The Importance of Originality

Preston Bailey Originality Unique

A client of mine recently made a very interesting observation. She said she was surprised by how many event designers were doing such similar work; the portfolios she was shown often had the same sleek, modern look. They were all beautiful, but they all lacked originality. She even jokingly asked if there was an annual design convention where we all got together and decided on one style.

I think there are a few reasons why this might be happening:

1. We’re eager to follow new trends.
2. We’re bombarded with images of other designers’ work on the internet and on television.
3. The sleek, modern look is much easier and less expensive to pull off. The fewer the flowers, the lower the cost.

But regardless the reasons, I think my client’s observation is an important reminder to all of us that we need to work diligently to maintain our own design integrity.

Dear Readers, do you agree with my client? Do you feel like a lot of designers are doing the same thing? Do designers embrace the minimalist style because it’s cheaper?

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  • Tawsha – Wedding Preview Event

    I absolutely agree! I love that you posted about this. I’m a fan of thinking outside the box. No matter how many years pass, the high school mentality still seems to take up space in our heads. It’s not easy to step away from the crowd or what “works” but when you do there are so many more rewards (and immense pride). Agh! Love! I wish more people would feel this way.

  • Stacey Broder, WPICC, Flõw Events

    I think a lot of designers do the same thing because of fear. You are more vulnerable when putting out a totally original work. Fears of ” not being good enough” and “what if they don’t like it (read: me)” creep in. I think we all need to have more faith in ourselves and an our artistic abilities and trust that there is always a client out there who is seeking our own design style.

  • Abigail

    Today no one takes the time today to construct cathedrals… We live in stores and motels (Zygmunt Bauman) An idea needs time to develop and no one is willing to wait, no one is willing to think. And the money part? Minimalistic needs good and fine vases, elements, and they are not cheap. I think is just a lack of creativity. And I have to finish in Spanish: “Ser original es en cierto modo estar poniendo de manifiesto la mediocridad de los demás” (Ernesto Sábato).

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Ramona

    I look forward to your blog and topics so much. They inspire me and i have found themthe topic with myself and designer friends. I sometimes struggle with how original my thoughts and ideas are. Sometimes i must drag my clients kicking and screaming along to new terratory. In the end everyone is always pleased. Lately i have been attarcting clients who seek out my ecentic style. I just love it! SHINE and they will come.

  • Vanessa Alce (I Love My Planner)

    Your client is totally right! I remember walking into my first bridal show and thinking Wow I’m not doing any of this. There were so many vases with pink LED lights with submerged flowers. I’m glad we were different. It was noticed and commented on. Don’t get me wrong! I like the LED lights and all the cool stuff that can be done. However, I don’t want to be another one creating a similar look.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Gloria

    A couple of thoughts…
    It often takes a really creative client to appreciate and understand a creative design. It takes one to know one.
    Re: minimalism. To really BE minimalist the materials must either be of aesthetic interest in and of themselves or very high quality. Minimalism require also requires PERFECTION. It requires perfect proportions, excellent materials, geometric precision and flawless and invisible execution. Not so easy to do. It’s not nearly as forgiving as more traditional design, where a few more flowers and smushing some table draping can his a multitude of imperfections and be completely charming
    All my best, Preston…

  • Adriana Santos

    I totally agree!… I am starting my own wedding planner business and I think that all of us can give an excellent service, beeing professional, helpfull, etc but what really makes the difference is our personal touch, event design, trying different things for the couple and working hard every day in creating our own touch.
    It is hard because we all see the same tv shows, magazines, blogs, etc but I think creativity is our biggest tool to work, let’s have fun working!

  • Savannah Page

    Great topic, Preston.

    I think when it comes to trends, then yes a lot of designers’ work will start to look the same or at least lack originality. Trends are trends for reasons. We all want to give the people what they want so they’ll hire us.

    But the real trick to being a creative and fabulous artist is to work with the trends and still find a way to make that originality stamp– that “you” trademark.

    Perhaps the reason why a lot of “minimalist” or “modern” designs are popular is because it’s easier and cheaper and could be less tough on the creative mind. (Sometimes we all like little breaks.) But we can’t get caught up in this mindset of “it’s easy and cheap.” If we do that what makes us stand out from the rest of the crowd? From the crowd of fellow designers and artists that we’ve been working our entire careers to set ourselves apart from and go above and beyond? We can’t get lax in our designs. Always finding ways to push the envelope or put our trademark stamp on each and every design is important. Mix a bit of exposing ourselves to the trends and what other artists are doing, answer the trend call, but approach with the idea that we’re going to make it better and a bit different…. It’s going to be the trend, Preston style….the trend, Savannah style. :)


  • Marisa

    I ran into this just this past weekend. We were walking around a bridal fair after setting up our booth and I started to panic, my designs were so different than all the other florists. I started to question my ability, my design aesthetic, my knowledge. But as soon as the brides started complimenting my designs and saying things like “That’s exactly what I want for my tables,” I started to relax. I know that the other florists probably heard the same thing but it’s nice for people to like what you’ve created and know that’s it’s really yours, not just a different version of everybody else’s design.

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