Is it possible to detach from your personal taste?

over 4 years ago from , Head of User Experience

For me as a designer, the biggest daily challenge is to try to detach from my personal taste and preferences when working on a new project. Is it even possible? How do you deal with it?


  • Kemie GuaidaKemie Guaida, over 4 years ago

    Not completely. A good designer will create a design in function of the brand they want to represent and the audience they want to reach, that is always the most important guiding principle in erms of aesthetics. But within these constraints, your taste will always play a part, so even if you're creating something that is not "your style" you'll still be using your taste in your choice of colors, fonts, layout, etc, so it will still have some of you in it. And that's as is should be.

    10 points
    • Account deleted over 4 years ago

      This exactly what I think and I would like to add one more.

      I don't think having a distinct personal style is a bad thing, in fact, it's a good thing. What I believe having different tastes is like spice for the dish. In a good amount and harmony, it ends up with distinct and unique results. But the amount is extremely important. If you can't adjust the spice could taste like a burnt croissant.

      and yes, it's possible. you can completely detach from your personal taste but it'll be boring and demotivating for the individual. For me, when do such a thing, even financial excel sheets become more fun rather than designing.

      7 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 4 years ago

    How do you deal with it?

    Lean in to it. Taste is a good thing. :D

    8 points
    • Dan SimDan Sim, over 4 years ago

      Yeah I think it makes for a much happier work life when you embrace what you do and let people come to you for it. Of course that takes time but it's very satisfying when someone comes looking for what you would be fighting yourself to not do.

      2 points
  • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, over 4 years ago

    Somewhat disagree with what others are saying.

    Yeah - sure, I find it easy, actually. Doesn't mean I'm technically diverse enough to accomplish any style I want. Because there's plenty stuff I can't do.

    But can I take on someone's shitty art style? Yeah of course. It's all about consistency. Easy.

    Have a look at my Dribbble profile, tell me what you think.


    Is that diverse? Do you see a common style? Sure, some are repeated styles because they're from similar projects... but it's not like they're all clearly by the same person?

    Anyway, just my opinion of course. It's something I've tried to focus on during my career so far: producing as many styles as possible.

    3 points
    • Aaron Wears Many HatsAaron Wears Many Hats, over 4 years ago

      I'm actually with you Dirk.

      It's great to have your own tastes, your own style, and your own opinions on your work. But at the same time, if you're wanting to be a creative professional you need to be flexible enough to adapt to the needs and wishes of your client.

      For sure, sometimes you get hired due to your personal style. But often you are hired for your skillset, and especially with corporates you need to be able to detach and build the thing that's been scoped. I.e. try producing work for a client that's already spent half a million on a style guide, but use your style instead of theirs... See how that goes down.

      Like everything though, it takes practice. The longer you spend in the industry, the easier it gets.

      3 points
  • John PJohn P, over 4 years ago

    You'll learn to do this if you ever work in advertising because the clients change so often you're just forced to learn it.

    2 points
  • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, over 4 years ago

    This is a tricky one, though I don't think you should frame it as detachment.

    You're a human with an individual perspective based on your history and your chemistry. You work on projects with other humans, each with their own histories and chemistries and perspectives.

    This isn't a bug, it's a feature. Your taste is an element of your creativity, it doesn't only inform the look of your output, it informs where you get your influences from. As a collaborator your perspective is valuable to the people you're working with because you see the common problem in a way that they don't.

    In terms of working with a brand I think of my personal tastes as an athlete and the constraints of a brand as the rules of the sport were playing. Within the confines of a game of tennis the rules of that game doesn't stop an athlete from performing great and innovative feats.

    Use a brand as a platform on top of which to be creative instead of seeing it as a wall that is in opposition to your creativity.

    2 points
  • Oliver Swig, over 4 years ago

    Illustrators market style and get hired specifically for their style. Designers need to adapt to the needs of a client.

    If you are doing one specific style for everything you are basically an artist or illustrator.

    0 points
  • Brian HintonBrian Hinton, over 4 years ago

    The best solution I've found is to dive into a style that isn't definitively mine. I do this with tools like Niiice or Pinterest. The goal is to become the brand you are working on, and shape your work based on the needs to the project.

    0 points
  • OJ Quevedo, over 4 years ago

    If we dig deeper into personal taste - wouldn't that be a culmination of user insights, learnings experienced, industry best practice, and own aesthetic? If so, why aim to detach?

    0 points
  • Jan SemlerJan Semler, over 4 years ago

    I think it is difficult. Because everything you learn as a designer will influence what you see and do. You will always have your perspective on things.

    The best is to establish a way to see things like the user. Try to see things the way the user/target group is seeing it. This comes only with experience.

    The best way is to talk to your target group, understand their perspective on things and you will understand why this or that might or might not work.

    Tony Fadell the Designer of the iPod and Founder of Nest describes it really good how to get a new perspective on things and what to do with it.

    TED Talk of Tony Fadell

    0 points