Do One Thing Well: The One-Concept Approach


A while ago, we noticed an ugly pattern: we were spending huge amounts of time early in the design process developing multiple concepts in the name of creating client buy-in. We always knew deep down which one was best, but insisted on creating this artificial feedback loop and would cringe when clients picked the “wrong” concept.

That’s because we were asking the client to do our job.

We were putting way too much of our own responsibility into the client's hands. No one felt empowered and we teetered dangerously close to animosity rather than collaboration. There were some Frankenstein situations.

Then, behold: the one-concept approach. We took ownership over the fact that we are charged with solving a problem for our client. The client’s job is to share their expertise on their work. Our job is to brand that work. We stepped up to own our role and confidently press forward to the best solution we could create for them.

We were hesitant at first about putting all our eggs in one basket. It’s a lot of pressure on one little ol’ concept! But turns out it's the kind of pressure that channels creative energy. Our art boards now teem with ideas. Sometimes it feels like a wild goose chase. Yet, by choosing to experiment and then commit to the concept with the most potential, we ultimately produce more robust, creative and powerful brands for our clients.

And they've been thrilled. We certainly sweat a bit more before concept presentations, but as we tell the story to the client and watch their eyes light up, buy-in becomes the last thing on anyone's mind.