Briefs without the bumps

When it comes to writing the perfect brief for a creative agency, where do you start? To ensure the design process runs as smoothly as possible and budget doesn’t blow out with countless amends, it really is all about asking the right questions and covering all bases. Here are some of our tips on how to write a good brief from the perspective of an agency that receives them. We have created an easy-to-fill-in electronic brief for our clients to use. Right click here and select “save link as…” to save a copy of our briefing sheet.

You get out what you put in

The value of a good brief goes far beyond a survey of questions. According to David Airy, an admired industry leader, “It spells out exactly what clients want to achieve. And it acts as a point of reference for everyone involved.”

Cementing the client’s goals for the project is vital in ensuring we can meet expectation. This essentially forms part of the working contract between us and the client. From our experience, we find that breaking down a brief into relevant sections is a great way to execute all tasks well.

1. Job Details, Background and Deadlines

We like to begin with housekeeping. What is the project name? What type of job is it? A brochure, a suite of flyers or something else? Information on dimensions are also important – do you have specific dimensions required or would you like us to recommend some? And how about print quotes? We can source those too and manage the entire print process if required. How about the delivery of the project? Designers are always working to constraints so being clear about deadlines is vital. We also find that breaking down the deadlines into initial concepts, amends and finished art is a good timeline to work to. We will then confirm when you will receive the first round concepts and final art so that the process is transparent.

2. Audience & Message

By now it should be clear about what the project is and what its purpose is. It’s now time to provide information on what the key messages are. Where is the content coming from? Have you already written the copy or do you need us to help you develop that?

What exactly is your product or service? How long have you been in business and what are your short and long term goals? The more we can find out about your business the better the design will be.

3. Perception

This section is often overlooked but can really help to get across what it is the client is trying to achieve. How do you want the project to be perceived? Positively? Shock factor? Funny? How would you describe the brand in a short sentence? What is challenging about getting your company image across? Providing references of past projects is also helpful.

4. Additional Information

Anything else you’d like to add? We find that it’s always good to add extra thoughts, comments, ideas, anything you think might be helpful.

Easy does it

Don’t understand the questions? Just talk to us and we can talk you through it. Or we can do it together face to face. The concept of a briefing template is to make sure we get the best results for our clients – and not to be a burden!

So there you have it! Our approach to writing a comprehensive brief. Remember, it’s not a case of more is more, it’s about providing quality, structured information that will give your designer a clear idea of the task at hand. That way your results will speak for themselves.

We have developed a range of briefing templates suited to all sorts of projects – click here if you’d like to download them.