive trends that emerged in each decade, the book draws attention to the achievements of progressive manufacturers and groundbreaking designers, charting the emergence of a series of pattern design superpowers in various countries at different moments in time.

Buy the book here.


Owen Jones was one of the most influential tastemakers of the Victorian era. His pioneering studies on colour theory, geometry and form still inspire designers to this day.

First published in 1856, the book was Owen Jones’ design masterpiece. the lavish folio highlighted stunning patterns, motifs and ornaments in 112 illustrated plates. Each intricate illustration explored design principles behind the architecture, textiles, manuscripts and decorative arts of 19 diverse cultural periods, with a final chapter revelling in the glory of the natural world.

Grammar of Ornament was a monumental publishing project that achieved standards of color printing never seen before. It is still in print 150 years later, testament to its enduring design appeal.