Whether you’re new to Orla Kiely, or are a die-hard fan; this book has something for anyone with an interest in pattern, textiles, design or just things that look lovely in the home. At first, I thought the (huge!) book might just be a visual collection of her work, with some captions; something to flick through on your coffee table. However, this book delves much deeper into the entire length of Kiely’s career so far.

Split into 6 chapters – Life, Inspiration, Colour, Print, Collections and Home – this book charts Kiely’s early years, from her idyllic upbringing in Ireland, through to the tentative early stages of her career, into exciting moments such as when she started branching out beyond print and bags into womenswear. You get the sense that she was born to follow this path; every page is inspirational for any budding or seasoned designer. In fact, flicking through, dipping in and out, I was left extremely motivated and inspired to pursue my own dreams as she has so steadfastly – she is a real inspiration.

The balance of text and image is perfect; enough detail about her life and her business to make you want to read for hours, but also pages and pages of full colour reproductions of her glorious prints and products, that you could just as well ignore the text and just enjoy the riot of colour and pattern over a quick cup of tea.

If I could criticise the book at all, it would be that I would like to have seen more examples of how she begins new projects; sketches, ideas etc. There are a few pages where we see snippets of colour swatches stuck into sketchbooks and the like, but I for one would love to see early sketches of her beautiful finished patterns. The majority of the images are the final designs and their application to product, which is wonderful, the book is very slick, very lovely, but I felt a slight longing for a more rough, unpolished approach.

No matter, the overall impression of the book is something that you will want to keep open, on display, for people to flick through and enjoy. It would certainly be a welcome addition to the home of anyone with a penchant for pattern, colour, and of course Orla Kiely herself!

Buy your copy now

About the author: Rachel is an illustrator, designer and trend hunter living in London. When she’s not immersed in any of those things, Rachel likes nothing better than a long walk, a long book or a long drink! www.rachelsayshello.com

June 16th, 2011

Posted In: Great Design Reads

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