10 tips for creating a better brief.
Creating a brief for designers and creatives alike can seem like a daunting task and quite often a little stressful – but from our experience it really doesn’t need to be a frustrating and lengthy exercise. Whether it’s a spoken or written brief, here are 10 tips to help you get it right the first time and get the most out of the process.
1. Start with an open mind
To avoid wasting time with change after change, be as clear as possible about what you want to achieve. Also try not to enforce what you have in your head on the designer. Be open, this goes for the brief as well, be willing to compromise and consider the designer’s approach.
2. Be honest and say what you DO and DON’T want to see
If there are certain things that you absolutely want to see and won’t compromise on, then inform your designer from the beginning. This goes for anything from images used to colours. Remember, the more information the designer has right at the start, the easier it will be for them to design what you actually want.
3. Converse... don’t criticise
There is often going to be something that you forgot to mention in the beginning, and sometimes things just go in a different direction completely. If the designer has questions, be as informative and helpful as possible. If things go in the wrong direction though, talk to the designer about it. If the designer feels like everything is a statement rather than a question or conversation point, the entire process will become very frustrating, for both of you.
4. Preparation is key
Having said all this, and no matter how open you are, there are certain things that a designer will need upfront. These will make the process easier for both the designer and you:
- Describe your company
- Summarise the project
- Explain your objectives
- Define your target audience
- Outline the deliverables you need
- Identify your competition
- Include details on the tone, message, and style
- Provide examples
- Provide the timing
- Specify your budget
- List the key stakeholders
5. Admit when you need input
This goes hand-in-hand with being honest. If you don’t know something or aren’t sure, tell you designer. Sometimes you might not like something but can’t point out the exact problem, and this is where the designer can help you find the answer.
6. Involve all the right people
A designer often goes through the entire design process with a single individual, only to find out that they aren’t the one that has to sign it all off. If this happens and the process has to be redone, the designer will become very frustrated and even uninterested. Involve the key individuals from the beginning to avoid any miscommunication or the process going in the wrong direction.
7. Trust yourself
You can listen to the designer with an open mind but at the end of the day, the final decision is made by you or whoever has the final say. Don’t assume the designer knows everything or that they are always right, in the end the final decision is yours and if it’s wrong, it’s on you.
8. Trust the designer
With the above being said, if you don’t trust the designer then you shouldn’t be using them. You are paying them to provide a service, a service that they are trained and experienced in. So as much as you have the final say, if you aren’t going to take or use the designer’s advice, then maybe you shouldn’t be working with them.
9. Deadlines are important
The designer should be asking you about deadlines so that they can plan accordingly. If they don’t, it is your job to inform them of the timeline and deadlines for the project. If you are unsure, discuss it with your designer. Consideration need to be taken for research, drafts, edits, final versions, revisions,etc. It’s also a good idea to leave some breathing room at the end, just in case.
10. Time is money
Just as important as deadlines, the budget is a big consideration. Know how long you have or want to spend on the project and let the designer know. This will also help you with overall costing. As great as some ideas might be, there is no point getting excited about a prospect if you won’t be able to pursue it or afford it.
Briefing is not a new or unfamiliar concept, but one that can be a little scary if you’ve never done it before. Whether you’re in an agency briefing staff or are a client briefing an agency/ designer, put yourself in their shoes and just think about what you would want/ need to get the job done properly. A little courtesy goes a long way, and if you keep the above mentioned tips in mind, what was once a daunting task can now be a walk in the park.
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