Comps? No… concepts.


Let’s get this straight: comps are not concepts.

Designers… we like to make stuff look good. And comps (short for compositions) show the visual representation of a concept. But to execute big thinking, it isn’t what something looks like, it’s the idea – the concept. It’s the thinking before you create what “it” is and what “it” will do. It’s the why.

A couple years ago I was working on a project with a client. It wasn’t just one client, it was a roomful of client. To have shown this huge group a home page and some secondary pages of the web site would have been pure folly. To have put a site strategy document, or heaven forbid, wireframes, in front of them would have ended in unspeakable tragedy. Instead, we got the group excited about the concept of the site by not showing the site design at all. We presented the idea of why we were creating the site. It represented style and function (that later translated into strategy and design) not through web site comps, but by telling a story. The story of what we wanted people to feel, to learn, and to do, without showing a site map or mentioning any technology.

Sometimes the idea for a concept can fill pages. Sometimes it’s a few words. Either way, it’s a lot easier to get a client excited about a design once they’re excited about the concept.

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