At Bearded we believe in fewer options. For logos, no more than three. For websites? Just one.
Most of the time clients don’t flinch at this. But sometimes they have questions or reservations. They may wonder if one option will be enough to arrive at the right solution. Sometimes they feel uncomfortable with the idea of not having a choice. More choices, they may think, mean a better chance of getting a good design. And, after all, more options means more for their money, right?
Let me take a step back and relate an example. I once witnessed a design firm present 100 options for a logo. I’m not even kidding. One hundred logo variations. Guess which one they picked?
Yep. None of them. After a lengthy review, they asked for (you guessed it) more options.
So what went wrong here? Why did more options lead to even more options, rather than a solution? Editing is a major designer responsibility. At the (admittedly extreme) point of this example, a designer is showing every variation they could commit to pixels, and asking the client to perform the vetting process. This approach deprives clients of one of the most important things they’re paying for: a designer’s expertise and judgement. Designers have an obligation to provide the most effective possible design solutions. Were all 100 of those options equally effective? Doubtful. How could the client pick out the good ones? Clearly they couldn’t.
Which brings me to my next point: don’t show your clients bad work. When you show work to a client, you are implicitly giving it your seal of approval. If you use multiple options (which may make sense for something less time-consuming like a logo), they should be equally effective, but taking different approaches. Perhaps a client’s branding profile states that they want to balance being friendly and approachable with being professional and authoritative. This is a chance to have one option lean one way, and the second option lean the other. To you, both may seem equally effective, and your client can help you determine which will be most appropriate for their audience.
All of this, of course, assumes a proper planning and discovery phase before design begins. If clients are included in a collaborative way during this initial phase, then the first design presentation will be a natural extension of those first conversations.
For most jobs, how many websites have you been hired to design? Just one, right? So why design an extra website (or two or three) that you’re going to throw away? That’s a waste of time and money.
Why not save those precious design hours to refine your work, once you have the benefit of your client’s feedback? That first visual design will be the launching point for further discussion, refinement, and – ultimately – design revisions that will get you closer to your final goal: better, more effective designs.