Graphic Design

How To Write A Creative Brief

A creative brief can drastically impact the efficiency of a design project. Here's a guide to writing them:

If you’re working on just one project, a creative brief may not for you (though I’d still recommend it). However, if you’re working on many projects while balancing other responsibilities, you definitely need a creative brief in your life. But what is it?

A creative brief is a document that records vital information about the project you’re working on. It helps guide you towards important questions in “client” meetings and ensures that you are on the same page. A real frustration for a designer is not getting correct information from the person or ministry they’re designing for. On the other hand, it can be infuriating to ask for design work and then discover that it completely misses the mark.

Though not always practical, it is helpful to make sure you have a completed creative brief before doing any design. Meet with the “client” and work through a creative brief together. Finish it after the meeting and send it to them so that they can agree in writing. This way, you can be totally sure that you are both working to the same vision. It can sometimes seem a little corporate to work this way, but experience has shown that it greatly helps the design process and outcome.

I can’t take credit for the design brief details outlined below, as I found them after hours of research a few years ago. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I found them! Please make use of them though; they have served me very well.

Key things to include in a creative brief


PROJECT DETAILS:

This is where you figure out what type of media is needed. Ask for quantity, dimensions, main contact and budget if necessary.

OVERVIEW:
Try and understand the heart of the person or group that you are designing for. What is the client’s overarching mission?

DRIVERS:
What does the design achieve? What are the specific objectives of this project?

AUDIENCE:
Who is it for? What is the demographics of your desired audience? What is the audience talking about on social media?

PEOPLE:
Who is involved in the process? Do other people need to collaborate on the project? For example, this could be a photographer, a writer or even a manager.

VISUALS:
What type of images will be used? Does the client want photographs or flat, vector-based design? Will your project be affected by existing style guides?

MESSAGE:
What text will go on the project? DO NOT start designing until you have this information, proofread and finalized. Maybe 75% of my design edits on projects without a brief are from changes in copy received from a client after the fact! Save time by being sure of the copy first.

TONE:
What point of view, mood, and voice will you design from and how will you communicate the right tone to the desired audience?

This is a time-consuming process, but I strongly believe that you will thank me for it! I have made my creative brief template available for you below. I hope you find it useful! Happy designing!

Download a free creative brief template

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