I like a knife to have a blade, preferably with one side sharpened, fold somewhere in the middle, and have some kind of handle apparatus at the opposite end of the blade.
Seriously though, i'm realizing i don't really have a cookie cutter taste in what i like and don't like. I used to think i did, but if you look at the knives i own they really don't have anything in common with each other except for the round hole.
-I usually say i prefer to have a 50/50 choil, but it really depends on the rest of the design of the knife. On something like a Delica, i miss not having the choil. On something like a Yojimbo 2 or Vallotton, i don't miss it at all.
-4 way clip option is nice, even though most of my knives end up being carried tip up. A few knives i've gone back and forth with how i clip them, so it's nice just having the option.
-I must say i prefer to have a compression lock over most any other lock design except maybe the captured ball bearing lock. The lock itself isn't enough to get me to buy a knife, but if two knives are similar enough, i'll take the one with the CL.
-I do like G10 over most other handle materials. I'd like to see more peal ply carbon fiber if it were less expensive. I'd also like to see a more aggressive pattern machined into the G10 somehow.
-I like deep carry wire clips, which is ironic since i only own one knife that has one. I can live with the standard hourglass clip though.
-I'm torn between thick blades vs. thin blades. I like the aesthetics/strength/pivot strength of a thick blade, but I like the slicing performance of a thin blade. I just don't like how thin blades feel under my thumb when using the thumb ramp.
-I usually prefer full flat grinds, but my Yojimbo 2 is helping me to learn the virtues of a nice thick blade with a high hollow grind. That way i can have the thickness where it counts but still be thin behind the edge.
-I have to have a good steel. VG10 is the bottom option for me, i really don't want a steel that holds an edge any less than VG10, no matter how easy it may be to sharpen. This is often what i'm torn with when considering Victorinox knives. I love a SAK, but don't have much love for that steel. It's easy to sharpen and takes a nasty edge, but that edges doesn't last long when you really lean on it. I really prefer S30V as a standard option steel, which happens to work great since Spyderco seems to agree.
-I really like wharncliffe blades. I wish Spyderco made more of them. In a perfect world, every knife Spyderco makes would have a wharnie version like the Centofante 3/4 duo. I just don't know how i'd handle something as insanely badass as a wharncliffe Military or Para 2....wow.
-Screw construction, and more importantly screw pivots. I can't say a lot to knock the pin construction Spydercos...there's really nothing wrong with them from a performance aspect, i just like the option to take a knife apart for modifications if i choose to. I do prefer a screw pivot though.
-Pillar construction. This goes hand in hand with compression locks, but also liner locks. I like the ability to rinse out the insides of my knife and air them out. I also really like to be able to look inside the knife and see how the locking mechanism works. Again this is one of those things that won't keep me from buying a knife, but the knives i really love the most have this feature.
I'm sure there's more..