4 ways to make Frankenstein-ing design concepts less scary

Does this sound familiar? 

“The illustrative approach and the photography approach are both great…but we’re so torn! So go ahead and combine them into a single design. Thanks!”

Presenting multiple design directions is a way to showcase how a successful experience can be achieved across discrete options. But it seems like, more often than not, the final decision tends to combine or “Frankenstein” these concepts into something which potentially dilutes the original thinking. Admittedly, this is a scary moment in the design process. But rest assured! Here are some things to consider to alleviate the tension before and after the monster comes alive.

Anticipate the request

The best way to avoid a Frankenstein-ed experience is to come into the design concept presentations prepared for its summoning.

    • Ensure that each design approach has clearly defined attributes and intentions. This will ideally make it clearer as to why they should not be drastically altered. If one approach, say, tugs at the users’ heartstrings and another is more curt in style, emphasize these differences. Explicitly communicating why and how concepts are unique will make blending them feel less enticing. 
    • Proactively show examples of why Frankenstein-ing will NOT work and keep these in your back pocket if you need them. By illustrating through “offshoot” designs why blending is awkward, it will allow you to address potential pushback on-the-fly.

Truly understand why Frankenstein-ing is requested

There could be a number of reasons for why a client opts not to choose a single approach—it could be indecision, or trying to get the “best of both worlds”, or simply personal preference. Getting clarity around the rationale for a mash-up can serve as a catalyst for new ideas instead of prescriptive “do this, do that” feedback.


Stop calling it a Frankenstein-ed design

If and when Frankenstein-ing occurs, embrace it. This is a new challenge to overcome!  Merging concepts should not entail randomly taking elements and mish-mashing them together; there needs to be a concrete strategy in terms of which attributes are dialed up versus down. Document this new strategy to ensure a cohesive experience is redefined and everyone is on board with it.


Let users be the ultimate judge

You may have tested your original concepts, but one more round never hurts. Even a quick-and-dirty guerilla test will help to solidify whether or not blending your concepts was the right move. Ensure that the newly defined strategy you have in place is coming across to users through qualitative feedback and that the updates are not impacting the usability of the product.


A Frankenstein request can be scary, but stay brave! Anticipating, acknowledging, re-strategizing and validating are the four tactics you need to slay the monster.

Categories: Visual Design
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