Saved By The Brief - 8 Tips To Getting The Design You Want (every time!)
Whether you're working with a freelance designer, a big agency or your friendly Marketing Concierge (ahem - just for example), design is a tricky business. When working collaboratively, it's easy for things to become a muddle of different opinions, interpretations, styles, and tastes.
The good news is, we've got a plan keep your design on track. We'll give you a clue; it starts with 'B' and ends in 'RIEF' … that’s right - it's a design BRIEF!
A design brief is incredibly important; it's essentially the foundation of successful collaborative work. An effective design brief empowers clients and designers with clear project expectations and objectives that have been agreed upon together. The best thing about a design brief is, it's in everybody's interest!
Now that you know how important a design brief is, here's what you need to include:
1. corporate information
If you're a new client, include a short business summary, company history, location, and the products/services you provide.
Who is your target demographic; age, gender, lifestyle etc.?
3. market position
Who are your competitors? What sets your company/product apart from the rest?
4. brand identity
Do you have an existing brand identity handbook or style guide? If the company doesn't have a formalised document make sure you provide/ascertain brand colours, fonts, design elements/style. It can also be useful for designers to see previous projects/design - they'll get an idea of overall look/style and can clarify which elements were the most successful.
Include everything relevant to the project; is it part of a bigger campaign? Who is responsible for the campaign? What are the required elements (e.g., flyer, billboard, web blast + size specifications, file types etc.)? Is it a new product or a re-launch? What are the project objectives? Where will it be used?
6. copy & images
What copy and images will be part of the project? Who will be providing these? What format do they need to be in? When will they be provided?
Working collaboratively requires more than just a deadline; designers and clients should discuss and agree upon a reasonable and realistic project duration. Schedule dates for supplied files, proofs, print deadlines etc. (and stick to them!).
Super, super, super important to be clear on budget - and what that budget will get you; how many hours of work? How many proofs/revisions? Does it include any additional purchases e.g., stock images, photography or font packages?
+ the non-negotiables
Be upfront about "must-haves and definite no's" in your design brief - we're talking colours, design elements, layouts etc. If for example, you absolutely cannot stand the sight of sunflowers (we haven't happened across anybody who doesn’t like sunflowers … yet …), make sure you relay this to your designer - otherwise you might get your first proof back, only to find it filled with sunflowers! On the other hand, if you're project is for an upcoming sale, and you're expecting the colour red to be heavily featured - share this with your designer too.
For the Designers
We recommend working through your design brief (as a sort of a checklist) during your first client consultation; remember the more information you have, the better your design will be! Keep it conversational, make notes, and clarify any points of confusion. Trust us, when you’re ready to start work, a detailed design brief will be your number one resource.
For the Clients
If you're about to start work with a designer or you're inviting several designers to pitch their ideas, and you haven't been asked to provide the information above, we recommend providing it anyway! A detailed design brief will make sure you and your designer are on the same page, provide you with a benchmark by which you can measure project progress, and get you better quality work.
Don’t forget to share with your friends and colleagues - remember being familiar with design briefs is beneficial for both designers, and clients!