• Jon DarkeJon Darke, over 7 years ago


    27 points
    • Harpal SinghHarpal Singh, over 7 years ago

      We design in collaboration with client, so there are no last minute nasty surprises.

      I haven't really found myself in a situation to choose strong or weak option in a while.

      9 points
    • Nice ShoesNice Shoes, over 7 years ago

      Completely agree.

      One, well thought out, option. That is sold in a confident way.

      6 points
    • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      ^ This.

      I'll probably get some flack for this, but design isn't about options, it's about iterating to the best solution to a problem. And that solution is unique: if you solve it or I solve it, we'll come up with different, though potentially equally valuable, solutions, without even trying. Similar to how your handwriting is different than mine without trying (though both are lovely).

      So a client presents you a problem to solve. If it's graphic (versus another kind of design, like industrial or interior or product) it will be a communication problem. She outlines the objectives, parameters, and criteria for success. Then give her your best solution -- that's it. If she wants another solution, she hires another designer. For me/us, you only get my best work. She can choose to use my design or not, but she pays me either way.

      It's a bit extreme, I admit, and it doesn't always go this way without a hitch. But I'm very clear at the outset with my clients that this is how design works. If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe Paul Rand: he told Steve Jobs the same thing when he designed the NeXT logo:


      7 points
    • Paul MacgregorPaul Macgregor, over 7 years ago

      Yep. Work out (workshops, user testing, whatever you need to do) the best solution and present that. Then iterate.

      Trying to do 2, 3 or more best options is, I find, a waste of everyones time.

      0 points
    • Tyrale BloomfieldTyrale Bloomfield, over 7 years ago


      0 points
  • News TodayNews Today, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    People love to SAY that they only present one option to clients, but — unless you're Paul Rand — you may have a hard time getting away with that approach.

    8 points
    • Toby KellerToby Keller, over 7 years ago

      Set expectations at the outset and you'll be fine.

      2 points
      • News TodayNews Today, over 7 years ago

        I've worked at two large agencies and I've never seen anyone present just one concept/design.

        1 point
        • Toby KellerToby Keller, over 7 years ago

          I've worked at two agencies and I've ONLY presented one concept/design at a time. Things work differently at different agencies, it would seem.

          0 points
          • News TodayNews Today, over 7 years ago

            Cool, I hope it's working (it must be if you're going with the approach).

            0 points
            • Toby KellerToby Keller, over 7 years ago

              Works great for us, but it's definitely dependent on expectations. You absolutely have to be clear what you'll deliver, and why.

              0 points
    • James StiffJames Stiff, over 7 years ago

      I'm no Paul Rand but I still don't believe in creating options just for the sake of it. They can be a significant waste of resources and at worst, they can derail a project completely (been there, done that).

      I prefer an iterative design approach where the client is involved every step of the way from the discovery phase through to initial sketches, wireframes, styles tiles etc. There are no redundant options, just a series of decisions* which result in a solution that best fits the requirements.

      I suppose you could argue that these decisions are a series of micro-options!

      I agree with Toby K that you really have to manage client expectations from the start of the process. If they're expecting options you need to explain why they won't be getting them.

      Some agencies/designers might feel the need to present multiple options to justify their fees, due to a lack of confidence or both. If you've done your research and had adequate client involvement throughout the process, options become irrelevant.

      1 point
  • Casey BrittCasey Britt, over 7 years ago

    Not sure what clients you guys are presenting to, but in typical medium to large agency world, presenting a single direction is rather rare. I'm not even sure I agree with there being only one "best solution." However I agree that you should never put something in front of the client that you're not okay with them picking.

    Some people swear by putting it first, some people prefer it last. You can dance around this all you want, but there's no real science behind how you sequence them. If the sequence of the work has that much sway in your presentation, it's likely that the work is not where it needs to be.

    8 points
    • Account deleted over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )


      I like to present my 3 best directions.

      One, a safe evolution. Two, the recommended favorite that takes it beyond just an evolution. And three, the wild card. It's the furthest out there conceptually but arguably the best move. I feel It's good to show the client a small range even if it dies in the meeting. Keeps them happy and gathers great feedback.

      edit: grammer

      4 points
    • Mason LawlorMason Lawlor, over 7 years ago

      I back this.

      Just last night I threw together a split test on a landing page I was sure was going to convert better. It didn't. There's absolutely no way to always know the best solution before testing it.

