I agree with all of your points here except I wonder why you choose to present 2–3 mockups? I almost always present only one. I’m talking about UX/UI though — perhaps you’re referring to branding or another type of visual design where it’s more important to explore a wider range of solutions?

The very valid points you’ve raised against producing too many mockups apply to those extra 1–2 as well. If the project is well planned and you’re confident in your design execution, one mockup is sufficient as a starting point, and less wasteful. At least in my experience it is. I can’t remember the last time a client disliked my initial design direction enough that it had to be binned and an entirely different direction explored.

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I’m a UX/UI designer from Auckland, New Zealand. Writing about freelancing & business for indie designers & creatives at https://solowork.co

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