Recently, I found myself providing some assistance on a side project helping with food branding -- I love new projects. I always enjoy working through the challenges and variations on a new project, connecting with your creative processes in very different ways. It's like going for a bicycle ride in a new area instead of turning the pedals through your regular training loop.
As I was working through this project, one of the things that it reminded me of was this experience years ago at the How Design Conference. During this one session, the speaker presented this idea that he would present just one idea, because the right concept was just that -- the right concept. That there is one perfect concept that fit the problem and that everything else was just not as good.
Over the years, I've seen my share of good ideas and not so good ideas. And while the notion of the one perfect idea seems rather elegant, in reality, it seldom works. To start with, most clients are going to be unhappy with one idea. The want to believe in the idea of choice and of some participation in the process. What may seem like the perfect idea to you will probably seem like you didn't consider any other possibilities to them. If you had only one idea, maybe you aren't creative.
That being said, sometimes there are ideas that just seem SO perfect that you find yourself falling in love with them. Once you come across those, everything else -- all of the other ideas -- seem to suck in comparison. Of course, the reason that you may be so passionately connected to the idea is that it is your baby, your creation.
Let it go. As a creative pro, you always need to be able to detach from your ideas, to put them down and move onto the next. You work for a client, and sometimes the client selects the other idea (whether it's good or not). Artists can fixate on an idea - you have to keep moving forward.
Sure you feel heartbroken when the client didn't pick The One. It doesn't matter. Are you an under-appreciated creative genius? Of course you are. Now get back to work making that second rate idea shine.