Last week I undertook a KLC exercise to create a personal style board. I don’t actually have to do this exercise as it’s from the more recent version of the course than the one I’m doing. However I decided to do it anyway as I thought it would help me nail down the direction of my flat redecoration and give me more confidence in my design choices and individuality. I thought that it would be the next logical step after the Tumblr analysis I did last July (see here for the post I wrote on that).
The brief was to collect images that portray styles, colours, textures and forms that you are drawn to and to create a board that you feel defines you and your taste. Before I started collecting images I wrote in my journal how I felt about my style, good and bad. I added and discussed a few images I was drawn to. I also created a mind map of the things that I liked and then started collecting images.
Collecting images was easy as I already have very mature Tumblr and Pinterest accounts. The challenge for me was how to whittle them down to a manageable number. I created a (secret) Pinterest board and collated all the images that made the first edit. I tried to only select images that I really loved and that I felt represented a part of me. This second part is important, as I have a whole load of images that I really like, but that aren’t really my style or in colours that I am particularly drawn to. This is a bit like appreciating the handsomeness of a man but not actually fancying him. I ended up with about 30 images in total.
I then dragged all of the images into Photoshop and made them really small so that I could see a bird’s eye view of the entire collage. From here it was clear that some images just jarred, so I removed them.
I ended up with the version below, which I love as a board but I didn’t really feel that it represented ‘me’. It’s heavily themed around mediaeval, fairy tales and mythology, all of which I love, but that is just one small aspect of me. I started to think about clothes that I wear and the fabrics that I’m drawn to and realised that none of this was reflected on the board so I decided to scrap it and start again.
I went through the images again and only picked ones that tugged at my heart strings, the ones that meant something to me on a very personal level. Then all I had to do was remove some repetitions to ensure there was room for everything important to be on the board. Here’s what I ended up with.
I then mounted it on A3 mount board.
As part of the exercise I had to keep a record of which images I chose and why, and which images I discarded, and why.
The exercise was illuminating and useful. I had thought that my style was darker and stronger than this and so it was a surprise to find so much muted light blue. I do know however that for me the coolness needs to be enlivened by pinks, oranges or reds. I was also surprised to find how modern and un-English my style is. Around half of my images were of women, rather than ‘things’ such as handbags, cars, furniture, which stood out to me against many of the other boards I’ve seen. I found I was naturally drawn to images with blurred, soft edges, which I much prefer to hard, sharp borders.
The main themes I picked up from my board are: Feminine, Soft, Gentle, New York, Autumn, Nature, Modern, Graphical.
I always feel that my style is disparate and lacking in coherence and that I have no discipline when it comes to colour but this exercise has made me realise there is in fact a lot of consistency to what I like and that it does all go together, albeit with some tweaking and balance. I guess the fact that my Tumblr and Pinterest accounts stand well holistically is evidence of this.
The exercise has really helped enormously. I feel much more confident now in my own style and it has really helped me get a feel for how I want my flat to be. It’s not much use as a concept board as there’s far too much going on but it’s the important first step. I’d really recommend this exercise to anyone who’s underatking any kind of creative work but is unsure which direction to take.