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SermonOfMockery

i don't like showing more than one concept to clients

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a lot of people like to do the thing where you show three concepts and they pick the one they like best. i don't like this process for a couple reasons:

 

1. invariably you have one idea that you know is the best solution. invariably the client picks the worst idea.

2. it spreads you too thin, forcing you to devote resources to exploring ideas that aren't the best. the client is better off having you focus on one good idea than one good idea and two half-assed ones.

3. they usually do the "i like some of concept A and some of concept B" thing. it's not a buffet... they don't necessarily work together.

 

sometimes it makes sense to show a few different directions (especially when budgets and timelines are generous). in those cases, go for it. in most situations, though, i think the best process is to explore a few concepts internally, but ultimately only show the best one to the client. there's no hard and fast rules for this kind of thing, but i think the "here's three ideas pick the one you like" thing should be the exception rather than the rule.

 

just my $.02.

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Guest Sao_Bento

I rarely quote Paula Scher, but sometimes clients feel like they're "buying process". They want to see all the stuff made along the way in order to feel like they're getting their money's worth. Obviously, every client doesn't see it the same way.

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i'm assuming you are freelance on this, so let me know if i'm wrong. if you are, my advice is to let the client know that for their budget (also assuming its low), you have the resources for one set of boards. if they want more concepts, they will have to fork the cash for more concepts. i think its hard to tell them, but it comes back to the age old... fast, cheap, good: pick two.

 

EDIT: a good producer or CD will sell the best idea and convince the client the bad one is a bad idea. however that doesnt always stop them.

Edited by Rothermel

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I rarely quote Paula Scher, but sometimes clients feel like they're "buying process". They want to see all the stuff made along the way in order to feel like they're getting their money's worth. Obviously, every client doesn't see it the same way.

You can still do this with the one idea method... you just have to take a little extra time to show them what you threw out and why it didn't fit into the final concept. If they can see that you've tried other things and made good choices about what to keep/sacrifice they're more likely to trust you.

 

-m

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You can still do this with the one idea method... you just have to take a little extra time to show them what you threw out and why it didn't fit into the final concept. If they can see that you've tried other things and made good choices about what to keep/sacrifice they're more likely to trust you.

 

-m

 

Then that begs the question what if they want to put something back in that you threw out?

 

I agree with Rothermel, a good idea has to be sold, easiest way to land them on the right one.

Edited by a2visual

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I'm jealous of the designer who always find the "right" direction on the first try. The process of developing various directions (in my opinion) is less for the client and more for me. I just wrapped a set of boards for a client and I developed 7 directions in 4 days. I presented three of them.

 

Design is a process. It helps me to try several different directions in rough form (just a style frame or two) before moving on to the details of making a direction really work. It makes me more comfortable with changes and less prescious about my work.

 

Now as for the client, I would never show something that I feel is truly wrong. But it took me some time to rule out some ideas that seemed intially promising. Showing some of that work to client is often helpful. If I've really done my work, I can justify why I think one approach is better than the others. But sometimes elements will get incorporated from one direction into another, giving the new result a depth greater than it had originally. The more confident you are about your work, the less worried you should be about getting feedback. The best advice I even got was "never listen to what your client suggests as a solution, but you better listen to what they say is the problem. Then find a better way to solve it."

 

If your clients consistently pick the "wrong idea", either you have the wrong clients or you don't understand what they really need. I always tell myself it's the former :)

 

Good luck. Every has their own way of working.

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1. invariably you have one idea that you know is the best solution. invariably the client picks the worst idea.

 

This is why its suggested to not show the client something that you dont like. because they WILL invariable pick the worst one....every time.

 

but i think there's value in showing more than 1 concept. YOU may think its the best solution, but the client might know something that they didn't tell you up front, whether its about their goals or audience or whatever. if you're just offering one concept and saying "well, this is the best solution", thats more like being commissioned on a fine art piece rather than designing. design doesn't happen in a bubble....it has to reach more than just the artist doing the work.

