Create variety from limited choices

As a graphic designer, I constantly create designs within a set of limited branding guidelines. Creating variety from a minimal selection of colour, style and font options often hones my skills to experiment with variations on a theme.

This is no different to creating variety from a limited wardrobe.

With a previous habit for just buying into the trends each season, I wondered how I could put some of my design methodologies into practise with my current wardrobe. The following design guidelines help me create interest and variation.

Size variation

I like to combine different sized items to create contrast. For example, an oversized top over tight skinny jeans/pants, or a floaty skirt with a tucked in slimline tank are two of my favourite combinations. Here’s a couple of examples from my summer 2016 wardrobe:

Colour harmonies and schemes

Experiment with different colour harmonies using a colour wheel to help mix and match complementary, analogous, triad, split complementary or other colour schemes. I use a 12 point RYB (red, yellow, blue) colour wheel. Tints of a chosen monochromatic colour scheme (including shades of black) also work well.


Download the colour harmonies and schemes PDF as a handy reference.

Here are some other outfits I have put together using different colour harmonies:IMG_1907-with-colour-wheel

Don’t follow design trends to the letter

Create your own style by taking a concept from the season and referencing it through colour, style or texture with something already owned. This is where drawing inspiration from those campaign e-newsletters and seasonal brochures from your favourite brands comes in handy.

Keep things simple

Clean, functional pieces will create a timeless and stylish look. As with creating graphic design work, if I come up against a design challenge where I am forcing a concept to work or over-complicating it, I just step away and start taking away elements to create clean lines. I try to apply the same concepts to outfit dilemmas where I am over-complicating it by e.g. adding too many accessories. Keep it simple.

Declutter Kate

2 thoughts on “Create variety from limited choices

  1. Hi Kate,
    This is amazing! I was looking for a free color wheel for my branding ebook. But I stumbled upon your color wheel and fell in love with how you use color wheel for fashion color combo. It’s a shame that although I’m using color wheel a lot for my fabric pattern design, I never used it for my daily wear.
    I would like to use the color wheel image for my free e-book and will link it back to you. If you don’t mind and have any note on the usage, please let me know. Will be glad if you say yes!

    Thanks! ❤


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