Rapidly test & validate prototypes, concepts, copy, and more
Work seamlessly with design platforms like Figma, Adobe XD, and more
Get actionable user insights with automated metrics and reports
Send targeted product research campaigns, faster
By use case
Wireframe & Usability Test
Concept & Idea Validation
Content & Copy Testing
Feedback & Satisfaction
Choose from our library of pre-built mazes to copy, customize, and share with your own users.
Browse all templates
Learn & Connect
News, ideas, and insights on product research
Learn the basics with expert resources
Resources on UX/UI design, user research, and more
A space for makers, creators, and innovators
The Optimal Path Podcast
Stories about product decision-making
🆕 2023 Continuous Research Report
How product teams inform decision-making through continuous discovery and research
Design & Product
Jun 23, 2020 • 13 minutes read
How to write a powerful design brief in 9 easy steps
A design brief is a project management document outlining the specifics of a project. Here's how to create a great design brief.
Have you ever heard the tale of the sinking library? The basics are this: an architect built a beautiful library, but after a few years, the building started sinking. Upon reviewing their work, the architect realized the issue: they forgot to account for the weight of the books.
Whether you're building a library or a website, most projects have a lot of moving parts. With a lot to keep track of, you might miss something critical. So how can you avoid those mistakes? How can you make sure you don't forget the "books"? For a design project to be successful, the design brief is essential.
In this article, we look at what a design brief is, why you should use one for your design projects, and share a nine-step plan to create an effective brief that helps you keep everything on track and achieve your goals.
What's a design brief, and why do you need one?
A design brief is a project management document outlining the specifics of a design project. There's no standard of what to include, but some common points are the design project overview and scope, timelines, target audience information, and budget.
There are plenty of reasons to use a design brief, but there are two that we think are most important: efficiency and direction. Whether you’re a professional delivering a new design to your client or a business looking to hire a design agency, a well-written design brief is imperative to doing great work. Showing your client an overview plan of the project means you can confirm everything before the work starts. This saves time and money for both of you.
A design brief serves as the source of truth for your project and guides the design team's overall direction. Having a well-defined brief helps designers focus on the right tasks and deliver great work.
Who should write a design brief?
If a company decides to partner with a design agency on a new design project, they need to write a design brief. Design briefs are the starting point of any design project and should provide an overview of the company, the problem to be solved, and the expectations.
Although the client creates the design brief, design agencies or freelancers usually participate in its creation. For example, clients might have a general idea of the project and know what problem they’re trying to solve, but they may not be familiar with the design process . In this case, designers work closely with the clients to help finalize the design brief and set the right goals and expectations.
What should be included in a design brief?
For a design brief to be effective, it needs to be clear and concise while including all the relevant information to give a good overview of the project. A brief can vary depending on your specific project, but in general, it should include:
- An overview of the business : This section gives designers an understanding of the client—their company, industry, market, and design needs
- Project overview and scope : In this section, you can see what work the design team will do for their client
- Information about the target audience : Relevant information might include age, gender, habits, preferences, needs, and more
- Competitor information : Noting down what competitors are doing will give you insights into your customer’s expectations and help you identify what makes you unique
- The goals of the project : This section focuses on the problem to be solved and the desired outcomes
- A project timeline or schedule : Having a schedule will help you set the right expectations and keep the project on track
- The project budget : This section should include the estimated budget for each task in the project
Now that we’ve seen how an effective design brief should look, here's how to create one in nine easy steps.
How to write a design brief
1. Start with an overview of the business
When preparing your design brief, start things off by laying out key information about the business. In the overview, you can include basic details, like the size and stage of the company, the industry they’re in, etc.
From there, you might talk about the brand’s identity and values, key differentiators, and unique selling points. If there is a “point-person” at the company, include their contact information in this section or the contact details for someone else part of the project. The overview is a key section for everyone involved in the project as it provides the required info at a glance.
2. Cover the scope
Now that the brief includes an overview of the business, you should lay out exactly what work is needed, also known as the project scope. Maybe the project is about creating a new logo for the company, doing graphic design work for a landing page, or web design for an existing product.
Both parties should agree on the scope of the project, and describe that scope in the design brief.
Be sure to be as specific as possible in this section. For example, if the project involves creating illustrations or photographs for a campaign, describe this in the design brief. If it only requires web content but not print, be sure to include those types of details so everyone is on the same page and there’s no uncertainty or wasted effort.
3. Define the audience
Frank Chimero , a designer and writer in NYC, once mentioned: "People ignore design that ignores people." Who you're designing for is just as important as what you're designing. To define the target audience, start with basic demographic information like age and gender.
