Why I use the one concept approach

The one concept approach is definitely the single most important discovery I have made in my design journey.

Honestly, it’s changed everything – I feel more confident. The designs I produce are more coherent and powerful. My relationships with clients are so much improved. I’d like to tell you what it is and why it’s so important.

After the strategy phase of my process, we should have a pretty strong idea of what sort of brand we’re going to move forward with. We’ll both agree about what kind of brand is going to connect with those ideal clients and we’ll have a good idea of how the new brand should feel. At the end of the strategy I will detail an approach, complete with a mood board that makes sure we both know where we are heading.

So, I’ll go away and start sketching and toying with a bunch of ideas for logos and design elements, and usually this process throws up several options for the primary logo, for example. Up to now it’s all pretty much normal, right?

This is where it gets different. It sounds so odd, but I’m only going to show you one of those ideas! I know! All that effort and most of these designs will never see the light of day!

The trouble is, we humans are funny things. Hands up if you’re like me: You love the idea of having options, but you hate the idea of having to make choices! Before I adopted a one concept approach, I found that the design meeting, which should be all about the feel of the brand, instead would always be about all the tiny details and comparing how much we each like the options.

But here’s the thing: This isn’t really about how much you like the designs. It’s about how good they are for your business. Anyone who runs a business knows that making decisions is hard work. Well, you’ve gone to all this effort to hire a branding expert – why should you still be having to do branding work?! I don’t want to present you with several options when I know that one of them is the best for you and your business.

Honestly, after the hours I’ll spend on Pinterest, competition research, Pinterest, and studying your client homework, social media feeds and content (followed by going on Pinterest), I’ll usually have a fair few ideas about what would make an effective scheme for you. I could spread those ideas into a group of ideas that each have a slightly different direction.

Oooorrrr…. I could just take all the best ideas, work out what the best direction is myself, and make one really great scheme. A scheme that will work. I often say “branding is not just a logo”. Well, if that’s true, why would one sample logo be enough to decide whether a direction is right for you? With my concept presentation, you get to see a suite of complementary components that work together, feel coherent, and truly tell your story.

Moving to this approach wasn’t easy – I felt like I’d be shortchanging my clients, especially when it’s pretty normal to present 3-6 options in this industry. But I have to say, I have been so overjoyed by the feedback I’ve had since doing it this way. Presenting a full, developed concept really allows you to get a feel of the brand we are creating together – but most importantly, to have the confidence knowing that this is a design that is incredibly considered and the right look for you.

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