Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight; Should You Buy This Book?

A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight

I am currently taking part in The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design Ecourse, and some of my fellow students have been talking about the book A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight. A question put to me, as I have read the book and recommend it, was 'Is there much in the book that isn't covered in the course? Should I buy it?' So, if this book interests you, here is a little more information to help you decide whether or not to purchase.

Kimberly Kight is passionate about fabric - that is clear. She authors an extremely good blog True Up, which  is entirely devoted to fabric. True Up, alone, is an extremely valuable resource for aspiring surface pattern designers. From there came the book A Field Guide to Fabric Design - Design, Print & Sell Your Own Fabric ~ Traditional & Digital Techniques. I read this book while taking part in Rachael Taylor and Beth Nicholls' Ecourse and I think it is the perfect complement.

A Field Guide to Fabric Design is comprehensive and well laid out. It is broken into three sections:

Section One - Design and Colour: This section covers fabric design fundamentals, design principles and  parameters including print types and repeat types, developing your style, trends, copyright, repeats by hand and computer (tutorials), software and tools, proofing, all about colour, collections and more.

Section Two - Printing: This section offers excellent information on fabric basics, fabric construction, block printing and screen printing tutorials, all about inks, creating a work surface, digital printing, and more.

Section Three - The World of Fabric Design: The last section talks about designing for fun or designing for profit, choosing a printing method, retail versus wholesale, building your brand and more.

Each section includes 'Designer Roundtable' where important questions are put to established fabric designers; it is a fantastic way of getting varied perspectives from real people in the industry, and at the same time creates a warmth and friendliness that sets the book apart from others I have read.
Kimberly has chosen beautiful and inspiring visuals, modern fonts, and a unique layout to create an all-round easy-to-use manual and resource. It is extremely informative and a perfect first step into the industry. It is especially valuable to those designers who don't sew and lack intimate knowledge of fabric and the related terminology.

And so, to answer the question 'Is there much in the book that isn't covered in the course?', I believe that there is enough information in the book that is not covered in the course to warrant buying it, and the crossover topics are explained or presented in a different way giving them value. The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design Ecourse goes into depth on some of the topics that A Field Guide of Fabric Design can merely touch on. It is important to note too that A Field Guide to Fabric Design is specifically about fabrics and printing, not surface design as a whole, so equally goes into depth about things to do with fabric that the Ecourse need not cover. This is why I see it as the perfect complement to the course if you wish to pursue fabric design in some form.

And 'Should I buy it?'. Let me put a question to you: 'Are you interested in fabrics, and do you want to design for fabric?'. If so, the answer is simple: Yes. You won't find a better book.

A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight  is available at the Kitty as a Picture US Amazon Bookstore and the Kitty as a Picture UK Amazon Bookstore.

ISBN 978-1-60705-355-2


  1. Thank you for a really useful book review, Brenda. It's always difficult buying books online without a personal recommendation but you've just made that a whole lot easier :)

    1. Thanks Judy. I wish I had read this when it first came out!

  2. Thanks Brenda,
    Very useful and informative.. so thank you.


  3. Just about to buy this...thanks for the helpful review.

    1. Enjoy! I hope you get as much out of it as I did.