Logo Design and the Misconceptions of Unlimited Choice

Logo Design and the Misconceptions of Unlimited Choice by Ottawa Graphic Designer idApostle

As a client looking to have your logo developed, select the option most important to you from each of the following:

1. Number of Logo Designs:

a) unlimited logo designs b
) one effective logo

2. Number of Logo Revisions:

a) unlimited logo revisions
b) one effective logo

3. Number of Logo Designers:

a) unlimited logo designers
b) one effective logo

4. Number of Logo Directions:

a) unlimited logo directions
b) one effective logo


  1. 100 ill-conceived designs have no worth.
  2. 100 rounds of revisions cost valuable time.
  3. 100 untalented and uninformed ‘designers’ provide no strategic value.
  4. 100 different creative directions indicate you have skipped essential strategic decisions.

Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Choice can provide an illusion of security, a false guarantee that quantity will result in something good. The reality is that more crap results in a bigger pile of crap—it doesn’t make it better. Successful brand design relies on understanding, strategy and hard work. Design services that offer unlimited logo designs and revisions also provide very limited understanding and strategic value. If you want unlimited choice, consider the fact that you have it when selecting the one graphic designer you want to work with rather than crowdsourcing or asking for spec work. There are thousands out there. Once you do, I suggest you commit, and pour everything you can into the process. Invest in the relationship, and a talented and well-informed designer will deliver the one effective solution you need.


  • Ian Vadas says:
    Jun 24 at 03:40

    Nice post Steve. Choice does not equal more value. Not when the end goal is to have 1 solution that works.

    I recently completed a project for a client where I only presented one solution. The client loved it but said she was expecting to have more to choose from. In the end it didn’t matter but it goes to show how clients think.

    Thank you for helping educate clients (and designers) that strategy is what adds value. Not choice.

  • Bill Kenney says:
    Jun 26 at 04:38

    Great post. It is so nice when I am able to talk to prospective clients and they understand the key points you made, then I know both parties are set up for a win. If they do not then I politely tell them we not what they are looking for.

  • Travis Ulrich says:
    Jun 26 at 05:06

    Devils Advocate: Don’t you think not giving at least 2 or 3 logo options to your client is a bit lazy?

  • Steve Zelle says:
    Jun 26 at 06:14

    Thanks Ian and Bill—I appreciate your taking the time to comment and always nice to hear people found it helpful.

    Travis, Lazy? Absolutely IF a designer presents the one (and only) concept the designer bothered to come up with to simply get the job done.

    I will, on occasion, present more than one concept to a client, but what I don’t do is promise the client a specific number of concepts. I find it clarifies the purpose of the exercise—to come up with an effective solution. If during the process, there are two very strong ideas—I present them—but they have to be strong, inline with the creative brief, and not there to bulk up the deliverables or to cover all bases.

    It’s more of a sniper approach to hitting a specific target than a shotgun blasting away in the dark (my view of much of the crowdsourcing, spec work, logo warehouses, and wanna-be designers). I think knowing what you are aiming at takes a lot more time than aimlessly delivering concept after concept.

    I appreciate you playing devils advocate Travis—I was wondering when that question would pop up. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

    1. Travis Ulrich says:
      Jun 26 at 06:27

      Good answer. 😉

      I’ve been promising 3 logo alternatives but I’m thinking that as soon as my current contracts all clear out I’ll be changing that. I think my time would be better spent refining and honing strong ideas than forcing that third logo. Sometimes the ideas flow. Sometimes it’s one golden egg and a bunch of “purple ducks”.

  • Ian Vadas says:
    Jun 26 at 07:02

    Exactly Steve. I presented only one but had another concept (though not fully developed) waiting in the wings incase it was totally off the mark or the client insisted on something else.

    So is it not lazy in my mind but actually more efficient – a key if you are running your own business and can’t afford to waste time on ideas just for the sake of exploring.

    The truth is that there can be many appropriate solutions to the problem. But it usually takes more than one person to really deliver 3 or more separate strong solutions – for example, an agency that has more than one person or team working on the same project.

    However, if you work alone and present 3 options, how confident are you in that 3rd option? Is there one you feel is the strongest of the 3? Why is that one the strongest?

    Most likely it is because it’s the most inline with the criteria set out in initial brief. Why waste your time and your clients time just to meet a set amount of concepts? In the end the client is buying only one solution. Not 3. Or god forbid 100.

    Graham Smith wrote a really nice post on this at http://imjustcreative.com/paul-rand-has-the-right-idea-design-one-logo-only/2010/11/12/

  • Speider says:
    Sep 8 at 10:48

    You forgot the ever popular, “I want to see as many designs as possible until I see what I want because I’ll know it when I see it.”

    Maybe I’m just bitter?

  • Paul Murray says:
    Oct 10 at 10:56

    Very well put.

    Why pay for quantity when you can get quality guaranteed if you look for the right designer?

  • Jannikka Toby says:
    May 26 at 11:59

    great post .Love that last paragraph!

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