How do you decide between two designs?

So I am presenting a conceptual product to a company that is supposed to showcase OLED technology.

How do I decide between two designs I enjoy? They both are very, very similar, except one has a lot of parts taken away and uses less material, which is a great thing, but is less self explanatory to operate, less inviting, and in my opinion, while cooler, might not be as aesthetically appealing.


Design 1:

Less material, parts taken away
Unique, I haven’t seen designs as similar to this one
Has kind of a “cool” factor to it

Less self-explanatory to operate, and what it is

Design 2:

Looks better
Very self-explanatory

More parts, more to it

Thanks guys!

Can you give a little more context of who the intended user of the concept will be? Option 1 sounds as though it would be appealing to show off the technology as demonstration tool to the companies partners. Option 2 sounds more appealing to average Joe consumer. But I have no idea who your target audience is?

Alternatively you could show both as it’s only conceptual and let them decide which one they like. They may turn around and ask you to combine them though :wink:

It’s a desk lamp I will be designing.

At the critique will be my professor, a lighting designer who is very well known in the industry, a major corporation that provided the OLEDs and is looking for products to showcase their technology, and another major lighting corporation who are much more “decorative” and artistic in their designs.

Sounds like an interesting challenge.

I think anyone will agree that in order to properly critique it we would have to see your work.

Sometimes a ‘gut-feeling’ bubbles up which can somehow intuitively sense which concept is stronger and more coherent.

If you have two concepts for which you both have no strong gut-feeling, but they seem good concepts, you may want to explore a little further to see if you can combine each one’s strong points into something new.

If you have two concepts for which you both have a strong intuition that they are good, you will first want to look at the requirements and see which ones are most important for the design. You could sort of logically score each concept based on its fit to each requirement and the weight of that requirement. Or you could do a test with your target customer group and see what they prefer. You could also choose the concept based on which one fits the vision of you as a designer or of your company the best - does it focus more on producability and environmental responsibility, for example, or more on aesthetics and user-centered design?

Good advice above from Ralph.

I don’t have much to add but will reiterate:

  1. definitely look at the parameters of the brief to see if that illuminates a clear winner. If that doesn’t work then:
  2. make a “frankenconcept” combining the best elements of both. If that doesn’t work then:
  3. make new concepts :wink:

I’d go with the one on the left.

Wrong answer.

i usually have a very defined needs/wants/desire list that is weighted an reference back to this to help take some of the subjectivity out of the decision, far to many times have i seen the COOL concept move forward but it doesn’t meet the requirements…

What are the decision makers for your two concepts. Price must not be one of them as you state one had more parts (usually more cost)

If it is a styling race you need different ref data to help decide in order to remove the I LIKE syndrome.

as mentioned above more context would allow for us to provide better direction and guidance.

Which was the first concept? And what drove you to create a second one? I’ve often found myself starting with an initial concept, scrapping it, moving on to further concepts and then circling back to deliver my first concept. Maybe that’s a validation thing, or I feel compelled to seek out better concepts, but in the end sometimes your first concept really is the best.

Without seeing your concepts I can’t really critique them, but, your 2nd concept sounds as though you took on more design complexity to deliver more simplicity to the user. I typically consider this good design, but only if cost is equal or less than!


There is no wrong answer to arbitrary questions without criteria for evaluation.

That said, I’d go with the blue one.

My first thought was: Would it be wrong to present both with the pros and cons and let the client decide? They may buy in to the process even more as you are empowering them - or maybe not. Why not present three strong concepts if you are trying to impress?

If you can only present one, which one is most on brand?

I also agree with Ralph that if the concepts are very similar, could more development be done to combine the two?

I’d always go for the one in the middle.

Edited to clarify some tongue in cheek input and a more valuable answer!


As a more serious answer to the OP.

As others have stated, hard to give much feedback due to the limited information, however there are some good clues in the info you have given us.

It looks like you’ve evaluated both concepts from a rational point-of-view, good work. Can you apply the best elements of each concept and combine them?

Can you develop both concepts, in-line with the audience’s individual backgrounds you’ve identified?

I’m certain we’d all love to see the two concepts you’re referring too, and how you progressed from here, if and when you can show them.

On a serious note, my problem with the OP is he/she has listed a total of 5 criterion to evaluate the designs. Of the 5, 2 can be compared apples to apples, the other three he/she are different from each other, apples to oranges.

There is absolutely no attempt weight the criteria, does one matter more than the other?

There is absolutely no attempt to determine why these criterion were chosen over the countless other potential criterion.

On the other hand, I’d go with the one with clean lines (as opposed to dirty lines, dirty lines suck).

Am I missing something - why can’t you just ask this question to your professor now before the presentation? If you choose the one he likes at least you would have someone else in the room on your side.