The Interview: Tricia Guild of Designers Guild

Famed for her use of colour and flair for combining pattern, we interview Designers Guild founder, Tricia Guild, about her style inspirations and brand beginnings.


The Interview

Tricia Guild, the creative director and founder of Designers Guild, is known all over the world for her fresh and exciting use of colour and pattern. Since she opened her first shop in 1970, Tricia Guild has been living and breathing design and is renowned for her endlessly inspiring collections which feature vibrant shades, intricate patterns and the highest possible quality materials. We speak to the design maven about the Designers Guild journey and her passion for colour in her personal and professional life…

How did Designers Guild begin?

It is strange to think, but when I started my shop on King’s Road, there was really no concept of ‘lifestyle’ as we know it today. I had this idea to present a lifestyle that could offer a sense of informality with a contemporary yet decorative look: I always think it’s so much easier when people can see the evidence of how something works visually by touching and feeling the products. With this in mind, I began with just a few items that I put together, it was a small business with a small amount of money, but it was so rewarding when I found that it seemed to work for people – I realised that I had found my passion and drive.

Tricia Guild interview - Designers Guild blue cushions

I then started researching textiles to use in my shop and for projects I was working on, but felt so frustrated at the lack of designs that I felt inspired by. This led me to designing the first collection, which was a set of Indian block prints, and I have continued from that point to where we are today. Much has changed in terms of the size and scale of our business yet the concept has always remained the same – to offer beautiful products for the home that are of the utmost quality, and this is what I passionately strive for.

Q: Where do you think your passion for design comes from? A: For as long as I can remember, colour has played a vital role in my life and I was fortunate to enjoy a liberal upbringing, which really encouraged me to discover and explore my own sense of creativity. As a result I became aware of my ability to trust my own instinctive response to the visual world around me, I think that this is what led me towards a creative path.

Tricia Guild interview - Designers Guild Willow Blossom Lemon Rug

Q: Designers Guild is known for its wonderful use of colour and pattern, what is it you love about bringing colour into an interior? A: Colour is essential and adds its own vocabulary, personality and vitality to your interior space. Shades of the same palette, tones of neutrals, contrasts, accents and texture combine together to bring soul into the heart of a space.

Q: How do you think colour impacts on our moods? Is there a colour that never fails to lift your spirits? A: Colour is emotive and can hugely affect one’s mood within a space. I am often asked what my favourite colour is, and it is a question I find impossible to answer emphatically, because it very much depends on my mood. I do always use lots of black and white as I find it is a great counterbalance when using lots of colour and pattern. Green is also very prevalent; my hallways, kitchen and dining spaces all have walls in a vivid green shade, it’s a wonderful, almost living colour. I think it works so well as it is so evocative of nature.

Tricia Guild interview - Designers Guild throws

I believe we all have our own, personal colour sense, it‘s just a case of tuning into it. I would suggest spending some time discovering what emotional reactions you have towards certain colours – do they make you feel restful, invigorated, happy or sad?

Q: How can people find a balance when they are bringing colour into their interior? A: I am known for my use of strong, confident tones but in my opinion, what makes my colourful creations work is the way in which each design is carefully balanced with a palette of whites and neutrals. A careful use of lighter accent tones works as a colour-counterbalance, preventing the more vivid tones from becoming too overwhelming whilst still controlling the strength of design in perfect harmony.

Q: Would you say that it is easier to bring colour and pattern into some rooms than others? A: No, not at all, I don’t think it is something that one can approach with a fixed rule, because it is such a personal choice and each space is unique.

Q: What kind of feel do Designers Guild designs create in the home? A: We have a huge range of collections so hopefully there is something for everyone to help them create their own dream room – whether that is colourful and patterned or a pared back, more simple space.

Tricia Guild interview - Designers Guild wallpaper

Q: Which other designers do you admire? A: Matisse, I.M. Pei, Gaudí – there are many to choose from!

Q: Are there any other areas of design that you would like to work in? A: I am passionate about my work and have a great fascination for the alchemy that occurs in the creative process of designing collections. Each thread of colour is considered, each pattern is important, the placement of every stripe, petal, ikat and even subtle shading can radically alter the feel of a design. I tend to work instinctively and the designs grow organically as a result. From more dramatic large-scale florals, abstract ikats and flowing damasks, to geometric small-scale stripes and checks, subtle ombres and shaded patterns – all these details bring a point of interest and personality to a design. I don’t think I can imagine doing anything else.

Q: How would you describe your own style? A: My own style is original, contemporary and innovative.

Tricia Guild interview - children's collection

Q: Is there a particular palette of colours you really love to work with? A: I work with a broad colour palette of vital colours so it is difficult to choose just one. I would say that black and white is a timeless combination, and one that I use almost as a neutral as it brings harmony and balance to colour.

Q: What other pieces do you like to bring into your home’s interior? A: My own home is very much about a mix, there are clean contemporary lines and modern pieces of furniture combined with vintage items and treasured finds….and of course lots of Designers Guild products!

Q: What do you like about working with Houseology? A: Houseology has a unique understanding of what we do and a wealth of knowledge about modern design and contemporary living.

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