      2 points
  • Toby KellerToby Keller, over 7 years ago

    Pitching a single idea at a time is one of the secrets to a happy client relationship, in my experience. If there's a strongest one, why pitch lesser ones? We all know how that ends anyway.

    Try to sell your best idea first. If the client has specific concerns, address them, and if they can't be addressed within the scope of your best design, only then show them other concepts (still one at a time!).

    For this to work you must of course set expectations at the outset—be clear what you'll be pitching.

    3 points
  • Nick de JardineNick de Jardine, over 7 years ago

    One tailored option solving the design problem.

    2 points
  • Nic TrentNic Trent, over 7 years ago

    Paul Rand saved the best for last in a sense. His presentation books showed a process he took to get to his final solution.

    2 points
  • Colm TuiteColm Tuite, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    This depends a lot on the client. In general though, presenting multiple options doesn't make much sense. It's like leaving it up to the client, letting them make the final decision. The client is hiring you to figure out the best approach. Presenting multiple options is a bit like holding a magnifying glass up to the problem.

    So most of the time, I work through multiple approaches to a given problem. Then I present what I think is the best option, alongside my process. Depending on the client, I might talk through the other approaches I tried, explaining why they don't work.

    2 points
    • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, over 7 years ago

      Presenting multiple options is a bit like holding a magnifying glass up to the problem.

      Great analogy!

      0 points
  • Andreas DruschelAndreas Druschel, over 7 years ago

    Only. Options are dilution.

    2 points
  • Richard SisonRichard Sison, over 7 years ago

    The topic of presenting one approach as opposed to a few candidates is a hairy one.

    I think both approaches are valid as long as you’re producing quality that isn’t compromised because you are showing more options. It definitely shouldn’t be approached as “options for the sake of options”.

    Personally I believe that presenting one solid and further-developed solution yields the best results. When presenting a solution to a client, you’re taking them on a journey of why the solution solves the problem. Being able to support that by going deeper into why the solution works, only benefits both you and the client. I feel it gets diluted each time you start again with another option.

    That’s not to say there’s only one solution to a problem either, my stance is that it’s a better use of everyone’s time to further develop a solution that properly answers the brief, than providing more options for the client to choose from (and taking them on different, less-explored journeys).

    The one concept approach really is all about setting expectations from the start. Explain the benefits of it (and that it is essentially more cost-effective). If they want more options, the question I’d ask you is “Why?”.

    If their concerns are valid, take them into consideration, revise and present again in the same, strong and confident way. It’s even likely you came up with another valid direction along the way that can be refined and further developed.

    But if they want options for the sake of it, on what basis are they selecting the solution? If their criteria/decision-making process is baseless (i.e. "I don't like it, I don't think it works."), it sounds like that’s a relationship problem separate to this discussion. I’d try and address that first.

    That said, do what’s right for you and the client. Don’t change your process on existing clients because some random guy wrote a post, if you want to try it, do it on a new client. If you don’t want to try it at all, that’s also fine. Just make sure what you’re presenting is quality and not quantity.

    1 point
  • Robert GrazioliRobert Grazioli, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    We work in small teams, and are trying to get shit done as fast possible because we know that our solutions are not going to be a perfect. If we were to show three solutions, we'd be showing three imperfect solutions—one of which would likely be a favorite.

    Why not pick the favorite, and beat the hell out of it (iterate) until the end result is something that will stand the test of time (a few days in internet time). If you keep clients involved in this process, the happier they are and the better the result. Every client should understand that. If they don't, you're not doing your job.

    0 points
  • John LockeJohn Locke, over 7 years ago

    Reiterating what everyone else has said: If you make the client choose between options, you are shifting the responsibility of being the design expert away from yourself and giving it to the client.

    There should be one prescription, not an option, for the objectives of the project and the work.

    0 points
  • Seán MongeySeán Mongey, over 7 years ago

    Both :)

    0 points
  • Ray BriglebRay Brigleb, over 7 years ago

    If I must, I actually tend to put in the middle of perhaps three. But then only if there are small variations. The feedback from other folks here is probably on the ball: just show the best one.

    (That said, I often anticipate client's questions, so my "variations" are often addressing that, so sometimes I just have them to show if they are appropriate.)

    0 points
  • Julie MurphyJulie Murphy, over 7 years ago

    I save the best or the one I feel strongest about for last.

    0 points