Writing a Simple Creative Brief in 9 Steps


The intention of this post is to help establish a general understanding of the creative brief in order to help make the design process easier and more effective for everyone involved, and so that you (“the client”) end up with design solutions you are completely satisfied with at the end of the day. Taking ten minutes to do this prior to starting a project can save you hours of frustration throughout the process, and ensure you end up with results you’re happy with.

1. Describe your business in as few words as possible.
We need to know about your business in order to create effective communication for it, but it’s important for you to try to distill your business down to its essence. It is also helpful to know what your unique selling points are and why potential customers should choose you over your competitors. 

2. Describe the project you have in mind and any technical details you may have.
Y’know, the boring stuff; Is it a business card? Website? Logo design? Are there technical specs we should have? Specific file formats for final artwork? Blah, blah, blah. 

3. Briefly explain what you hope to achieve with your design project and how it will benefit your business.
We use design solutions to help your business communicate, so it’s important that we know the aim of your project so we can do our very best to communicate the message effectively. Are you hoping to generate more traffic to your website? Is it a specific promotion you want to advertise? Are you just trying to create more awareness of your brand?

4. Who is the target audience?
...And don’t say “everyone”. Communication has to be custom crafted depending on the demographic you’re targeting. 

5. Do you have an established brand image or any kind of identity guidelines (fonts, colour scheme, graphic elements, preferred imagery)?
Consistent communication is important for every business. If you already have an established visual style then it should inform the design of all of your projects. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel every time you want to produce a piece of design, and in fact, your customers build a sense of familiarity with your brand the more you adhere to a structured visual identity in all of your communication.

6. Provide as much creative direction as you want.
We’re always happy to work closely with you to achieve your goals, but keep in mind that you’re coming to us because we’re creative specialists. Provide as much input as you want, but stay open to seeing some ideas that maybe you hadn’t thought of before.

7. Provide a list of your competitors.
With knowledge of your competitors we can can get a better idea of your industry and how we can craft your communication to stand out from the crowd. What NOT to do: send us a competitors design and ask us to copy it. That’s just lazy.

8. How much do you expect to spend on the project / is there a fixed budget?
We know... It’s sometimes uncomfortable to talk money, but it’s an important part of the process and a necessary step in determining the scope and potential of a project. Its better to get this out of the way before work gets underway so there are no surprises down the road and everyone involved has reasonable expectations.

9. Let us know your ideal timeline.
Keep in mind the scope of the project will dictate this more than anything. Will do our best to meet your deadlines, but be aware that larger projects take more time, and design always suffers when it’s rushed.