Or - Never show more than one design option because clients either always want the worst one, or they want to combine them.
Go with one and if they don't like it, ask why not and go from there. They're not going to drop you as a client because you got it wrong the first time and if they do, they were probably a client you dont want in the long run anyway.
they want to combine them
Yes, this is very common in my experience. The team feels like there's been a nice compromise and can't see that the merge is worse than the discrete directions.
Oh god, yeah the Franken-design solution is almost never the right idea.
Why would you ever show a worst one? I always show multiples but never something I do not think solves the problem and looks great. If the ideas come I am going to show them. We need to get over ourselves in the line of thinking that there is only one solution to the problem.
I don't anymore. When I started off, for some reason I thought you had to show three options, so i put all the thought and effort into one design, then did two ones which werent as good because, logicial if you've solved a problem as well as you can, the other ways of solving that problem arent going to be as good. Then I did this a few times and saw that clients always combine them or don't know what to pick, so I just decided to stop showing options and give them one design and go from there.
I'd also advise to stay away from clients that send you mockups (derived from their own mind) yet ask for repeated changes on them because X, Y, Z, etc. should be different.
Always believed one option and iterate is the best way to get to a solid end result consistently.
"Three options" all too often leads to poor compromise and dilution and usually a sign of a weak design director.
Ah crap I didn't see this when I commented. Yeah, you're spot on.
I have presented 17 options and the end product landed perfectly for the client.
Another solution to the problem you are tying to solve, I.e how to converge on the right design out of many options, is to test your designs with real users, which is proven to be much more effective rather than trying to guess internally.
For a logo and other communication design how does this work? A focus group or something like this?
Does anyone else use "the duck"?
This is one of my favorite takes on the subject ever.
I've been a stakeholder in many a design review, and often seeing only one option can be quite frustrating. It makes feedback more difficult if it isn't matching my expectations. Often times I've seen a design and I'm like...eh, this isn't on target. At these times, seeing alternative approaches can help drive a constructive conversation.
That said, if you are confident in the approach and can defend it, then yes, by all means make the decision.
Be able to defend the design that you make.
Perhaps you did a poor job explaining what you wanted or expected? Contrary to popular belief, the client isn't always right, we just have to make it seem that way most of the time.
Perhaps he wants to be wow'd. Contrary to popular belief design isn't a plug and play career. UX can be looked at as a science but anything visual always comes with a designers interpretation of the problem and their own solution.
personally i tend to design as many options as possible, exhaust myself and present those I feel most comfortable with. Especially in product design, some times there are multiple solutions and they're all subjective(until tested and proven otherwise).
Maybe - perhaps it's important to differentiate between branding/marketing-type work and product work. For the former, seeing early directional options has always been helpful. I've just been in too many situations where the designer/design team used some very specific style without clearing it all before the first check-in, and it doesn't work for me. If I did a poor job explaining what I wanted in these situations, I'd expect the design team to help me articulate the goal, and even then I'd want to see what options were considered.
For the latter, as a product lead it would indeed fall on me if I couldn't articulate the problem such that the solution was clearly correct or incorrect, though even then, there are almost always many ways to solve a problem, not all of which are clearly "correct'.
So maybe the takeaway should be "know your client/stakeholder" - if they have no design sense and showing them options is going to be a shit show, then by all means avoid that. :)
100 points to this article.
Especially: "Three design options are standard in product teams. This is typically to create the appearance of due exploration, but often it becomes a reflection of a lack of trust in a designer to solve the problem themselves."
I see this happen way too often at my workplace, for this reason, and in a very cold, subtle way.