Unique Style: A Designer's Perspective

One of the greatest challenges when you are starting a design career is the pursuit of your own unique style. As designers, we sometimes think that having a unique style may be the only way to achieve success in the design world, but is that true?

In my opinion, having your own style can help, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the only way to succeed in the design business. However, if you want to be known as an artist or a digital artist it might be the best way to go.

My idea of a designer is a professional that has the skills to interpret the necessities of an audience, and the goals of the project; to create efficient products. This professional has to be very versatile and able to create all sorts of styles depending on the target audience his design was created to reach; but also able to add a bit of his own style to this mix.

This question still lingers in my head without a clear answer and I know that lots of designers have the same doubt. Because of that I decided to ask the real pros in the field this difficult question.

In this post we will hear from designers and digital artists such as James White, Tom Lane, Jonathan Wong, Rik Oostenbroek, and many others their point of view on the importance of having your own style. Also I’d like to ask you to leave a comment with your own point of view. Your opinion will help us to understand our profession a bit better.

A BIG thank you to Justin Maller of depthCore and superlover, without whom this article would not have been possible.

Tom Lane - www.gingermonkeydesign.com

I think it's important to be known to do something well; like working with type, championing products, drawing beautiful people, photographic montage/manipulation etc. so that you're recognisable within the industry. Have a stand out approach that art directors and other clients can be confident in. Have confidence that you can fulfill their requirements with experience and a proven track record. Additionally, your unique talent is something you can monopolize so you can see increased financial gains from your whole skill set. However, I think it's important to not have a style that simply gets applied to a different product, brand, person or whatever. When that happens, regardless of the quality, I feel all the pieces just become too much of a reincarnation and they loose their power to communicate as I can't see past the style.

James White - www.signalnoise.com

Style should not be about the destination, but rather the journey. I think it is more important for artists and designers to try new things and follow their own path in terms of evolving their work. Touching on something unique happens naturally through trial and error, so I think it is more important for designers to push themselves to get better at what they do, and how they do it.

Guilherme Marconi - http://marconi.nu/

I think it's important for designers/artists/illustrators to have their own unique style. Thats why clients, agencies and the people that buy art always choose you. You have created a style that they want for their next ad, or on their walls at home. Besides that, there are more advantages. People see your work and they recognize that it is yours. Magazines want to publish your work because it has a unique style. That's my opinion. "Go and find your style because that will define your position in the market".

Radim Malinic | Brand Nu - www.brandnu.co.uk/

There seems to be a think line between understanding of styles and work signature. One can find themselves using tool 'invented' by someone else and developing that further. In
the tutorial generation, people are hungry to know how this or that is done, striving to know the technical solution to the visual outcome. Designers are like musicans. They
play by scales, we work by CMYK. If you love Jimmy Page it may inspire you to play guitar and but somehow differently. Later on you're developing your own style. Same could be
applied to the designer's styles. When you learn to walk the designer walk, you might look around and absorb the finesse lurking out there. It's then up to you how deep you make
your own mark. You could mimic others or just invent your own. Inevitably, if you wish to be successful it's essential to stand out from the crowd ... that's the most important

Jonathan Wong - www.artofwong.com

It is important in that is pays to be original and to be able to design something in a style that is completely distinctive to you.

Eric Sin - www.projectsd.net

Not important to have a consistent "Style", so to speak, but a good flow of unique ideas and a bit of distinction within your work.

Brian Smith - www.skynerve.com

A designer's style being important is totally irrelevant. The importance of the designer to express his or her self supersedes any particular style he/she chooses to adopt.

David Mondou-Labbe - www.m0oo.com

I believe it's the whole point of being a designer, giving perspective by showing different avenues of the same medium.

Karan Singh - www.wakeupmrsingh.com

It's essential to have your own style. Whilst it's cliché and marginally corny to say everyone is unique, your style translates this and sets you apart from others.

Christopher Haines - www.neondistractions.com

An artist's style is important in the sense that he or she doesn't fade into the background with every other artist out there. That being said, being able to constantly innovate and try new things is also the sign of a great artist.

Ehren Kallman - www.nnuvo.org/

I read somewhere that perfection is a cheap rip off of style? This is true.

Perttu Murto - www.perttumurto.com

I don't really believe such things like "style" when it comes to designers. I think designers should try to produce something what looks good to to them in that time of their life. It might be same "style" in some time period. However what's more important for designer is to produce designs which follow the client style/brand more than designers own style. That is a important skill. I am talking about designers here, not illustrators. It's bit different when you are going to produce personal artwork.

Kai Isselhorst - www.dopaminart.com

Its important to be able to adapt anything to the clients wishes. Sometimes that can be harder than being original in style. So in my opinion its both equivalent.

Rik Oostenbroek - www.secretshowcase.com

I guess the feeling for style is more important, the flow, feeling for composition and colours are the major things I care about whenever making something for a client or for someone else, most of the time they tell you what kinda style they want ( if it's your own style or something they saw somewhere else. )

For Personal works is your style really important I guess to show off( on your online portfolio ) a bit. To show people you could give them something unique, to be different from all the other designing people around.

Alexander Radsby - www.aeform.net

To be stuck with one unique style is for the most part a bad thing. I think that a good designer should be able to express his thoughts using the style that you've gained through experience. Always be open minded, open to new ways of thinking, new ways of working and be adapt to the current situation. If you are open minded, your ideas and influences will change and you and your style will change with it. It's all about experience. Versatile designers are the interesting designers.

Mike Harrison - www.destill.net

It's not too important, reason being that after a while a designer will achieve a style that they enjoy creating the most, and that is unique to them. But it's also important to experiment with many styles to keep you on your toes so you don't get too comfortable in one area.

Kervin Brisseaux - www.brisseaux.com

I'm starting to discover more and more these days that for the designer in general, the concern should be less about style and more about the concept. If you have an innovative way of thinking, the style shows through via the conceptual process.

Nick Delaney - www.vandal.nu

I feel like a unique style is important, but the way people think they develop one is completely wrong. A unique style in my opinion comes naturally when the designer has a unique concept/idea. A lot of designers feel the need to force a style, by trying to approach their design differently and non-traditionally after the concept has been decided. This however in my opinion is the wrong way to go about it, a unique style typically comes naturally and subconsciously when the designer has developed a unique concept/idea. If the designer has what it take's he or she should be able to develop that unique idea into a a visual which in turn takes on its own unique style. All in all though, having developed several unique concepts and styles makes being a designer easier because if not you'll be just another fish in a small pond which is already packed - and instinctively competing to be the best and most recognized of all the designers using and repeating that specific style.

Leigh Flurry - www.fontdeli.co.uk

To create something that is unique and has come from the soul and mind, means the world of difference in this ever evolving industry in which competition is stiff.

Ee Venn Soh - www.behance.net/vennsoh

I do think it is important for designer to have their own distinct style. The designers can try different approaches and techniques when experimenting. But eventually, the designer will find something he likes best and create something that can uniquely identify himself from others.

Bruno Fujii - http://illustplosion.com/

Reaching a level where your style becomes unique is very important. When the designer reachs it, he end up being a reference and he got known by it - that's a good thing, but it can be a tricky thing at the same time; since it's important to be versatile and able to analyze the project and create something good, regardless of the style.

Editor: David Parrott

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