Finding Your Personal Design Style

Designer David Clyde walks us through the creative design process.

Most people know what they don’t like, few people know what they do like and even fewer know why. Here are my steps for exploring, discovering, distilling and building upon your own unique sense of style and design:

1. Start a Design Journal

Start by getting a note book or an art pad and designating it as your design journal. A design journal is a working record that serves to help you discover and understand your own personal design style. A design journal is an ongoing dialog with yourself and a resource you can continually add to and draw from. [Visual Support – Physical example of a working design journal]

2. Open yourself to inspiration.

To be inspired we have to expose ourselves to new things and experience what the world has to offer and recognize the way these things make us feel. Look for inspiration beyond your next door neighbor’s house. A great place to start is by looking through design magazines, websites, blogs etc. discover things you have never seen before; examine them for things that speak to you in some way. Don’t limit yourself to brand specific catalogs as they are only a big advertisement from one point of view. I like to go through design magazines and websites that feature a variety of work from different designers and artists as they pull from many sources and life perspectives to create spaces that are unique and fresh.

Here are few magazines that I like and are easy to find:

• Architectural Digest

• Veranda

• Interiors

3. Seek Visual Inspiration

Clip or print the pictures and put them in your journal and jot next to them what is you like it may be a particular color combination, pattern, feeling you get or memory it evokes. Whatever it is it is personal to you and is key to identifying your style. If you like something but are not quite sure why still include it and come back to it later these are the fun mysteries we get to discover about ourselves and helps define our deeper sense of style.

4. See the unusual in usual things.

Don’t limit yourself strictly to design specific sources There are new beautiful things to discover everyday. Look at the everyday things around you with new eyes and ask new questions about old things, like what else could I use this for? If I arraigned these differently what would they look like? You will find that a simple change of perspective will create a new view of the world.

5. Generate and capture new ideas.

Once you start to understand why you find different things beautiful or inspiring you will naturally apply this knowledge to your own personal sense of being and begin to generate new ideas that are unique to only you. Write them down or draw them simply in your journal or snap a quick picture to preserve the process and look for ways to apply them to your life.

6. Break things up.

After a while your journal will begin to fill up with inspirations and your own ideas you now have the ability to sort and categorize these things in any way you want. You can break it up into rooms, colors, moods, shapes etc.

Now that you have a foundation . . .

Once you have begun to understand what it is you like and why you now have a solid foundation for building on basic design principles to influence the spaces around you improve the way you want to feel and how you want to live.

It is David’s belief that each project is an opportunity to provide a better result than his last project. With the experience and ability to design a space from the ground up there is no shortage of opportunity to become better and create something new every day.

David’s design experience ranges from residential, to commercial interior design and space planning as well as custom furniture and interior architectural design. David’s spaces are always fresh with something unexpected around every corner.

David’s work has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey show, HGTV and in the “O” at Home magazine as well as local television.

David is currently working as a designer with Ethan Allen in Sandy, Utah. You may see some of David’s work and contact him through his website:

Phone: 801-232-5653

or visit him at:

Ethan Allen

10390 S. State Street

Sandy, Utah 84070

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