Coralie Bickford-Smith – our inspirational designer

We love fashion. We love design. However, we didn’t choose to pick one of our favourite fashion designer for this series. Instead we found our designer inspiration elsewhere. 

A couple of months ago, whilst we were researching a special project we found ourselves browsing the shelves of various book stores. 

We are fans of pages rather than pixels – which could be down to our love of paper and all things printed – and something that caught our eye was the incredibly beautiful book covers on display. This made us research someone in particular, Coralie Bickford-Smith. You may not be aware of this self proclaimed ‘pattern obsessed’ designer, but we’re sure you’ll be familiar with her work.

The now London based designer who graduated from Reading University with a degree in Typography and Graphic Communications is currently the in-house designer for Penguin – and we can certainly see why. Bickford-Smith is a designer, illustrator and author, most recently she has had her latest book published with Penguin ‘The Fox and the Star’ which has already been tipped by Time Out as one of the Top 100 children’s books.

We’ve read that one of her own favourite children’s authors is Enid Blyton, a personal favourite of ours too. The many adventures of the Famous Five, The Magic Faraway Tree and The Enchanted Forest can instantly take us back to our childhoods, each story (and cover) packed with imagination and creativity. 

One project of Bickford-Smith’s that really interested us was the clothbound series of Penguin classics. This stunning set of covers hark back to good old fashioned book binding (she herself refers to this as the ‘golden age of book binding). In this series her creativity is boundless.

Through a pleasing array of colours and repetitive patterns, each with it’s own two tone design, she has created a now world renown collection.

As Bickford-Smith says the  ‘…titles explore my obsession to create beautiful, timeless artefacts for people to enjoy, cherish and pass on. Sumptuous, tactile books that evoke a rich heritage of bookbinding while retaining fresh appeal to modern readers; that both stand out in bookshops and have a longevity appropriate to the contents’. 

The repetitive patterns, outlines and designs certainly inspire us. We think we’ll be looking to Bickford-Smith’s work next time we need to develop a concept in order to keep it simple, stylish and on trend. 

To learn more about Coralie Bickford-Smith check out her website