This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
E. G. (Surbiton) writes: "Please tell me what is the best way to set about becoming a designer. I am a student at the Kingston Art School, and seem to have a slight taste for designing. I am rather in a fog as to the right way to set to work and the designs which are most in request." - What kind of design do you mean? A design must be made for some particular purpose - for instance, for metal-work, for stained glass, for china decoration, for book-binding, for a wall-paper, an oilcloth, a carpet, or silk manufacture - and the requirements of study vary in each case. As a preparation for any kind of applied design, however, elementary knowledge of geometrical drawing is needed, and a thorough acquaintance with flower and plant forms, shells and sea-weed, and the simpler of the forms in animal life. All these should, whenever possible, be studied directly from nature. Some acquaintance with the literature of art is essential - the fuller the better. Study especially the growth and development of decoration, as practised at different periods by different peoples, and, as all good ornament is founded on construction, learn at least the first principles of architecture. Take up the epochs in art that are famous, and master the leading characteristics of each particular style, especially the Celtic, the Gothic and the Renaissance. Having acquired some knowledge of the literature of art and a good deal of geometrical and plant and other natural forms, take up the study of .ornamental construction, with Lewis F. Day's useful little "Anatomy of Pattern" (Batsford) as a guide, and follow this with Gleeson White's "Practical Designing" (Geo. Bell & Sons), which will tell you how to make proper working drawings of your design and so increase the chances of it being acceptable to the manufacturer to whom you offer it. Practical knowledge of the application of design in certain branches of manufacture is only to be acquired through actual connection with the factory, and you should lose no opportunity that may present itself of " going over the works " and learning what you can from personal observation. Your desire-to know "the designs which are most in request" we fear is expressed too vaguely for us to be able to satisfy it.