Designing to the Grid begins with a brief overview of Colenbrander's career as a carpet design. It proceeds to list and discuss all of the major publications about Colenbrander up to the current time.
Most writings about Colenbrander's work as a carpet designer have documented the surviving designs, the history of his career, the factories at which he worked, and possible influences on his work. Less attention has been paid to the techniques he developed to aid in the production of his designs. Two of this author's writings on Colenbrander have examined these techniques, and the present publication includes further technical analyses. Colenbrander's use of point paper, his generation of corner motifs, his and innovative use of motif repetition to generate repeating patterns are presented in detail. Other essays include his use of collage in carpet design and the use of a single motif to create a rule-based design.
Almost all of the surviving original carpet designs have been documented in previous publications. There is, however, very little information about the carpets themselves. A number of carpets, often in poor condition, have been preserved, but they are scattered among public and private collections and are largely inaccessbile. Contemporaneous publications included carpets of which no examples have been preserved, and information about them is difficult to obtain. As a result, the Colenbrander designs found on surviving carpets often have gone unrecognized. This is demonstrated by the fact that some of his carpets have appeared in galleries and auctions in recent years, but they were not recognized as such.
The present publication intends to remedy this deficency by presenting detailed information about all known Colenbrander carpets. Surviving carpets are illustrated; carpets and designs that were published during Colenbrander's lifetime but no longer exist are described as fully as possible. Five original designs that have not been previously published are reproduced. In addition, a number of carpets that can be attributed to Colenbrander are also included.