In this context brief is a misleading word. A design and communications agency wants you to be anything but brief when briefing them!

But what is a brief? At the beginning of a new design job you’ll usually have a meeting with your designer which is your chance to explain the background to the project, provide direction and set some clear objectives and outcomes. They will ask you lots of questions and possibly challenge your thinking, so it’s important you take time to prepare.

As designers, when we ask the right questions it means we can create quality communications that meet every aspect of your brief and help you to achieve your objectives.

It can also provide clarity and inspiration to take your business forward. This happened to one of our clients, Emma Crowe, Director of CE Back Office,

“During the briefing meeting for our new website, Jo and Nicki really challenged us to get to the bottom of the who and why of our business. They asked some questions that initially we found difficult to answer, but in considering them we gained clarity and focus on who our audience is and where our business is heading in the future. We now have lots of new ideas to pursue.”

Design vs. Creative Brief
There are two types of brief: a design brief and a creative brief. A design brief is used when you know what you want, for example a brochure, and is specific and tactical. A creative brief is for a larger project, like a logo for a new business or a campaign look and feel, and tends to be more strategic. 

Here are some of the areas of a typical brief:

Describe the target audience for your communication. Who are they, what job do they have, how do they interact with your organisation, what do they need to know? For more about defining your audience, see A is for Audience.

Aims and objectives
What outcomes do you need the job to achieve? What are the key messages you’d like to get across? How would you like your audience to respond? 

Does the project need to fit with an established look and feel? Bring along samples of current materials you have and share your brand guidelines if you have them. If you don’t have a strong current style then are there any organisations or brands you aspire to be like?

What is required?
Consider what types of materials you’ll need producing, what size they should be and how many of each item you need. Think about how you’ll be distributing them, it’s much cheaper per item when you order a larger quantity but you don’t want to waste money and resources having boxes of leaflets hanging around (it happens!).

Budget and timings
What is your allocated budget for the project? Is there a deadline or an event you need the items or designs for? Often there are meetings of key people coming up when you could present initial concepts and we’ll always try to meet these when possible.

I hope you have found this blog useful and answered some questions you might have, If you have a communication project you’re looking for help with, please give us a call. You can be assured we’ll take a comprehensive brief!

Nicki, Senior Designer