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Ditch the industry standard: Presenting the one logo solution

Ditch the industry standard: Presenting one logo | Spruce Rd. | Pitching design work to your clients isn’t always easy. There’s an art to presentation that results in minimal client revisions, quality designs and high fives all around. In this post …

Pitching design work to your clients isn’t always easy. There’s an art to presentation that results in minimal client revisions, quality designs and high fives all around.

Here’s how most designers present their work:

  • Spend hours sketching concepts for your client’s branding

  • Have a breakthrough moment of clarity on THE logo design your client should 100% pursue

  • Present two other mediocre logo options, so you can please your client with multiple options as a safeguard

  • Send a PDF to the client, while crossing fingers they go with the “right” option

  • End up frustrated when the client settles on your least favorite design (or asks to you combine multiple options resulting in a watered down design)

Does this sound familiar?

Throughout my 10+ years designing, this process has been the industry standard. Through my early freelance days and previous design jobs, there has been a constant struggle between the client and designer. 

As the designer, we are confident in our solutions. Yet, the client often compromises and selects the safest logo option — one that blends in with their competitors and takes little risk.

We’re left frustrated and a gem of a logo left on the cutting room floor, never to make the light of day. Except on Instagram with a caption RIP to our favorite design with a sad eye emoji 😉

Let’s ditch the industry standard.

We need to ask ourselves in every aspect of our business why the industry standard exists. Things like “you should have a contract — always.” and “require a deposit from your client” are definitely wise industry standards we should follow. There is a reason behind these conventions, and they are established to protect yourself as a business. 

However, “always present three options” leaves me a little baffled behind the rationale. How did this convention first get established, and why has it stuck so long? My theory is that it falls on the designer’s indecisiveness, and at times insecurity in our design approach, and less on client expectations.

Sounds a bit harsh, but I truly think it stems from an effort to best serve our clients. “They will want to see all the hard work I’ve put into this!” “Maybe they want to feel a part of the process.” Or maybe it stems out of our lack of confidence in our design. “If I just show them one design, maybe they’ll think I took a shortcut, or not think this logo is complex enough for how much they spent! More options will show them their investment was worthwhile.”

So instead of presenting the standard 3 logo options to my branding clients, I present 1 branding solution that I’m 100% on board with. 

I’ve done this since day one of launching Spruce Rd. in January of 2015. And it works!

… At this point, maybe you are in shock and wondering how I pull this off! Questions like “How will the client react when you only send one design?” or “How do you prep the client for this process?” might come to mind. 

I hear ya. My studio has a unique approach to branding, and one that I couldn’t ever walk away from. It’s been successful since launching Spruce Rd., and I honestly haven’t had one client question the process, and often receive logo approvals after the first proof!

I attribute this overwhelming success in part to our One Logo Solution, and our entire red-carpet client experience as a whole.

Why only one option?

I could honestly go on for days about the psychology of presenting one logo, and crafting winning presentations to our clients, but I’ll keep this short and sweet.

  • As humans, we are overwhelmed by multiple options. Limiting it to one solution streamlines the process and rids our clients of “buyer’s remorse” when selecting only one of the beautiful designs you’ve presented (and questioning if they made the right choice).

  • As designers, we understand our client’s target audience as well as what makes a successful logo that appeals to customers/clients. We know what works.

  • Our clients invest in our services for a reason — they trust us. Just as I trust my accountant to handle quarterly taxes (praise the Lord I don’t stress about that!), our clients trust us. I would feel unsettled if my accountant told me we could submit our taxes one of three ways, and had me select which method. I’d rather trust him to do what he’s best at.

There are a slew of advantages to presenting one design solution, that benefit both the client and designer.

What does this process look like?

I’ve revealed my entire client process, the ins + outs of running a design studio and allllll the deets about presenting one logo to clients within the Share-worthy Design course! You’ll be equipped with a client case study (presentation call recording included), what to do when a client doesn’t like the first proof of the one logo provided, and everything you need to present to clients. It’s your ticket to a red carpet client process, and and an end to endless revisions :).


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