This was a great year for pattern sourcebooks, and I don’t think it can get better than the new series from The Victoria & Albert Museum. The first series, available individually or as a box set, includes the Fifties, Indian Florals, Digital Pioneers, and William Morris. (The second series is available for pre-order
— it will include 19th century architect and designer Owen Jones, Novelty Patterns, Secret Gardens, and Kimonos.)
Each hardcover book contains around 70 gorgeous, iconic patterns and includes a short introduction to their historical significance. Readers of this site will likely be most interested in the Fifties, which includes patterns from the leading British and international artists designers of the time: Lucienne Day, Robert Stewart, Marion Mahler, Terence Conran, Frank Lloyd Wright, Picasso, Joan MirÃ³, and many more.
Included with each book are CDs of high-resolution .jpg files. All images are free to use for personal projects, but note that they are not in repeat and would have to be edited or re-worked if you wanted to use them as tiled patterns. As they are, they will print up to approximately A5 paper size (8.25″ x 5.75″). The possibilities are nearly endless, and these books should hold a place of honor on any designer’s shelves.