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March 4, 2016

Chris Murray Considers the Paradox of Choice & Early Design Concepts

In his latest essay for Core77, Chris Murray proposes that four to six is the sweet spot when presenting early concepts to clients.

In ‘How Many Industrial Design Concepts Is Too Many,’ he writes, “Fewer than four, and you’re probably not exploring the full range of possible outcomes; more than six, and your client may be prone to make a poor selection — and end up with a failed product.”


Murray backs up his hypothesis with research by Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice — which “explains the paralysis that grips us when we try to pick one ice cream flavor out of an available 32” — as well as Miller’s Law, “which states that most human brains are incapable of keeping more than seven or so unique ideas in immediate consciousness at once.”

Read why these principles apply to early industrial design concept reviews — and about the two exceptions to the four-to-six concepts pattern. 

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