From there, consider including relevant details about the audience, such as the types of stores they shops at or movies they like. You may also want to describe their familiarity with similar tools or products, or where they are most likely to interact with your content.
In some cases, someone in the company might already have drafted personas for their target audience. If not, consider building a persona for the target audience using existing customer information. To build a persona, follow these seven questions:
- Who is the customer(s) of your product or service?
- How do they use your product?
- What are they currently using (if it's a new product)?
- What are some key pain points your product or service solves?
- How does your solution benefit them?
- What causes them to make a purchase?
- What are they looking for in a product like yours?
Understanding the audience helps guide your decision-making and create useful products for the right audience.
4. Understand the competition
In almost every scenario of building products, you will be competing against another company. It's a fact of business. So it's good to have a basic understanding of the competitive landscape. When you understand what makes you different, you can create new, unique work and stand out from the competition.
That knowledge can help design teams decide on the angle of the design project and deliver something that truly resembles the company’s brand identity. In this phase, mood boards are an excellent way for designers to collect inspiration, organize ideas, and present them to the client.
Additionally, when working on digital design projects, knowing how similar products approach design may help designers understand how users complete tasks and their mental models when using comparable designed products. Conducting usability testing with competitive products is a great way to do some preliminary research and gather useful background information.
5. Set specific goals
Good design solves problems. When a company hires a design agency for a project, they’re doing it to solve an existing problem. Maybe they want to get more leads or provide a new product offering to their customers. No matter the case, there’s a specific reason for hiring professional designers, and that needs to be described in the design brief.
Determining the goals and objectives of your design project helps with direction and focus. For example, if the company needs website design services for a landing page that encourages sign-ups, the focus could be on optimizing and testing button placement and color to get a higher click-through-rate.
These goals are usually articulated by the designers with the help of the business and have usually already been investigated with user research and data. If research is part of the project, then the project’s goals should reflect that. For instance, if your design project is building a better user flow for a mobile app, then one of the goals would be to research the existing flow and investigate common issues.
Do your best to be as specific as possible when defining the project goals and objectives. The success of the project will be assessed based on whether the goals have been met or not, so the more specific you can be, the better.
6. Take inventory of what you already have
In most cases, brands will have some assets that designers will use in the project–unless they’re doing a complete rebrand. Maybe they already have a logo design they want to use or a specific page layout implemented in a previous design.
At the very least, they will probably have a typeface, brand colors, and general brand guidelines. They may also have a design system in place designers can use to inform their work.
These items have a direct impact on the design project, so make sure you take inventory of all relevant information and include it in the creative brief.
Existing creative assets can help improve efficiency by making sure you don’t redesign something you don’t need to. Be as specific as you can on how you’re going to use current assets in your work. For example, if you’re reusing brand colors, write down the hex code for those colors you’ll use in the new project.
7. Set the schedule
Setting proper expectations is crucial when taking on any new project. Depending on who you’re working with, they may not be as familiar with the design process. By laying out a detailed timeline and giving deadlines for all deliverables, you will manage expectations from the beginning and deliver your project successfully.
Having specific dates also serves as a way to keep you on track. Consider asking for feedback from all stakeholders involved in the project prior to finalizing the timelines, so everyone is comfortable with your proposal.
List out the timeframes for each part of the project. For example, if you’re working on a new design, you might give a timeline for when the initial prototype will be done, schedules for user testing , and another date for the final product launch.
8. Determine the budget
The budget is an essential aspect of any project. Both parties must agree on the budget from the start, as the budget dictates the work that will be done. In the brief, it’s important to give a breakdown of the budget for each service provided.
It might also be wise to add in some contingency cushion as additional money for unforeseen issues. You can list it that way in the budget, and explain that it's there if needed. If you don't use that by the end of the project, you can subtract it from the total.
9. Sum it all up
Finally, make sure you end the design brief with an executive summary. It may seem a bit redundant, but it's good to have an outline that includes all essential information mentioned throughout the brief. Offering a cliff-notes version at the end allows the client to review and sign-off on the project easily.
Build and iterate on designs your users truly love
Maze collects qualitative and quantitative user feedback to inform design decisions and create better user experiences.
Start using a design brief for your projects
When you've finished working on the design brief and got stakeholders' approval, it's time to start working on the design project. When you create a design brief, you compile all the essential information the design team will need during the project. Any work done during the project, such as creating a design proposal , is made easy by the design brief.
Creating a design brief is no small task, but it's worth it when done right. Not only does it help avoid roadblocks and sets proper expectations, but it can also serve as a source of truth for you to keep everything on track and moving forward—which is what you're aiming for.
