Do you have a style? Does a designer need to have a set style?

Now this title is not to be confused with ‘do you have style’ as that is a completely different topic and one that I probably won’t enter into!

I question as a designer whether you need to have a set style for the designs you create?  I am currently creating a brand new website which I want to be more personal and not have that ‘off the shelf’ look. It is a big job, lots to consider and I am finding it quite challenging as I have come to the conclusion that I do not seem to have a set style other than I like colour. I have noticed over the past year, that a lot of designers do have a set style and I feel slightly worried that I don’t or that it isn’t immediately obvious! My style seems to reflect my mood, my feelings and the way my brain flicks from one thing to the next in a second. Do you think you need to have a set style to succeed?


This is a snapshot of some of my designs, it is still a work in progress as I am not happy with how it looks but I wanted to share this image as it is an image that sums up my feelings about having a set style. From this image, I cannot conclusively tell you what my style is. Bold or ditsy, geometric or abstract, retro or modern and the list goes on. Maybe this is the lesson I am learning as I develop as a designer, maybe I need to experiment more and then, and only then will my style become more recognisable.

With that in mind, here is a bit of my experimenting with a photo a took a few weeks ago of river grass.

River Grass

I took this photo and created a seamless repeat pattern which I got printed onto cotton.

Grass (1 of 1)

I actually really like how this printed, the greens are stunning and it is really nicely balanced.

snowdrops1 (1 of 1)

This is my Snow Drops collection printed on cotton, again, it printed out beautifully and I was very happy with it. However, you can see how my style is not set in stone, from grass to tiny snow drops which technically is a similar topic, flora and fauna, but the design techniques and looks are so different. Is this a bad thing I do wonder?

Finally I wanted to share a couple of photos I took last week when I went for a quick walk in the woods for some inspiration gathering although at the time of taking the photos, I felt very uninspired by the surroundings however, once I got home and had a look at the photos, I saw them in a different light.

Toadstool1 (1 of 1)

Reflections (1 of 1)

I will definitely do a blog post when my website is up and running, it has been a work in progress for quite some time but I do want it to go live in November. I will keep working, questioning, searching and hopefully finding my own style in the process. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this, does a designer/creative need to have a set style, one that defines his or her work?

About Melanie Paul

Welcome, I am Melanie, a freelance surface pattern designer and mum of two gorgeous children. This blog is a journey of discovery and appreciation into the world of arts, crafts, design and everything in between. I keep everything real and honest in everything I do. I hope you enjoy reading and please do comment or share, if you share, please link back accordingly.
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4 Responses to Do you have a style? Does a designer need to have a set style?

  1. Elizabeth - Lili & Mum's says:

    I don’t think it is necessary for a designer to have a set style, partially because styles often go ‘out of style’ or just get old (think Vera Bradley…too much of the same thing, in my opinion). I like how varied your designs are and how you let your moods and things that inspire you dictate your prints. I suppose for a website you would want it to look cohesive, so you might want to choose your favorite style and go with that.

    • Thank you for your wonderful comments, they are really helpful. I must admit I hadn’t even heard of Vera Bradley, so I had to look it up and I see what you mean. I agree, I think for the website, it needs to be more cohesive so I will work on that. I woke up in the night with more ideas, my brain doesn’t seem to want to stop sometimes!! Thanks again, your comments are much appreciated. 🙂

  2. Jane Jones says:

    I was talking about this very subject with my husband recently and eventually came to the conclusion that if you define your own style you will inevitably be restricted by it. Your beautiful designs tell stories that have come from your life. Your life will therefore define your style – it can be as varied as your opportunities. Good luck and keep up the good work! I really enjoy reading your blog.

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