The Weekend that Wasn't: Our First One-Concept Project

The first time we took the one-concept approach with a client, it nearly derailed our confidence in the new plan.

The strategy document was rock solid. The mood board hit all the right notes. The vision was expansive and concrete. We got lost in daydreams of all that this client’s vision could bring about.

But after two solid weeks of sketching, painting, digitizing, and orienting, we had an enormous art board with no clear winner. On Friday morning before Monday’s concept presentation, we went back to the literal and proverbial drawing board. We spent hours on FaceTime over the weekend trying to work out a new concept. It wasn’t clear if this one-concept thing was even working.

By Sunday afternoon, we both knew that we needed to return to the concept we’d set aside on Friday. Having flexed our concepting muscles hard, we were pretty exhausted. But that exhaustion gave way to clarity and some small but mighty changes the concept needed to sing. It came together on Sunday evening, and we felt better than we could have imagined walking into Monday morning’s concept presentation (if a little sleep-deprived).

We were learning some big lessons in trusting our gut, speaking up quickly when something’s not working, and learning to synergize our collaboration styles. Although this first foray into the one-concept approach nearly broke us that weekend, we didn’t back down. The result was the best work we’d done up til that point. And seeing our client’s eyes light up and hearing “Wow. I really, really love it” was all the confirmation we needed.

Of course we'll keep improving the process, but we aren't looking back.