Using the 'One Concept' method in Brand Design


Something that’s common in any industry, are industry standards. In the design world, the standard for logo and brand design is to present 3 logo options to a client and let them choose their favourite. Within the first 6 months of running Salt Design Co. we decided to screw that. Instead, we switched to what’s known as the ‘one concept approach’ for all of our brand design projects.

Why we use the one concept method for brand design

What is the one concept approach and why do we use it?

Well, in a nutshell, the one concept approach is basically just a fancy way of saying we only present our clients with one full brand and logo concept. We switched to this approach back in 2017, and so far it has been nothing but amazing. It cuts down on refinement time, makes the branding process easier for our clients, and allows us to do a deep dive into the style a brand needs, fleshing out one idea as much as possible and make sure it’s strong and as close to perfect as it can be when a client sees it.

By no means is this the end of the process - for all projects we have another 1-3 rounds of design to ensure that our brand concept is perfect. We like to think of it as the marriage between the client as the expert of their business, with us as design experts. We don’t know a client’s business as well as they do, so we do need (and welcome) their thoughts. Is this design too feminine, is too childlike, is… anything that’s not quite perfect for their brand ethos and target market.

We ask questions that push our clients to think beyond the visuals, and consider how the brand design supports their brand messaging and how it will attract their ideal customers. What’s working towards those goals, what’s not?

From there we can start to evaluate what can be tweaked and improved until we hit upon the final result. And in the 2+ years we’ve been following this process we’ve never needed to go beyond the 3 rounds of refinement – in fact many projects only require 1 round of refinements, and some don’t need any!

What’s included in a brand presentation?

Below is an example of what’s included in an ‘Initial Brand Concept"; the first concept we send to a client, showing them the logo design, font system, colour palette, and any other brand details in use. This concept is referred to as the initial presentation because we will then take this concept through 1-3 rounds of refinement to ensure that we get it just right, but this is the very first.

As a side note, we find that labelling it as a concept makes it clear that we are presenting it as an idea for the brand, not the final never again changing design. It’s open to refinements and this is the starting point for that.

You’ll see in this slide that we also include the original mood board created so that a client can see where we started and what we’ve been using to guide us and inspire us. Throughout the design process we use both he mood board as a style direction and the Brand Strategy as a reference, pulling in keywords and adjectives we need to fulfill with the visuals.

Type C Consulting Brand Presentation for our One Concept approach to brand and logo design at Salt Design Co.

We often get to know a business well enough with this process helps us create language for the brand too! The above tagline (‘Do it once, Do it right’) was our concept for Type C Consulting and owner Connie ended up loving it so much that she is now using it as the tagline for her business, even though we were originally just using it as text for the brand mock-ups.

So that’s the one concept approach! Our favourite way to create brand identities - a process that we will live and die for because it allows us to really dig deep into a client’s needs and find the best solutions for them. Got any questions about this? Feel free to leave us a comment below!


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