NeXT logoThe subject of “logo options” came up for me recently in the form of the question: “how many logo options should I show my client?” My answer was that I put my very best effort into one logo design. If a client doesn’t like it, they can pay me for another logo design option or find another designer to work with. I refuse to waste my or my client’s time by providing my best idea, and then two to three more really shitty ideas just to fulfill some quota of “options.” Besides, the client will ALWAYS choose the shittiest option you show them, so I just don’t do it.

When Steve Jobs asked Paul Rand for some “options” for the NeXT logo design, he offered the now famous reply

“No, 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.”

LogoDesignLove has put together a nice little post about the iconic Steve Jobs project that he worked with Paul Rand on that is well worth taking the time to read through. And be sure to watch the video at the end of the post.

By offering “options” to the client, you’re putting the job of providing the solution in their hands… which is what they’re paying you for. YOU are supposed to provide the solution.

The design business has got to be the only one I know of where a client requests one thing, expects to get three things and only intends on paying for a half of thing or no thing at all. And so many designers just happily comply. We’ve become our own worst enemy by providing “options” and doing spec-work instead of thoughtful, solution-based design. My fear is that “the ship has sailed” on the subject, and we’re stuck in a world where clients are willing to accept a piece of clip-art with their name under it as their logo because they’re only paying $200 for it anyway.