Chapter 08 - The One Concept Method
You may have seen in the last few years that many designers are starting to move to the One Concept Method, which is really interesting because it’s been pretty much industry standard to always deliver multiple concepts to a client to review. In fact, when we first started offering logo designs, we had to be very careful to mention our process in the consultation because clients would naturally assume that they would be receiving multiple concepts. And while we still make sure to educate our clients before working with them, we’re finding that the One Concept Method is becoming more and more well known.
Now, let me first say that whatever method you use, it has to be right for your business. I’m a firm believer in following your own path and creating a process that works for you so if you’re currently offering multiple concepts for your clients and it’s a system that’s been working really well for you, then don’t change a thing!
In this post, I’m going to be chatting all about why the One Concept Method works really well for us and why we’ve been using this method since the very beginning.
WHY WE OFFER THE ONE CONCEPT METHOD
When you deliver multiple concepts to the client, they will inevitably always pick their favorite, bringing personal preference into the design process, and this is a perfectly natural reaction. Every day people are becoming more visually inclined, perhaps that’s thanks to social media and platforms like Instagram.
When presented with multiple concepts, instinctually clients will always choose what “sparks joy” for them, what catches their eye. This shifts things for the client, putting them in the position of their customer and truth be told, the client is not always their target market.
When a client decides to work with us, we are being hired for our skill and our expertise. And as the expert, we are not only creating a brand for our client but more importantly, we are creating a brand for our client's target market. If we put the client in the position of becoming their customer, then it’s likely that the client’s own preferences are going to shift the design in a personal direction that may no longer appeal to their target market.
For example; say I have a client whose target market is 50 and up. She’s let me know that she really, really loves the color orange and wants this as the primary color in all her branding. But statistically, the color orange does not connect well with people over 50 and if we go ahead and do what the client is asking, it’s highly likely that her brand will not connect well with her customers. The same can be said for a client who has a more male-driven customer base, but wants her branding to be feminine, “more her”. The list goes on…
In order for us to be able to create something that will connect with the client’s customers, a strong foundation is key and so we always start every brand package off with an in-depth brand strategy before the concept development phase and any actual designing begins. Thorough market research is done to determine the client's target market, age range, trends, and competitors. This brand strategy is then presented and approved before concept development begins. This way everyone’s on the same page, right from the get-go. From there, we start building the brand working with one comprehensive concept that meets all the necessary checkboxes and is aligned with the approved brand strategy.
WHAT’S THE END GOAL?
Our primary goal when working with any client is to create a brand that will not only be successful but will also last. Re-branding is time-consuming and expensive, especially if the client has their logo on multiple printed collaterals like labels, packaging, advertising, etc. And in the beginning when businesses are just starting up, they’re building brand awareness so re-branding too soon could be potentially harmful and confusing to their customer base. Simply put, it does no good for a client or their business to love a logo that is not effective with their audience and doesn’t meet their market goals.
That being said, it’s also really important to us that the client be proud of their brand. To bridge this gap, as part of the client’s homework we get them to submit a Pinterest board so we can get a sense of what they’re naturally drawn to. This is used to help us to connect the similarities between what their target market is and what their own preferences are so we can then create something for them that fits the client's niche as well as appeal to their own unique brand passion. But if any of those preferences don’t meet or align with the client’s brand strategy, we make sure to educate the client and explain why it might not beneficial to their brand to go in that direction (ie: why the color orange is probably not a good fit).
WHAT ABOUT REFINEMENTS?
We always make sure to educate the client that there are 2 refinement levels included in all our brand packages, but because we’ve taken such a holistic and comprehensive approach to the brand strategy phase, by the time we start the design process we know the client’s target market inside and out. We then present the initial brand to the client in a way that best showcases the designs by packaging it in a PDF presentation document that includes the primary and secondary logos, marks, brand pattern and mock-ups (so they can see how their brand will live in real life). From there, the client is prompted to provide real, honest feedback from the perspective of their customers (consulting their brand strategy if need be!) Then, once we reach the refinement process we’re only making small tweaks or adjustments (if any!) Our goal when we present the initial concept presentation is to have the brand almost 100% there so when it comes time for refinements, any adjustments are minimal at best.
HOW WE GET CLIENTS ON BOARD
It’s essential that we’re always transparent and forthcoming with our clients, right from the very beginning. As mentioned, the One Concept Method is becoming more and more widely seen in our industry, but that doesn’t mean that the client understands our own process or what they’ll be receiving from us. We’re always careful to reference this method in our service list and in the contract, and we also include a write up of the One Concept Method in the FAQ’s section in our media package and we also have it on our website. But most importantly, we educate our clients from the very first conversation – the consultation. Because hey, if the client really has their heart set on wanting multiple concepts to choose from, then that’s okay, but we may not be the right fit for them.
What’s most important is that all of us are on the same page right from the get-go, and from there the client can then make the decision whether or not they want to work with us. But to be honest, we really haven’t come up with many objections. Once we’ve educated the client on the reasons why we choose to work with this method, they’re usually pretty excited!
As I mentioned, whatever method you use has to be right for you and for your business. For us, we’ve been using this method since we first opened our doors and it’s honestly been a huge success. Our clients trust that we have their business’s best interests at heart, our collaborative process makes them feel like their needs are met and the experience and expertise we bring delivers a fully comprehensive service that ensures the greatest value for their business needs.