Patterns: Inside the Design Library

Peter Koepke. Phaidon, $79.95 (332p) ISBN 978-0-7148-7166-0
This beautifully designed and organized book showcases a selection of patterns from the extensive Design Library, a collection of surface designs archived in a warehouse in the Hudson Valley, N.Y. Koepke, who owns and directs the library along with founders Susan and Herb Mellor, built it into an international industry resource. The first of three sections in the book has photos of the Design Library’s enormous warehouse collection. The second section is arranged alphabetically by types of patterns (from “Abstract” to “Zigzag”), spanning the years 1750–1980. The final section shows the evolutions of several designs from initial tear sheets to end products, giving insight into how designers reprocess design elements: for example, a hand-painted 18th-century textile inspires a 21st-century computer-generated design. Though the patterns speak for themselves, readers may wish the book included more historical context for the visuals. In short texts, well-known designers who use the archive (such as Francisco Costa, who designs for Michelle Obama) describe their working processes. This will be a rich idea source for professionals, and anyone interested in home or fashion design will enjoy flipping through the vast array of gorgeous patterns. Fine artists will trace connections between concepts in painting and commercial art, observing how art movements filter down into the design world. Color illus. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/10/2016
Release date: 10/01/2016
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