Saul Bass meeting
Saul Bass with Mark Kramer (1966)

“A presentation has to share just enough of the process so that someone who has not been a participant can understand the ‘inevitability’ of the solution, and that the solution is the culmination of a rigorous and systematic investigation of all reasonable possibilities.

“When you present work to a client it is important to have a point of view. The tricky part is to provide several good solutions to a problem and then not allow the client to choose other than the best one. It’s surprising how hard that can be sometimes.”
— Saul Bass

Quoted from the excellent book Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design.

Saul Bass photo

From the archives:
This is what you need — a magic dot
The cost of a Saul Bass logo


You have to be able to give the client the courage to choose the best one. A client/non-designer will naturally gravitate toward the one that looks more like the logos (s)he has seen in the world at large. This is BY FAR the hardest part of logo design work.

Or, in three words: the “avoiding the average” strategy, and how to create a momentum that your client will recognize – and sign for it.

Thanks for this relevant quote!

“… someone who has not been a participant” stood out to me.

I think that was the old-school thought of coming to a presentation meeting with a surprise solution. Modern thought would include the client at every step so that presentation meeting is less of a surprise and more of the logical meeting of established ideas.

I would agree that presentations are challenging. But they shouldn’t be that scary if all the preceding conversations built to the solution you are showing.

@John–you’ve nailed it. If good analysis and design generate something unexpectedly elegant this tends to scare middle managers. They know the unexpected dies in committee or during review by someone who hasn’t invested much in understanding the domain/problem/solution/whatever. It’s hard for someone who didn’t participate in the hard work of the creative process to “get it” sometimes. This is particularly true if they are one of the many who believe the designer is an artist who creates from thin air. Courage/commitment to something that really hits (or even almost hits) the mark can make all of the difference in the world and it is SO hard to come by.

Yes, we have to put on a presentation of sorts not only when we are selling our designs, but also often when we are selling ourselves to the client initially when being considered for a job/project. It’s a learning process for sure. Thanks for the read David.

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