Michael Bierut: How to Make Your Client’s Logo Bigger Without Making Their Logo Bigger

You may have already guessed how this works.

When you put together the presentation, the logo from the previous meeting—the size you originally showed—is number 5, not number 1, and the options are all incrementally smaller, not incrementally bigger. But notice that you never claim otherwise. You say only that you’ve “changed the size ever so slightly”—true. You say, as you lay them out, “Here’s number one…two’s a little bigger…a little bigger again…” etc.—true again! Even your (admittedly cruel and perverse) advocacy for option 4 is based on an unspoken but nonetheless legitimate realization that the logo was actually too big in the first place, not too small. If you are very careful, you never have to lie at all.

The lighting-designer version of this is to tell the director that yes, you can make the lights brighter, but you’ll need to turn off the power for a few minutes while you change some of the wiring. Turn everything off, wait fifteen minutes while the director’s eyes adjust to the dark, then turn everything back on. It sure does look brighter now, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, I never had to use this one.