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20 May 2019

How to write a creative brief

Essential information to provide creatives for your next print design project

When it comes to writing the perfect brief for a creative agency or design studio, 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 to cover all bases. Here are some of our tips on how to write a good brief from the perspective of the studio that receives them. We have created easy-to-fill-in electronic briefs for our clients to use, which are available to download at the bottom of this post.

You get out what you put in

The value of a good brief means purpose is at the forefront of the designers’ minds. 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 expectations. This essentially forms part of the working contract between us and the client. From our experience, we find that breaking down a brief into these relevant sections is a great way to ensure you cover all the essentials.

01. Job details, background and deadlines

We like to begin with housekeeping as this information gets entered into our studio management software.

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, authors amends and finished art is a good way to construct a realistic timeline for your project. We will then confirm when you will receive the first round concepts and final art so that we can commit to your deadlines.

02. Audience and 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.

03. Perception

This section is often overlooked but really helps us get into the minds of your audience.

How do you want the project to be perceived? Positively? Shock factor? Amusing?

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.

04. 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.

Too big for a brief sheet

For a branding project or major campaign, we prefer to meet in person to co-create a brief. A follow-up workshop with key stakeholders may be required to determine functional and emotive benefits, brand personality, values and map the customer journey.

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 with editable fields suited to all sorts of projects – feel free to download them and use them for your next creative project.

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