It is human nature to choose a cue that you think looks good. But people have different tastes, which is why there are so many different styles and patterns out there.
The most important thing is to select a cue that has a good 'feel'. Try not to make your judgement just on how the cue looks.
Remember that a 'plain', or even unattractive, cue can 'feel' great and play superbly.
However, Snooker/pool is one of the most psychologically challenging sports there are, and it doesn't take much to put seeds of doubt into one's mind which can seriously affect your game.
So it is still important for you to actually like the look of your cue and want to play with it, but try not to base your judgement simply on the fact that you think a cue looks good.
The most important part of a cue is the shaft, as this is where most of the 'feel' comes from.
One of the reasons why many people choose a (genuine) hand made cue is that each one is made individually and great care is (or should be) taken in selecting wood that 'feels' just right.
Generally speaking, the more you pay for a cue should mean you are getting a better quality cue. The woods used on more expensive cues should have been carefully selected and the build quality should be better.
But beware, this may not always be the case.
Personally, I carefully select shaft timber by checking that it has a nice 'feel' or 'spring' to it. I do not like particularly whippy wood, or indeed very stiff wood.
I find that very stiff wood tends to make a cue feel lifeless, and that whippy wood gives you problems when playing deep screw shots or shots off the cushion. That is not to say that you can't play the full range of shots with these types of wood. It's what you get used to.
The best thing about using your own cue is that it becomes an extension of your arm and you know exactly how to hit the cueball to get it to do what you want. You will learn to know the 'feel' of your cue.
'Looks vs. Feel'
You should be aware that it does not matter what the wood looks like, or how tight or wide the grain is, because the wood itself can vary greatly between being naturally very heavy and naturally very light.
For example, it is virtually impossible to just look at a piece of Ash and know that it is stiff or whippy. You can only tell this by picking it up and trying it.
This leads us to another thing. I often get asked for Ash with a certain number of arrows or maybe for a very stiff piece of Ash.
This in itself is not a major problem, but it can take a long time to find a shaft that suits a client's requirements. But, quite often, a shaft can look exactly how you want it to, but the 'feel' is not so good.
Remember that every cue made will feel slightly different and unique from the next because wood is natural and will vary in weight/density/grain pattern due to where it was grown, the climate, the part of the tree from which it was cut, etc., etc..
Select a cue not just on appearances, but consider the wood and build quality. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a cue that is perfect for you, but try to spend as much as you can afford because you are likely to be getting better quality and the cue will probably last longer.
A good cue is an investment because you will use it for years. A cheap cue may start giving problems after just a little use, particularly ferrules, joints, and weights.
Each cue may vary slightly in the way it plays because wood is natural and varies from piece to piece. But as long as a cue has been made well using good quality wood, you will soon get used to the unique characteristics, and you will be able to perform the full range of shots. (If not, check out your cue action because that will be where the problem is...). And once you get used to your own cue, no other cue will feel as comfortable to you, or play the same way.
Try not to listen too much to the 'advice' given to you by the 'bloke down the club'. Remember that he is telling you about the type of cue he likes or believes to be the best, and we are all different. Only you know what feels comfortable to you. By all means listen to advice that people give you, but ultimately you must choose for yourself because it is you who must feel comfortable with the cue