I have now been blogging and running a creative business for 9 years! (is it just me or is that a bit crazy??) .
Despite having my own creative business for all that time, one thing I still struggle to settle with and feel at peace with is knowing my own style. As a designer, when you are constantly working on different styles to suit different clients and therefore as I explore a lot of different styles through work, it can be hard to settle on my own personal style and say ‘this is me’ ‘this is my personal style’. It’s like having constant identity crisis, because I don’t simply stick to ‘me’ in all my work, my job is to tailor make designs to suit other peoples styles, not my own.
But when it comes to my personal work, brand identity and personal style (dress and home) it seems much harder to identify and settle than it is to identify a clients look for a job. I know a lot of designers will outsource their own brand design for this very reason. When you love so many things and design of many kinds excites you, knowing how to present yourself without looking like a higgled piggled mix match mess that changes their mind regularly can be hard.
In my early years of business, if I was interviewed I often described my style as feminine, textured, nostalgic, delicate, soft, and fun. If you google me and look at images, this is exactly what you see I started out making bright fun feminine bags and textiles and then branched out into soft feminine artwork and graphics with texture and a sort of delicate grunge.
Over the years, as I have grown as a person and a designer, as my life has changed, as I have gone from single student living in Sydney with my parents trying to work out what I want to do after studying, to married and living in the country, freelancing full time to then a mother, my style has slowly changed with me. My style has been a reflection of my own self discovery and growth, finding my own identity, desires, dreams and lifestyle.
And so now at 30, I feel I am better getting to know me and my style and feeling a little less haphazard. So I thought, seeing as designing for yourself is one of the hardest things, I would do a little series on finding your own style, and really break down my own style (make my own style guide as such). It is something I do with all my clients in order to work on their brands and websites, so why not show people how to do it for themselves and also help myself hone in too.
While it can be easy to imitate the style of someone you admire or who you see is having great success with their style, true success and great brand identity (whether branding yourself, your business or just your Instagram account) will come from discovering your own true identity and style, that is core and true to who you are, what you stand for and what really tugs at your own heart strings. It’s your guiding compass to your work and everything you showcase to the world. And when you really know it and own it, the world will say ‘that’s so YOU’ not oh that looks a bit like ‘so and so’ or ‘not another one like that’. It will give you direction in all business decisions, because everytime you see something or have an idea, you can go back to ‘but is that me, is that true to my identity, or do I just simply like the idea of it, or simply trying to jump the bandwagon of what is in right now.’
The first step to originality and trend setting (not just mindless trend following ) is finding your own unique style.
So stay tuned as I guide you (and myself) through.
In the series: