Out of the Blue: 50 Years of the Designers Guild at the FTM

design guild, exhibition, show, interior, colour, print,
Picture of Natasha Searls-Punter

Natasha Searls-Punter

The Designers Guild is a renowned design studio that has played a key role in the world of interiors. Established in 1970 by Tricia Guild OBE, the Designers Guild has since reinvented interior design within our homes. From furnishing fabrics,wallcovering and upholstery to bed and bath collections, it has grown from its humble beginnings in London to becoming an influential global successful brand.

Out of the Blue: Fifty Years of Designers Guild is the exhibition currently being held in celebration of its long history and influential power at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in London. It explores the creative approach of Designers Guild’s founder, Tricia Guild OBE, looking at her inspiration, design methodology and the techniques, processes and materials that go into each and every collection.

The museum first leads into a sitting space that showcases the beautiful wallpaper that was specially designed to celebrate the Out of the Blue exhibition in all its majestic beauty and detail. It is here that you can witness the evolution of the initial hand painted imagery into its finished high quality digitally printed wallpaper as well as a chance to sit down to flick through fabric samples and the accompanying exhibition book, ‘Out of the Blue: Fifty Years of Designers Guild’.

The early years

This leads onto the main exhibition space that gives us an insight to the unique collections that the studio has created over the years. This includes the Village Collection, created within the early years, rich with colours and a unique style, as well as a look into Tricia Guild’s love for floral designs that has played a key role throughout Designers Guild’s history through the Flower Power space.

Travellers’ Tales: Indian Summer       Travellers’ Tales: Venetian

In contrast, the collections for Travellers’ tales brand shows the impact of different cultures within the Designers Guild’s collections. The Venetian collection draws inspiration from the elegant ornate designs of the Italian Renaissance and the Indian Summer collection is cleverly draped to invoke the feeling of summer and rich culture alongside its beautiful colours.

The Shape of Modernity

The Designers Guild has also looked towards Modernism through The Shape of Modernity which combines many products both current and in the past, often as a result of working in collaboration with many designers, resulting in a stunning space that is full of geometric patterns and ombre patterns that are digitally printed today at a large scale.

        Silks                         Embroidery and crewel work

The upstairs exhibition space explores the design process that goes into each collection. With displays looking at silk and embroidery it looks at the fabrics, colours to techniques and the target audience. These aspects that are carefully considered and laid out alongside their finished products, giving us the insight into the inspiration and the carefully thought out properties of each object.

There is also a particular emphasis towards the importance of moodboards and hand painting techniques. With every collection, Tricia Guild always starts with mood boards that draw inspiration from numerous sources such as architecture and fashion. Using these moodboards the design studio experiment with hand painted imagery before getting developed and refined digitally. While the use of rotary screen printing used in the beginning has been replaced by digital printing in 2010, each design starts of life by being hand drawn before being developed into the highest quality products and designs.


Overall, this exhibition is a great celebration of the fifty years of Designers Guild with a fantastic insight into the history and the collections. A fantastic source of inspiration for those that are passionate about the home and interiors and I can’t wait to see what the next fifty years will bring.


Words and photos by Jenny Li

Out of the Blue: Fifty Years of Designers Guild

14 February – 14 June 2020

Fashion and Textile Museum,

83 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XF

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm

Thursdays until 8pm

Sundays until 5pm

Ticket Pricing: £9.90 Adults / £8.80 concessions / £7 Students / Free entry for under 12s


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