Episode #124
Developing The Style

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Is a style for a designer a good thing to cultivate, or a bad thing?

Music and links from this episode

  1. Trampled by P C III
  2. Waitng by Ars Sonor
  3. In curtains by J Hacha de Zola

Line-by-line notes

  1. I’ve always been heavily conflicted as a designer
  2. I’ve never really thought I fit in with what lots of other designers think of themselves
  3. I love designing things, and I love coding things
  4. I love technical stuff as much as design stuff
  5. But I call myself a designer
  6. That puts me in a weird no mans land with lots of designers
  7. And the other thing I’ve never had
  8. Is an outright style as a designer
  9. Let’s talking about designer’s styles for a bit
  10. This is AADA, and I’m Craig Burgess
  11. MUSIC
  12. Style
  13. Having a style works for lots of things
  14. This podcast, has a style
  15. A model may have a particularl style
  16. And a singer usually sings in a certain way or style
  17. It’s still a weird thing to me to associate with design though
  18. In design, you should be producing the work that’s most appropriate for the situation
  19. Regardless of personal preference, and style
  20. Maybe I’m being a little idealistic
  21. After all, we all have styles, whether they’re carefully cultivated or not
  22. We all have go to typefaces, or colour combinations that we like
  23. We all have styles of photos that we like and layouts that we think work best
  24. All this stuff builds up a style
  25. And at first, this style is an unconscious thing for most people
  26. Eventually though, a designer twigs on and starts to make more work like their other work
  27. And this is where things get weird for me
  28. Because I genuinely don’t understand this bit
  29. Why, as a designer, would you ever want to suddenly start making the same work using the same methods, over and over?
  30. I understand the idea of niches, and how you can make a lot of money if you stick to a niche
  31. I get all the commercial reasons
  32. I just don’t get the personal reasons
  33. To me, once you’ve settled on a style, that’s it
  34. You’re developing a designer as far and wide as you could be any more
  35. You’ve decided you’re going to sit in a very particular box
  36. And you’ll continue to do your work from inside that box
  37. For me, I love making all sorts of things in all different styles
  38. I relish the challenge of producing a brand for something I’ve never done before
  39. Or designing something in a style I’ve never even considered
  40. They’re all interesting challenges to me
  41. And as I take on things like that I become a better designer
  42. But if you suddenly develop your style, you don’t really get any of that opportunity anymore
  43. To some extent, the people commissioning the work are to blame
  44. They’ll go hunting on behance and pinterest and look for things that fit their new ad campaign
  45. Then they’ll find something, go to the original designer, and ask them to do the same thing again but for their campaign
  46. “In their style”
  47. This usually happens when somebody becomes known for a particular piece of work
  48. And they’ll find themselves—if they’re not careful—recreating the same piece of work over and over again
  49. In different scenarios for different people
  50. Some designers embrace that challenge
  51. And I guess on some level, restricting yourself to one style presents a different kind of design challenge to being able to do what you want
  52. But at its very core
  53. The idea of designers have a particular style
  54.  And developing that style
  55. And then reproducing that style over and over for different clients
  56. I don’t understand on a human level
  57. We all have an innate design to keep improving, to keep getting better at things
  58. And working as a designer producing work of a particular style makes it harder to improve all the time
  59. It’s a bit like being a football goalkeeper with a hand tied behind your back
  60. It’s possible, but it’ll be twice as hard to get good at it
  61. I don’t intend this to be an episode of me bashing designers who have a style
  62. Some of my favourite designers have styles
  63. People like James White of Signalnoise and The Designers Republic to name just two
  64. But I wanted to question the value of having a style as a designer
  65. And why I don’t think it’s the best way to go if you hunt for continued improvement like I do
  66. And if you’re curious as a designer, and like trying new things out a lot
  67. Having a style just doesn’t work
  68. MUSIC
  69. This was AADA, and I’m Craig Burgess
  70. Music featured in this episode was:
    1. Trampled by P C III
    2. Waitng by Ars Sonor
    3. In curtains by J Hacha de Zola
  71. For a line by line run down of this episode go over to askadesigneranythingdotcom/ep124
  72. I’m back tomorrow

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