A third way to present

There’s usually two ways to present your creative.

One way is the multiple-choice approach where you present three or four options and let the client decide. Which usually ends with the client choosing your least favorite option you wished you’d never included. After rounds and rounds of changes, this is usually hobbled together with bits and pieces of other options to keep the client happy because the client always wants everything.

The other way is the lamb-to-slaughter approach where you present a couple of shitty options you vilify and tear apart as you lead up to your preferred option. Which usually ends with the client choosing the second to last option and then undermining it with round after round of changes because they’d like you to know they’re actually pretty creative too.

But there’s a third way. The Paul Rand way. Where you don’t present a slew of options or choice after choice after choice (because the client has told you they’ll know it when they see it).

Paul Rand was an American art director and graphic designer, responsible for striking and timeless modernist corporate logos for IBM, UPS, Cummins, Yale, ABC.

Paul would spend an inordinate amount of time clarifying the design problem. He was very big on defamiliarizing the ordinary. He abhorred fads.

Presentation was one of Paul’s key design principles. He placed great importance on presenting a design to a client. His way to present creative was meticulous. His thoughts, explorations, applications, reasoning and single-option solution would be fully articulated in presentation booklets.

No PowerPoint. No slide deck. No song and dance. Just hand out the presentation booklet with a brief introduction and let the client understand the design at their own pace.

Paul’s single-option is no option at all. When clients asked if he could come up with a few options, Paul had a standard answer.

‘No,’ he would tell them. ‘I will solve your problem for you and you will pay me. You don’t have to use the solution. If you want options, go talk to other people.’

Free short story every week. No spam, ever.