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The importance of a good design brief

  • Posted on 13 Dec 2023
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When it comes to briefs – any kind of briefs, including marketing, advertising, event and graphic design briefs – the outcome will reflect the quality of your brief. This is one circumstance of ‘If you don’t ask, you won’t get!’

Every project starts with a blank canvas, whether it’s a TV commercial, a social media campaign or a logo design. With a blank canvas in front of you, it’s easy to see how daunting a task can be without a well-defined brief. The purpose of a good brief is to allow both the client and the agency to understand the expectations of the project. It’s frustrating for both the designer and the client when targets are missed (which is almost certain without clear, decisive direction). It would be like going to the hairdresser and saying, “I want something exciting, I’m ready for a change, surprise me!” and then realising you actually weren’t ready for a change because the bright pink balayage you find yourself with does not suit your personality or your style.

As they say, “if you don’t ask, you probably won’t get”. Well, it’s highly likely that you don’t know exactly what you want, but you still need to develop a clear brief then ensure you and your designer or agency are on the same page. (Thankfully, after working with a designer or agency for a while, you will naturally grow to understand each other and the process becomes even smoother as we know exactly what suits your brand, and also what works with your customer.)

How exactly do you convey your project objectives effectively to ensure you end up with a great outcome? We’ve listed six tips to help you develop a winning brief.

Tips to creating a solid design brief

Be clear and constructive 

  • If you haven’t worked with the design team before, share as much as you can about your company culture, products and services and target market.
  • Define your goals clearly, with as much detail as possible.
  • Think about what you want to communicate to your audience. Messages? Emotions? Everything counts.

Think about functionality

  • You might have a stunning project in mind, but how will it work? And for whom?
  • Take time to think about what platforms you want it to carry across (websites, t-shirts, brochures, etc). Will you print internally or professionally? Will it be fixed or editable on your end? These are fundamental details that may affect how your job is designed and what is possible.

Get visual

  • Finding reference material is a great way to illustrate your vision in a language that designers know best.
  • Set up a mood board – aka a collection of colours, pictures, layouts and anything else that inspires your project. If you’re having trouble deciding on what you want, this process will help you fill in the gaps and build clarity.

Utilise feedback periods

  • The drafting period is your opportunity to evaluate the direction your project is heading and tweak the areas that aren’t quite there yet. Speak up!

Express what you ‘don’t want’  

  • Defining what you don’t want is just as important as defining what you do want. Dislike the colour yellow? Not a fan of a certain trend? Let us know!

Accept advice and have a little faith! 

  • Sometimes we make suggestions, or tell you that what you want isn’t achievable. Believe it or not, we’re not being difficult – we want your project to succeed just as much as you do! So, take a moment to consider our advice.
  • Like a builder or a banker, design is our jam. Sometimes it’s hard to put trust in something, especially if you’re having trouble understanding unfamiliar jargon and processes. But we know what we’re doing! And we’re always here to help – so if you’re unsure all you need to do is ask.

Got a design project? We’d love to help. Get in touch with our award-winning agency

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