03.05.15
Bonnie Siegler | Dear Bonnie

Distressed in Dix Hills

Dear Bonnie,

Is it better to have a personal style or be more adaptable in your design? Unintentionally, all my work has a similar feeling, brought on by my own tastes and influences. I'm concerned that having a style or leaning one way in my design aesthetic might prevent me from getting more diverse projects.
 
How much personality should come through in your design? 

Distressed in Dix Hills


Dear D.H.,

Oh, if only there were just two options. This is what I would call a false choice. The two options you are considering—having a personal style vs. being more adaptable—are not mutually exclusive. In fact, both of these things, whether we like it or not, exist in all graphic design (both good and bad). 

Graphic design is a commercial art, and working for clients requires adaptability. At the same time, each of us can’t help but have SOME kind of personal style. Whenever there is a project in which well-known designers solve the same problem (designing one in a series of posters for an event, for example), their “style” usually comes through. Enough so that you may well be able to guess who designed what, even though each design may be perfectly “adapted” for the event. And this is not a bad thing. It simply represents the way each of our minds works and how that gets translated through words and pictures.

Additionally, it is extremely difficult to force yourself to think a certain way or be any kind of artist other than the one you naturally are. A more valuable exercise might be to try and figure out what it is you do best and what it is you enjoy doing most, and expand on that. I think it’s safe to say that all of us have tried at one time or another to be more like Paul Rand or more like Cipe Pineles. You can definitely be inspired by them, but their style is theirs and theirs alone. You have yours. Let your force be with you.


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Comments [1]

Your very own Michael Bierut has answered this one right here already – on the money, as always: http://designobserver.com/article.php?id=36718
gino di meo
03.06.15
08:52



Bonnie Siegler Bonnie Siegler is an award-winning graphic designer. She is the founder of Eight and a Half, a multidisciplinary design studio based in New York, and before that, was the co-founder of Number Seventeen. She got her degree at Carnegie Mellon University, has taught in the graduate design programs at Yale University, RISD, and the School of Visual Arts and was the 2014 Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts at the University of Hartford.

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