Problem Solving & Decision Making -The One Reason Why Designers Present Multiple Concepts for a Problem

Designer’s job is to solve a problem and they present a minimum of two concept solutions for a problem. The main reason why a designer presents more than one concept -?

See the image above — Yes, both the horizontal lines are of equal in dimensions but made to appear of different lengths. The top line does not mean anything without the presence of the bottom line.

See the image below — Both the Orange coloured circles are of the same diameter, but they appear large of small due to different sized grey circle. You could change impression or impact of a concept or an idea.

A real estate sales agent starts with showing a couple of undesirable houses(with inflated prices) to any new customer. He calls those properties as “Set Up” properties and are not intended for selling, but only for showing it to prospective customers. When customers see genuine properties after being shown those undesirable houses, they love the new houses.

When you visit a retail store, the sales personnel would try to sell you costlier item first. Example — If you bought a suit first for Rs.25000, the subsequent purchase of accessories for Rs.2000 would appear smaller or negligible.

To promote a song of an unknown artist or a new song from known artist, radio stations sandwiched the song between two “familiar” songs, in order to avoid people switching stations. And they had to follow this practice until listeners felt that this new song sounded “familiar.”

The high priced entries in restaurant menus boost revenue for the restaurant, though nobody buys them, as customers order the second most expensive item.

Audi’s cheapest model A3 is launched to boost sales of A4 model. People would not like to associate with the model of lowest cost. The same reason why Maruti has versions like LXi, VXi and ZXi. Maruti wants to sell more of medium versions, so created models one level below and above, so that it could create a comparison model(Choices) for the customer.

When Williams-Sonoma launched his ‘bread making machine’, nobody bought. He designed another larger machine, which was double the price of the earlier machine. People liked this machine, realised it was expensive, looked at the next available option and purchased the earlier model machine. His sales rose.

One of my friend wants to make sure his salary is always more than his wife’s sister’s husband’s salary.

Humans rarely chose things in absolute terms. They need to see things by comparing one thing with another. A woman is termed beautiful with relative to another woman. Did you buy a shirt by just looking at only one shirt? Did you buy a house by just looking at only one house? Did you not explore options like Subway, McDonald’s, Pizzahut, Asif Biriyani, when you had plans to go out for lunch? Shall I go to the party tonight or should I watch a movie at home or should I visit the uncle tonight? Jobs? Education? We are naturally wired to compare things and decide. We need choices.

References: Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, Influence by Robert Cialdini, Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.

Secular Humanist, Business Growth Consultant, Design Thinker, India. Reach me at or

Secular Humanist, Business Growth Consultant, Design Thinker, India. Reach me at or