Try rapid testing now, for free.
- Contact Sales
- Project planning |
How to create a design brief in 7 steps
A design brief is a document that outlines the core details and expectations of a design project for a brand. A good design brief sets the tone for a successful design project by outlining the goals, quality, and deliverables. In this article, you’ll learn what a design brief is, how to create a successful one, and what you should include in your next design brief.
In this guide, we cover what a design brief is, the benefits of creating one, how to write a design brief, and the elements you should always include. Plus, check out an example design brief template to get you started.
What is a design brief?
A design brief is a document that outlines the core details and expectations of a design project for a brand. This document should be an easy-to-understand plan of how the project will be executed. An effective design brief aligns the company and designer’s goals so everyone is satisfied with the final deliverable.
Any company that utilizes design resources can benefit from having designers create a brief prior to their project—whether those designers are in-house or freelance . For the purpose of this article, we'll use client and company interchangeably to represent the party commissioning the design project.
A design brief starts by explaining why a new design is necessary. This includes how the design will benefit the target audience , how it will move the brand voice forward, and how it will fit in with the larger competitor landscape. The designer uses this information to write out the goals and objectives for the upcoming project.
Finally, the brief includes project details, deliverables, budget, timelines, and scope so that everyone has the same expectations. Design briefs are great for keeping both client and design teams aligned.
Design brief vs. creative brief
If you’ve never created one before, a design brief might seem a lot like a creative brief. Overall, a design brief handles more of the preproduction and business side of the project, while the creative brief tackles the innovative execution.
A well-done design brief give both parties a solid layout for how they’re going to accomplish their goals. It’s a great guide to look back on if one party ever feels like the progress is getting off track or a disagreement arises.
Once you’ve done the research associated with a design brief, your team will use a creative brief to dive deeper into the company and target audience to tailor your designs to their needs. This second brief is a more in-depth look into how your design will speak to their customers, what elements you want to include, and the reasoning behind your artistic decisions.
Why do designers need a design brief?
There are many advantages to having a design brief when starting a new project. It gives you time to truly understand the nuances of a company and its audience. A design brief also reassures the client that their opinion is valued and that all parties have the same end goal.
By using a design brief you can:
Create a more trusting designer-client relationship.
Gain insight into the brand and target audience.
Invite the client to be more involved in the project.
Align on a reasonable timeline and budget before the project begins.
Set a standard for the quality and types of deliverables needed.
What to include in your design brief
Design briefs come in many different forms, but there are certain aspects that should be included each time. Once you have included the basics, the design brief can be customized depending on the type of project or client.
Start your design brief with context about why you’re making your creative choices based. The context should also clarify how your creative choices will contribute to the client’s goals. Finally, your design brief should include all of the necessary information to outline a project from start to finish.
Start your design brief by listing out information about the company the project is for. This starting point helps you gain stakeholders’ trust by demonstrating that you understand their market, industry, and brand guidelines.
The project or brand overview typically includes details such as the size of their company, contact information, past projects, or their current design needs. This can be especially helpful when multiple people are working on the same project. Once the overview is finalized, everyone will have a quick summary on hand that they can refer back to as needed.
Questions to ask:
What are the client’s unique aspects?
What does the company do?
What are their brand guidelines and expectations?
What themes or common motifs are important to their brand?
What are the client’s primary needs? How can we meet those needs?
Project scope and overview
Once you’ve written out a brand overview, it’s time to give a detailed description of the design project being executed. This description is a summary of what you’ll be working on, why this work benefits the client, and everyone’s roles and responsibilities .
This is also an opportunity for you to clarify the project scope , which outlines exactly what is needed to accomplish a project. The scope of the project should be agreed upon by both parties to avoid confusion or tension throughout the design process.
What designs will we create?
What issues are we trying to solve with these new designs?
What are the client's expectations of this project?
What is within scope? What is out of scope?
How will we manage scope creep ?
Design goals and objectives
After an overview of the project and company is complete, it’s important to explain the goals and objectives for a project. This section should focus on the design problem to solve and the steps your team will take to fix the issue.
In this section, you should also outline the purpose of the project and lay out concrete steps for how you will reach the goal in mind. This section should give a clear path for how the project will be executed—make sure to keep it as specific as possible.
What will make this a successful project?
What steps do we need to take to accomplish our objectives?
What are our project goals for this design?
What metrics will we use to measure success?
Understanding a client’s customers is critical so you can create designs that speak to the people they’re trying to target. In order to do this, create a design idea board to clarify and contextualize your client’s audience. This board is a chance for you to think about the client’s customers and build a persona with them in mind.
