Blog: The Power of 3 in Graphic Design

When I start work with a new client, one of the first questions they ask is what our process is. Specifically how will we arrive at a final solution. In an ever changing world of graphic design standards I’ve kept to a tried and true formula… 3 initial design options and then up to 3 rounds of revisions to one of the designs to arrive at a final solution. And typically it will involve taking elements of the 2 unchosen designs and seeing how we can implement them into the favorite design.

The 3 seems to be a magic number. It’s varied but also easily digestible. I’ve heard of designers giving 5-10 design options which I feel is unfair to the designer, and also unfair to the client who is overwhelmed with so many options it’s tough for them to accurately assess true quality. Likewise, the 3 rounds of revisions is a sweet spot. In my experience after 3 rounds of revisions the quality of the solution starts to diminish quickly due to over analysis.

Of course there have been exceptions when we come up with the perfect solution immediately and we’re done, or when our style/vision and the client’s doesn’t mesh as well as we had hoped and we need to go a bit further to figure it all out. But I can honestly say 90% of the graphic design projects fit perfectly into the 3/3 method. It allows both the designers and the clients to have a clear, succinct process to use to arrive at the optimal fresh solution.

— Hovie Hawk

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