Why is a Design Brief so Important?

Graphic Design is a problem solving discipline. Great design needs to start with a thorough understanding of the problem to be solved – this is best found in a design brief.

The Design Brief is known by many names:

•  A Creative brief

•  A Marketing brief

•  A Project brief

•  A Job ticket

•  An Innovation brief

Please note that a verbal brief does not feature in the list. Why? Because they almost always lead to misunderstandings, hard feelings, angry confrontations, major frustration and design solutions that are not as great as they could have been.

There’s actually no set format for a design brief. They will vary depending upon the company’s standards, practices and culture, as well as the design project itself – signage design, packaging design, communication design, etc.

They can be totally narrative, written paragraph form, bullet list format, or blank spaces which are filled in by the client requesting design after a list of key questions. A common issue for me is that fields are often left blank or the information is incomplete.

An example of this would be a field headlined ‘audience’ and a typical answer would be ‘customers’ – it’s not suitable and certainly not enough information to work with.

I cannot stress enough the importance of a potential client filling out a brief in as much detail as possible. It’s better to give too much information rather than too little. The end result hinges heavily upon how well you have communicated your requirements to the designer through the brief.

The process starts with a review of your design brief to determine what the designer actually has to work with. While creativity doesn’t require a massive budget it does depend on knowing what the budget is before the process actually starts, as there may be other factors to consider e.g. a Photographer, a Copywriter, a Stylist, a Printer, etc……………

The format of the brief is of course critical. It needs to be easy to read and track through, and it must contain all the information and be available online.

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