Establishing a Design Style, or Stuck in a Rut?

  • Midway through a logo design project, I realised that the style I was working in, was visually similar to the last logo I designed. For the last decade as a graphic designer, the concept of having a personal style has eluded me. I could see that my work was generally minimalist.

    But a style? Or even a niche? That was for illustrators. Or those creatives who did artistic things with caravans or taxidermy. My work is corporate. A lot of people like it and I always hoped one day I’d get to work with a solicitor. No-nonsense, functional, business-first design.

    Back to the task in hand. A minimalist line-drawn logo. The last one I did was well received by the client and my online following. Is this my style, or am I becoming a one trick pony?

    The new logo was looking good, so I ran with it. Thankfully, the client loved it too.

    Now here’s the quandary, what do I do next? Perhaps I should intentionally create anything but that style. However, my business brain whispers that clients come to me for my aesthetic. They have expectations. If my next logo is delivered by the medium of cross-stitch, I’ll have explaining to do.
    A fair compromise would be to challenge myself in other areas. Use a font which I normally would not (hello there, serifs). Select a colour palette which borders on the edge of insanity. Find inspiration from somewhere unexpected. These variables would ensure I progress without needing to reject the thing I do well. As long as the client's needs are met, perhaps getting there by the long road will be better for us both.\

    Grace Abell is a graphic designer in York. She’s designed for Royal Mail and National Geographic, but she wishes she had designed a Rolling Stones album cover. See more of her work here.