WHY I USE THE ONE-CONCEPT METHOD FOR BRANDING CLIENTS


Welcome to my very first blog post! To kick things off, I’m beginning with a discussion about the one-concept method and the effects it had on my design process.


branding documents

I LOVE learning all about my clients and their dreams, especially when I can provide solutions to their problems and help their brands flourish. However, when I first started building brands, I didn’t feel as though I was efficiently solving problems, because I would pitch multiple design concepts to clients and let them choose which one they preferred.


In fact, for one of my early branding clients, I would create 20 logos per round, send them for feedback, receive a “No” from the client, and then completely re-do them. This went on for 5 MORE ROUNDS. Ultimately, it was my fault, because I placed them as the expert from the beginning, letting them take the reins and control the design process.


This Red Flag Client made me realize that I needed a process that would minimize my burn out, redirect the focus to problem-solving and place myself as the expert.


I first discovered the one-concept method when I was looking for a supplemental education that could help me master skills learned in college. After taking Rowan Made’s Branding w/ Bre course, I realized the importance of intuition in the design process and switched everything over to the one-concept method.


For those that might not know, the one-concept method is a design process in which the designer devises a variety of options up front, then narrows them down into a singular concept. Once I made the switch, I started seeing 2 major benefits from presenting one-concept.


1. ALL OF MY ENERGY GOES INTO BUILDING ONE SPECTACULAR IDENTITY, RATHER THAN 2 OR 3 MEDIOCRE IDENTITIES.


Another creative once told me, “We’re not decorators – we’re designers. And as designers, we pride ourselves in being problem solvers.”


When I was designing 2 or 3 identities, it was difficult to make a really great concept and then have to make a couple more just to provide the client with choices. It was even harder to see a client go with a design that I wasn’t passionate about and didn’t actually resonate with their strategy. OR even worse, when a client would ask to combine design elements from multiple choices. (Hello, Frankenstein design) By presenting one concept, my clients are able to place more trust in me and know that I will put forward the most successful, functional solution for their brand.


Although, this method wouldn’t function without an in-depth strategic process in place. My background is in creative advertising, in which I learned that each part of the design had to be rationalized and research needed to back up the choices you made. So, I applied those lessons to my business. Now, my clients each receive a comprehensive brand strategy that ensures everyone is on the same page and to provide fresh insights.


This strategy remains at the forefront of any design. In fact, we don’t do any designing until this process is solidified and approved.


2. CLIENT BIAS IS REMOVED AND THE FOCUS IS PLACED ON THE AUDIENCE'S NEEDS.


I find that when presented with multiple choices you inherently lean towards the thing you most like based on your own needs. For example, you’re selecting an outfit to wear for your friend’s outdoor party.


You have chosen a dress and a jacket in case it gets chilly, but you haven’t decided on the shoes. You have two options – flat sandals or gold sparkly heels. You want to be practical, so you start to reach for your sandals, but at the last minute reach for the heels, because you like the gold sparkles. The day of the party arrives and you’re happy with your outfit, until you get to the grassy field and can barely walk without your heel sinking into the ground.


Lesson learned – you should’ve gone with the sandals.


Yes, it’s important to have a brand that looks good, but what’s even more important is a brand that works best for your business and audience. By eliminating multiple choices, I am able to trust my intuition for a single concept and build a brand that does just that. This also ties into our strategy-first approach that we mentioned above. Built into our strategy is a unique design presentation featuring contextual examples to make their branding truly shine.


FINAL WORDS


Now that I’ve been implementing the one-concept method for all of EQBM’s brand clients, I have seen less rounds of refinements, clearer client-designer communication, less frustrations on the designer end and improvements in overall enthusiasm for the design process. Take it from one of our clients, Gabby Hernandez, owner of Write for You.


“THE DESIGN PROCESS WAS VERY SMOOTH. I HONESTLY FELT CONFIDENT in THE WORK BEING ACCOMPLISHED, WHICH ALLOWED ME to FOCUS ON MY OWN TASKS and LEAN BACK WHILE EQBM TOOK CARE OF THE REST. I REALLY APPRECIATED THE OPEN COMMUNICATION and THE CREATIVE ABILITY and ENERGY EXHIBITED THROUGHOUT THE SERVICE."


If you have any lingering questions about the one-concept method, drop a comment below or send me an email directly hannah@eqbmdesignco.com. I’d be more than happy to speak with you about it, perhaps over a cup of coffee.


- Hannah






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