Have your ever heard of the Five Languages of Love? If not you can find out about it here. Well here in my house we all know that my No 1 understanding of love is Gifts (I know I sound shamelessly materialistic but there you go!)

And so it was one day that my sweet husband came home with this book, just because… what a man! It’s beautifully designed, interesting and inspiring – the book that is 😉

Orla talks about how her childhood has shaped and affected her creativity, especially her taste in colour which has been influenced by growing up in coastal Ireland. I didn’t know anything about her rise to fame and success and so it was interesting to read her biography.

She explains how she collates inspiration in many ways, from many sources (which was also said on the ABSPD course too.) Orla’s tastes are Mid Century Modern and graphic and she finds inspiration through magazines, postcards, spontaneous photo opportunities and trawling junk shops. On keeping a sketch book she says ” This is as much about learning how to look as it is about creating a resource of imagery that might suggest various avenues of exploration to be fruitfully pursued at a later date…You never know when it might be useful.” And that IS good advice I’m learning.

Orla Kiely has a unique eye for colour which married with her signature prints makes something unique to her. I didn’t realise that Stem print was about 10 years old and that every season they play with colours and textures to up date it and say something new. It’s amazing that a relatively simple design idea has got such versatility. It will truly be iconic of our generation.

I found Orla’s approach to designing quite restrained and planned but she says “Colour is an incredibly powerful element in design, as it is in life. A short cut to the emotions, it is almost visceral in the way it connects with our moods and feelings. A poppy-red scarf wrapped around your neck on a grey November morning warms your spirits as surely as it keeps out the cold.”

It’s often the way when a designer becomes a big brand, that it’s the tip of an iceberg that has been growing for many years. And so it was fascinating to read the Orla Kiely story through from their small beginnings.