Using the One Concept Method

Using the One Concept Method Branding Approach by Meghan Lambert

In my over ten years working as a designer I’ve had the opportunity to try many different processes, but switching to the one concept method for brand identity design has arguably had the biggest and best impact on successful branding projects.

So what is the one concept method, exactly? In short, it is an approach to brand identity design where one single strategically based concept is delivered to the client and then refined to perfection. While it may seem like you’re getting less because only one option is being presented, what you’re really getting is a focused and detailed look at a brand identity that meets your needs and works to cater directly to your target audience.

Why I Switched

I’m not going to lie, I really resisted this change for a long time. In the past I had worked with studios where up to eight options were provided for a first round of identity, so parring it down to one single concept seemed impossible. The key is that the eight options being delivered were surface level thoughts of what the identity could be and were putting a value on quantity over quality. I found that more often then not clients would feel torn between two or more concepts and want to combine them in a way that created confusion or diluted the message. If I knew intuitively what the best direction for the client was, shouldn’t I be doing my job as the expert and guiding them to the very best choice? By switching to delivering one complete concept I was able to step into my expertise and deliver a solution to my client’s needs with a strategic foundation to support the graphic decisions being made.

Here’s How it Works

We always start with a thorough brand strategy before any designing begins, providing us with a roadmap for our work together. This is key! Without a strategy you cannot create a brand that truly meets a business’ needs and helps them to fully step into their identity. Next, using the strategy as a guide, I explore multiple directions until I find just the right one and then put all of my energy into refining that strongest concept before presenting it for review. You’re hiring a designer to solve a problem for you, and it’s my job to create the most stunning and versatile brand I can and the presentation demonstrates that. So, rather than creating multiple “just okay” options, I channel all of my creative energy into creating one solution that’s the perfect fit, with all the neccesary pieces to apply it to any visual marketing instance.

What About Refinements

The concept is delivered in a way that showcases the designs by presenting it in a PDF that includes the primary and secondary logos, marks, brand pattern, and mock-ups so you can see how your brand works in real-world scenarios. From there, the client is prompted to provide honest feedback from the perspective of their customers and encouraged to remove subjectivity. There are two rounds of refinements included in the brand identity design package and these are often used to make minor adjustments that improve the concept.

Why It Works

AVOID INDECISION

We remove the anxiety of decision making by presenting only the strongest concept, so you can have confidence that we are focused on the very best solution for our end goal of elevating your business and building an identity that resonates with your ideal customers.

NO FRANKENDESIGNS

When multiple options are presented there is a temptation to try to pull the pieces you like best from each and merge them into one. This results in a brand that feels incomplete or confused, and is very rarely successful.

REMOVES SUBJECTIVITY

While it’s important that you feel personal pride in your brand, the aim is to create an identity that is effective in connecting with your audience and meets your marketing goals. We’ll look at everything through the perspective of the target audience to avoid personal preference and be sure we’re speaking specifically to your people and their needs.

My Observations

Since switching to the one concept method I’ve had more projects approved on the first round and if they go into round of refinement it is always to bring extra detail and intention into an already realized concept. My client’s feel relaxed and guided through the process, not overwhelmed or anxious about making the “wrong” choice.

In the end, the one concept approach allows you to let your designer expertly guide you through the branding process so you can be confident that the end result will best serve your audience.