12th August 2020

How to write a beneficial creative brief

A good brief is both beneficial for the designer and the client. The better prepared the designer, the better the outcome.

How do you make sure you get the desired creative result you want? You write a clear and easy to follow design brief. This blog may seem odd, coming from a creative agency but we have found that when we help the client with pointers on their brief, we help ourselves too and therefore ease the process for all involved for a much better outcome.

So, here is our 10 point take on how to brief your designer or agency to help avoid any misunderstandings.

  1. First describe what the business does, the objective and desired results this new creative work will bring to the business and provide input from your side, whilst allowing the agency to build a picture themselves.
     
  2. The brief should avoid any actual design aesthetics or specifics and allow the creative work to happen for you. With enough background info and collateral, the design process will work smoothly and be more beneficial. By all means, share things that you really do not want to see, as this is relevant.
     
  3. If the creative design work involves specifics e.g. An exhibition stand then this will need further information offered like sharing the organiser’s handbook, space, orientation, additional marketing objectives etc.
     
  4. Share information on your competitors and marketing challenges, this will aid the agency to think differently to you but parallel to you. Give them specifics and describe what makes your business different from them (USPs).
     
  5. Deadline and timescale. Discuss realistic timings at the outset and your expectations so there are no nasty surprises later, and everyone can voice any concerns right from the start. Remember to allow time for review and revision, possibly taking up 20-30% of the overall length of the project.
     
  6. Share opinion on initial ideas, where it will be helpful and insist on things that will not hinder the creative process, remember try not to be influencing the specifics (point 2). If the brief is too detailed and precise, it will stifle creativity. A little like being told to paint all the rooms in your home all in magnolia! If you want to have your expectation exceeded, then this is key.
     
  7. Consider where your new work will be seen, shared and visited. Be as specific as you like here, this really helps and avoids problems later when too much work could already have been done.
     
  8. If you already have a brand guideline document for your business, then share these at the earliest stage so the designers can adhere to these and absorb the personality of the brand, not deviate.
     
  9. A one to two page document and/or list covering all these points should be ample and any accompanying info to help, coupled with a meeting online or, better still, in person to agree everything going forward.
     
  10. Lastly, decide within your organisation who will lead the decision making as this is crucial, as design “by committee” simply dilutes, even destroys the objective. Even if this involves two people equally, at least agree this beforehand and ensure the design team understand who they will be working with and answerable to. Relationships are everything in our business. 
     

So, this should form the basis of your brief to your creative agency or designer. It doesn’t need to be a massive document, in fact the more direct and succinct it is, the better.


Download this brief template here for your own use, then you can use it to contact us.

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