Just like any craft you are continually refining your process. In my earlier design years, I would offer my clients multiple logo concepts before building the entire brand from patterns, elements, sub marks — the list goes on. However, I quit doing that almost two years ago. Now I only present my client with one fully thought-out brand. I’m going to dive into why I only offer one concept and why you should only invest in designers who do the same.
About 2 years ago, I quit presenting my clients with multiple logo concepts. The typical standard is to offer at least 3 different logo concepts which mean a client has a chance to choose from 3 different design directions.
In actuality, my entire process changed about two years ago. I used to give the client a questionnaire, present them with their moodboard and color palette. Once that was approved I would work on 3 different logo concepts. That would be presented to them via email. And once we refined the logo of their choosing, I would then begin the process of building out the rest of their brand design.
As you can tell, it was a very fragmented process.
So, I began to brainstorm and put a more refined process in place. It was scary to only present the client one fully-thought out brand because what if they hated it!
But once I did embrace this one concept approach, it has become one of the critical parts of my design process and success. In fact, my most successful design projects were born out of this approach.
So Why Presenting Multiple Concepts Was Not Ideal?
In theory, having options seems like a good idea. Right? But in my experience, choices only serve to heighten the problem.
Here’s how the old process would go…
I put a lot of time and effort into exploring multiple different concepts.
This was followed by more time and effort being poured into refinement and improving on the most promising ideas. 2 out of the 3 of them are not equally as good as the first one, but I have to work with them anyway because the client is expecting 3 different concepts.
My time, attention and energy would get divided into fixing the two not so good ideas when it was better utilized taking that one strong concept and really going all in on it.
The result was one concept which had the potential to be strong and other concepts which were weak, safe or boring even.
Here’s the reality…
A client hires a designer to create a solution for them.
When they hire someone, they are trusting their expertise to deliver on the project.
You don’t want someone to work on their job halfway through and then leave the rest up to you.
What would often happen is that the client would make a decision based on their personal preference rather than based on what’s best for their brand.
They felt drawn towards whatever colors or typefaces that they liked.
Or they would find themselves in conflict. Anxiety over choosing.
Imagine giving feedback on 3 or more different designs. Providing feedback on one design alone is an uncomfortable experience!
You hire someone to make your job easier and not to make it more difficult and stressful than what it already is.
“ How would the color scheme of one concept and the design of the other look like together?“, “ What if we combined the ideas of the two concepts? Would that look unique?“
You see how you now end up doing the designers job?
If you’ve hired a good designer, they should have already explored all these directions thoroughly or at least given it a good thought and the fact that these were not presented to you that means they were just not the right fit.
So what does this process look like?
I inform my clients right on the initial discovery call that I only present the brand to them. It’s a collaboration really. I do all the market research up front, build out the entire brand with mockups included so they can get a strong visual. Then on a video call, I present them the brand and explain every choice and why it works for their business.
The client can provide input and feel as though they had a hand in the design. The client feels heard.
Because I don’t have to split my time and attention into coming up with multiple ideas, I can take the strongest idea and give all of my time into refining it until its perfect.
Once I think I have nailed a concept, I now have enough time in my process to wait for at least a day before coming back to it with a fresh set of eyes.
To see if I still feel like this is going to be the concept I am going to present.
So when I am presenting the concept to the client, I am entirely confident that I have done my best work.
And because I know I am going to be presenting a single concept I have to make sure that I can explain the rationale behind every design decision and how it helps the business goals.
The Best Approach
This keeps me focused on the end business goals right from the beginning.
This approach has eliminated a ton of stress involved in the standard method of offering multiple concepts.
Whereas typically there was a lot of back and forth involved after the logos were presented the one concept approach has eliminated the majority of the back-and-forth because a lot of the leg work is done upfront by establishing a strong strategy and design direction.
This approach, in fact, forces me to be present a well-throughout brand identity.
It makes me question all my design decisions now more than ever before.
It is a treat to watch them light up as the presentation progresses, as they see all their initial hard work of deep diving into their business come to life into a distinct and beautiful brand identity!