Your client might already have a persona that your designers can use. If they don’t, you can also create one based on your client’s target audience, demographics, psychological characteristics, and hobbies. All of this helps to form an image of who your design work is catering to.
What are your customer’s favorite hobbies?
What are your persona’s demographics and psychological traits?
How will your product or service help your target audience?
What does your target audience want?
What important characteristics impact your target audience’s behavior (whether that’s age, sex, region, etc)?
Budget and timeline
One of the most important steps of any good design brief is to write out an agreed upon project budget and timeline. Many clients that aren’t designers might not realize how long each stage will take, so it’s smart to have a rough estimate for them to refer back to.
When you and your client make a budget for a project, it’s important to be realistic about the time it will take to research, plan, create, and make edits as needed. Be sure to leave enough room in their schedule and budget for potential difficulties or unexpected changes.
How long will this project take from start to finish?
What is the budget for this project?
How long should it take to receive feedback?
How frequently will you and your client update your project timeline tool ?
Every organization has other competing brands and it’s important to understand the competition. Once you have a strong understanding of the brand’s competition you can create new and innovative designs that stand out from the crowd.
Designers should learn from their competition’s past design successes and mistakes to help dictate the direction of their next great design plan. Having a strong grasp of your client’s competitors will help make better design decisions in the future.
Who are the company’s competitors?
What designs have been successful for the competition in the past?
What makes our brand stand out against competitors?
Has my client created a competitive analysis I can review?
All of the information you’ve filled out and the research you’ve done to create a plan for their design is essential for explaining the project deliverables. This, essentially, is what the client will receive and what the end product will be.
Project deliverables will vary depending on the size, scope , and budget of the project. Setting clear standards and writing out the deliverables will help make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings at the end of the project.
What will the end result look like?
What are the deliverables for this project?
What are the major project milestones throughout the process?
Design brief template
Check out our design brief template below to make creating an effective design brief more simple. Below, you’ll find a sample of what a design brief would look like for an ebook campaign launch, but can be customized to fit any project. Use this as a starting point for your own brief to make sure all the details are covered up front.
Design brief example
Use this template as a starting point to further customize a brief that works for your team.
What is your project and what is the scope?
Why is this project important? What are you trying to achieve?
Who are you targeting? The more specific, the better.
What is the overall budget? How should it be spent?
Timeline and deliverables
Outline the date and description for each deliverable.
Benefits of creating a design brief with Asana
There are major benefits to creating a design brief with an online shared system. First, if you create a design brief in a tool like Asana , all of your stakeholders can access the information. This allows for everyone to be on the same page on the project, goals, and timeline.
If your client has questions, the answer is at their fingertips in the tool you’re using. Also, if designers need to intake requests, they can use Forms to automatically get all of the information they need so they can get started right as the request comes in.
Clear design briefs drive successful projects
A well-written design brief will help provide shared clarity surrounding your project goals and deliverables. With Asana’s creative production tools, you’ll be able to streamline your design projects and your team will be able to deliver game-changing results time and time again.
The best project planning software of 2023
7 steps to crafting a winning event proposal (with template)
4 steps of the PEST analysis process
6 techniques for accurate project estimation
What Is a Design Brief and How to Write It
Learn how to stay aligned and keep your design project on track.
In order for the designer to do the best job they can, first, it's crucial to understand exactly what the design task requires.
This is where the design brief comes in . When done correctly, it becomes a vital communication tool for your design project. Running a project without it usually means relying on phone calls, long email threads, notes, and messages, which inevitably results in chaos. Whether you are a design agency or a company commissioning the design, with a brief, you have a single guiding document for your entire design process.
Let's go into what design briefs are and how to write them.
What is a design brief?
How to write a design brief, what to include in a design brief, design brief template.
A design brief is a document that defines the core details of your upcoming design project , including its goals, scope, and strategy. It needs to define what you, as a designer, need to do, and within what constraints. In many ways, it works like a roadmap or a blueprint, informing design decisions and guiding the overall workflow of your project, from conception to completion.
Most importantly, a well-crafted brief should help you make sure that there is full agreement among the stakeholders on project deliverables, budget, and schedule.
Here's an example of a design brief created in Nuclino , a unified workspace where teams can bring all their knowledge, docs, and projects together in one place. Create an account and start writing your own design briefs:
An example of a logo design brief in Nuclino
Since most design projects are collaborative and involve multiple stakeholders, carefully consider where you are going to write your design brief . Creating it in a Word document would mean having to deal with emails, bouncing around your team's inboxes, and outdated attachments. Using a document sharing tool that facilitates collaboration, such as Google Docs or Nuclino , could help you ensure everyone always has the latest version of the brief and make it easy to provide their input.
