It’s a long-time assumed standard that designers should deliver multiple concepts for the client to choose from. However over the past few years design trends have shifted and a growing number of brand designers are preaching the “one-concept approach”. Sure, it was initially a bit scary breaking away from the norm of what a client might traditionally expect, but we quickly saw the advantages of adopting the method for ourselves. After several projects using the one-concept methodology we’re happy to report it’s been a hugely positive change. Not only has it benefited the experience for our clients, but several aspects of the design process!

Here are just a few reasons why we love the one-concept approach:

1. Quality over quantity – Too many concepts leads to dilution and indecision

In the past, we tasked ourselves to produce multiple concepts for the sake of giving the client a choice. This meant we spent less time elaborating and perfecting any one concept and instead spent our time designing multiple average solutions. In this case there is likely no clear winner, or worse, there is a clear winner but then a weaker option ends up getting picked.

Multiple options can also lead to confusion when it comes to making a decision, and often subjectivity can cloud the process. Rather than thinking strategically about which design will connect best with the target audience, people can get caught up in personal likes and dislikes. Another downfall to multiple options is it might be tempting to merge elements of multiple concepts into one mega-concept. But there are almost always thoughtful reasons why elements have been designed in a specific way in the first place. The one-concept approach certainly embraces trust: trusting ourselves as well as asking clients to trust our process and decisions as the professionals.

2. The strategic process guides towards one strong, intelligent solution

The goal of the brand design process is to come up with one single brand identity that will connect a business with its target audience. Every part of our process guides us collaboratively towards this solution. We start with a questionnaire to learn about the ins and outs of our clients business (who they are, who their audience is, their brand values etc). Then we perform research about the industry and competitors and present it in a formal brand strategy presentation and moodboard. At this point the overall aesthetic is starting to take shape and the foundation for why certain design decisions will be made is becoming clear. 

Once the strategy and moodboard are approved, we move into the full concept development. This full concept is our proposed solution and we are 110% invested in making it as strong as possible on the first reveal. And because we have had those important touch points along the way, our clients are confident they are receiving a strong concept that will strategically connect with the target audience. 

More often than not we typically receive an approval on the first round because the process and presentation are clear and strategic.

3. We invest more time in the concept presentation

Can you already start to see how brand design is much more than just a logo? When we present the brand concept, it unites a vision and demonstrates how all the assets work together to form a complete brand. And because we are delivering a single concept we invest more time in this presentation. Our clients receive multiple examples of collateral to see their brand identity in action (i.e. business cards, web/social mockup) using the proposed colours, fonts, photography and primary/secondary logo.

We should clarify that when we say “one concept” this does not mean that the project ends once the concept is delivered. We absolutely understand that the design process can stir up new insights or perspectives on the direction. And we are happy to continue to collaborate with clients to nail the final design!

Key takeaway: instead of dividing our time into developing multiple concepts we focus our time into creating a thoughtful design that aligns with the client’s strategic goals.