The Importance and Neglect of Taste

I have absolutely fallen down the well of COMPLETELY FREE and amazing master classes being offered all over the Internet right now.

I’m not too picky about topics, I love listening to people speak about the things they have a passion for, so whether it’s photography or the stock market, I’m tuning in. I can say though, I find myself gravitating towards the ones meant to teach creatives how to create cash flow.

The quality of the classes themselves vary, some are excellent and some are thinly veiled sales pitches lead by creatives attempting to create their own cash flow and making big promises. But across the board, I have noticed that they all fail to touch on one thing.

Taste.

Taste is subjective, sure. But you either have it or you don’t.

What is taste? Well it’s the thing that stops you from pouring half a container of sprinkles onto each cupcake. It’s the voice inside your head that lets you know when two patterns coordinate or clash. A slightly different interpretation of the word is what stops you from live blogging your Pap smear.

It’s your personal color pallet married to your sense of restraint. And it’s the thing that will make or break your career as a creative. And it absolutely can’t be taught.

Every so often I see something, a single piece or a body or work and I am blown away, maybe not by how much I like it personally, but by how clear the perspective behind it is. That’s taste.

These two pages are completely different but both have a strong creative vision behind them. One that I am much better at noticing then I am at replicating.

I understand it would be bad business for someone selling help to announce that half their demographic is beyond helping, but lucky for me all I’m peddling these days is cold hard truths.

Taste is what separates those who will succeed in the creative field from those who won’t. And it’s unfortunate because failure in this community is too often pinned on not manifesting your own success hard enough. Unfair.

I’ve already said that taste can’t be taught and I stand by that but it can be honed, if you are willing to be self aware.

When I was 17 in culinary school I struggled with plating design because I was a baby child (TM) and I thought that the molten chocolate cake from Applebee’s was the height of luxury.

  • Broadening your horizons is the first step to developing your own sense of taste and being willing to turn a kind but critical eye onto your own work is the second.
  • In the absence of taste, or during the long years where you have to grind and wait for it to develop naturally, I have an easy list for cheaters.

    1. Your first saving grace is trends. Trends are a cross section of what the gen-pop has accepted as being ‘in good taste’. Take it and experiment with it. That is how the next trend will emerge after all.

    2. Your second absolute best friend is cleanliness. If it can’t be inherently pretty at least make it clean which is pleasing enough to the eye that you could trick almost anyone.

    3. For the slightly more advanced learner, identify your color pallet. It can be neon. It can run from black to white through grey and blue. It can run from white to brown through rouge and purple. It might be inspired by a single flower or the way your lovers eyes look in the morning light. But it will help to have one. If you are into photography or design, buy props that fit within it. If you are into branding and decor find a neutral back drop and let it shine. Anything you do, run your colors through it and over time, it will begin to look like yours.

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