Taste has been historically the most important factor in the production of design. It is the last in the social trinity of accepted social behaviour: Rules, Manners, and Taste. For example, it is a social Rule to acknowledge a guest in your home, say at a dinner party; it is good Manners to greet them; but it is left to Taste to greet them in a proper and pleasant manner; maybe offer them a beverage. Taste, which is inherent to each and every human being in their own unique way, was gradually turned into an ungraspable concept by a seemingly whimsical elite, that changed what “good” and “bad” taste was supposed to mean and be according to an ever changing, one-sided judgement of things. Taste was reserved for those who had the proper cultural associations.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.” Ira Glass
Taste has been what differed people between classes and defined social status.
It is what catalyzed the creation of the design profession itself: taste drives desire, desire drives production. The designer, since then, has appropriated himself of the production process through bringing meaning of his own into his work. It can define who we are and how we should behave.
“ But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.” Ira Glass
So how do you know if you have good taste?
Firstly, no need to go full imposter syndrome, relax. You got into a creative career because you already have good taste. You might not know how to create things up to par with the high standards you admire yet, and that can only be achieved with practice. Plenty of it. So be patient with yourself, and keep looking, admiring, learning and working. Close that gap between what you strive for and what you can do, through practice.