The answer to this questions is a function of the following variables in varying degrees of importance depending on your circumstances :
Many logo designers have more than a couple of price packages that they offer to prospective clients. Typically, the higher the price, the more the number of options a client has available to choose from. Although, the budget variable and assumption does not hold true for logo designers who are immensely experienced and have been around for a long time – have worked with a long list of clients. For an experienced, good and professional logo designer, even just one option might solve the brand identity design problem – at a much higher price than a less experienced logo designer who might give you twenty options for the same price.
A larger number of options obviously means the logo designer is going to take more time coming up with those options.
The Logo Designer
Depending on what extent you trust the logo designer’s skill and ability, you could want to see a large number of options or you could be fine with a couple of options.
Imagine a scenario where you have a pipe/faucet leak at your home and after trying your hand at it and being unable to solve the problem, you call in an experienced plumber. You’re not going to ask the plumber for ten different ways to fix the problem – the plumber is going to use his experience and your feedback about the problem and then apply the best possible solution.
Of course, you would discuss options with the plumber before the final agreement – there could be a perfect option but that might involve procuring space-grade material from NASA, which you might not be able to afford – so a mutual compromise must be reached. [ It’s a simple analogy – but it should suffice as an explanation. ]
Every logo designer has a different method of functioning. Typically, the logo designer will do multiple sketches or options but only a few will be shown to you. In some cases, the logo designer might choose to show you all the sketches. Even if the price package says “only one option”, a good logo designer will still have drawn multiple sketches but shown you just one.
Ideally, ‘number of options’ is a flawed way of looking at a logo design engagement. This viewpoint has been perpetrated more by the off-the-shelf logo design providers and is now, more or less, indulged in as an acceptable way to determine pricing for a logo design engagement.
Leonardo Da Vinci did not come up with The Mona Lisa using the process of ‘number of options’. He probably has a vague idea, to start with, which he then focussed on and honed into one good painting.
I’m not saying logo design is like coming up with a painting. But it is not JUST about the time spent on the number of options and iterations. If you requested Picasso for a sketch of your face, he might give you a scribbled outline within five minutes. But it will still be exorbitant and worth it. Picasso has the experience of years behind him that culminate into that five-minute-sketch.
Now, the logo designer you’re working with, in all probability, is no Picasso. But if you’re looking for a good solution to your brand identity problem, you should expect work with a logo designer who has been around. It will be expensive – more expensive than that figure in your head, which you might have arrived at without any prior knowledge about logo design. Depending on the value you attach to your corporate identity, at this particular moment, you could of course settle for less.
The answer to the questions is that ideally, there should be no limit to the number of options. Yet, there must be focus.
RESOURCES : Links
- Andy Rutledge : Dog & Pony Show : Number of Options
Have you read those articles about which number of design options is best to show the client? I’m sure you’ve seen a few; the issue of design comps quantity is often broken down into a discussion of what would be the optimal presented quantity and combination of main page comps and secondary page comps. These articles always touch on how the offered design comp quantity affects the likelihood of your getting quick and/or easy client approvals …you know, because quick approval is probably why the client hired you.
Unfortunately, apart from Andy’s article, I don’t know of any other online or offline article / discussion that talks about this issue. If you know of some, please share.