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There aren't that many people who can nail a pitch on the first try. Yeah, there are some, but a 2nd design is a good insurance policy, and it is also a way for a (nightmare) client who doesn't know what they want to narrow down their goals.

 

Don't get me wrong, I hate multiple sets of boards, but I'm also a bit more pragmatic than I used to be.

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Guest Sao_Bento
I'm jealous of the designer who always find the "right" direction on the first try. The process of developing various directions (in my opinion) is less for the client and more for me. I just wrapped a set of boards for a client and I developed 7 directions in 4 days. I presented three of them.

 

Design is a process. It helps me to try several different directions in rough form (just a style frame or two) before moving on to the details of making a direction really work. . . .

That's right - you are still supposed to do the work. Doing the work involves exploring many different directions. That's different from showing the client all of that stuff and letting them choose something. The people who are only showing one thing have done the work too, they're just not showing all the prior work to the client - only what they consider to be the best result. Clients are always a wildcard though. - I should know - I'm being a nightmare client to someone right this very moment.

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Then that begs the question what if they want to put something back in that you threw out?

I agree with Rothermel, a good idea has to be sold, easiest way to land them on the right one.

You skipped the part where I mentioned "tried other things and made good choices". That means you can actually show them why it works for them. If you can't show them 1) you didn't do your job very well or 2) they are intolerant and opinionated. If it's the later I say it's better to find that out as soon as possible.

 

IMO, that *is* selling the idea. You cannot sell something well by only mentioning its good parts. People are smarter than that.

 

Is more harm done by the things you say? or the things you don't say?

 

It's a tough call. I bet most everyone has had an equal amount of success and tragedy in both rings.

 

-m

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Clients are always a wildcard though. - I should know - I'm being a nightmare client to someone right this very moment.

What's it like?

I always figured it would be like putting on a pair of those drunk goggles... only they would make logos look really, really good when they were really, really big.

 

<_<

 

-m

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Guest Sao_Bento
What's it like?

I always figured it would be like putting on a pair of those drunk goggles... only they would make logos look really, really good when they were really, really big.

 

<_<

 

-m

For me it's more of knowing what I want (this is for original music), but not having a good way of expressing it - damn my public school education. I started out with what I thought were some pretty good references, but somehow I'm still not getting it across, so now I'm transforming into "That's Not It Man®" - the super villain who's evil power is to only know what he doesn't like.

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For me it's more of knowing what I want (this is for original music), but not having a good way of expressing it - damn my public school education. I started out with what I thought were some pretty good references, but somehow I'm still not getting it across, so now I'm transforming into "That's Not It Man®" - the super villain who's evil power is to only know what he doesn't like.

 

Must be nice to get an opportunity to give a good kicking to someone else for a change ;)

 

Seriously, designers really don't have much to complain about with their clients, compared with musicians. We whinge about visual illiteracy, but at least if the client says they want the logo bigger and in red, we know what they mean. Even musicians find it hard to describe what they do to a verbal way, so clients really do not have a hope.

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You skipped the part where I mentioned "tried other things and made good choices". That means you can actually show them why it works for them. If you can't show them 1) you didn't do your job very well or 2) they are intolerant and opinionated. If it's the later I say it's better to find that out as soon as possible.

 

IMO, that *is* selling the idea. You cannot sell something well by only mentioning its good parts. People are smarter than that.

 

Is more harm done by the things you say? or the things you don't say?

 

It's a tough call. I bet most everyone has had an equal amount of success and tragedy in both rings.

 

-m

 

I stand corrected ;)

 

Although some clients might not agree with your process of why it's better, but that could happen in any situation.

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That's right - you are still supposed to do the work. Doing the work involves exploring many different directions. That's different from showing the client all of that stuff and letting them choose something. The people who are only showing one thing have done the work too, they're just not showing all the prior work to the client - only what they consider to be the best result.

exactly.

 

again, this doesn't work out for every project... i just wish the "show me three and i'll pick my favorite one" thing wasn't the defacto standard process.

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