Regardless of the tool you use, the most important task is deciding what content to include. After all, a design brief is only valuable if it captures the correct, relevant, and up-to-date information.
It can take many forms and follow many different templates. Every design project is different, so there’s no fixed formula for the perfect brief. It can be a very formal, long, and detailed document, or it can be a simple and short one-pager. However, there are several essential elements that make a great brief.
The project overview section of your brief should provide a clear and concise description of your design project. It should cover the what and why behind your project. For example: "We need a logo design for use online or in print", or "we need a logo animation in the MP4 format to be used in the introduction of our product tutorial videos."
You can formulate this section by asking yourself or your client the following questions:
What are we building?
What design problem are we trying to solve?
What assets are expected at the completion of the project?
Goals and objectives of the new design
One of the most important steps in planning a design project and writing your design brief is aligning on what you (or your client) want to achieve with the new design.
Make a distinction between goals and objectives . Goals describe the overall purpose of the project, while objectives are concrete measures of success in reaching a goal. The more specific and unambiguous these are in the project brief, the clearer the path will be for your work. Here are some questions that may help get clarity on project goals and objectives:
What would an ideal outcome look like for this project?
Are you redesigning an existing artifact? Why?
Is this the first time you are trying to tackle this design problem?
Target market or audience
Understanding your audience is the first step in addressing their needs in the best possible way. Take your ideal customer, and build your persona around them. Outline their demographic traits and psychographic characteristics, as well as the problems you want to solve for them through your product.
Who is your ideal customer?
What are their demographics, habits, and goals?
When and how will they be using your product?
Budget and schedule
Understanding the budget and agreeing to a timeline are critical steps in the briefing process. Clarifying these constraints and expectations upfront is necessary for keeping the project on track and avoiding conflicts and scope creep down the road. Both, the schedule and the budget should be realistic and flexible enough to account for potential changes or unexpected obstacles.
Try asking these questions to gather the information you need:
What are the budget constraints on this project? How flexible are they?
What internal deadlines does this project need to align with?
What are the key milestones within the project?
Aligning on project deliverables is one of the core purposes of the design brief. Even a small misunderstanding can create major problems if not addressed as soon as possible. Here are some questions that may help you clarify which deliverables you would need:
What do you or your client expect to receive at the end of the project?
What file formats should work be supplied in?
What sizes and resolutions are needed?
Other relevant information
Depending on the project, you may need to include additional details in your brief. For example:
Who are the main competitors?
Are there any "do nots"? Any features or creative directions you want to reject upfront?
Who will do the final approval? Who will have the power to approve or reject your work at the end of the project?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to design briefs. The exact format needs to be defined by your own internal design workflow.
However, having a template that you can use as your starting point for each project you work on can certainly save you a lot of time and ensure you don' miss anything important. Here is a sample template you can use for inspiration when creating your own.
Design brief template in Nuclino
Once you have created your brief, don't forget to keep it up-to-date and make sure to make it easily accessible to all relevant stakeholders. It's important to remember that it's never fully finished until the project is complete – instead, it continuously evolves as part of the design process. You may need to revise it several times over the course of the project, for example, when you get new input from your clients or your team.
If you are using a tool like Nuclino , you can collaboratively edit your brief in real time and comment on specific sections. The document can be easily shared with external stakeholders using a shared link . Finished deliverables – files, images, Figma designs , and so on – can be embedded or uploaded directly into the brief, making it easy to manage your entire design project within a single document.
Nuclino : Your team's collective brain
Nuclino brings all your team's knowledge, docs, and projects together in one place. It's a modern, simple, and blazingly fast way to collaborate, without the chaos of files and folders, context switching, or silos.
Create a central knowledge base and give your team a single source of truth.
Collaborate in real time or asynchronously and spend less time in meetings.
Manage and document your projects in one place without losing context.
Organize, sort, and filter all kinds of data with ease.
Integrate the tools you love , like Slack, Google Drive, Figma, Lucidchart, and more.
Ready to get started?
- Why Nuclino?
- Apps & Integrations
- start your project
Connect and communicate with your ideal target audience.
Drive leads, sales, and conversions with a strong digital presence.
Attract more visitors with strategically targeted content.
Showcase your business and engage your audience.
- Marketing Managers
- Product Managers
- Stand-alone Marketers
- Tech, IT and Saas
- Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Creative Brief Bundle
- Brand Strategy Made Simple
- The Complete Content Development Toolkit
- Creating Canny
- Building Better Brands
- Rebrand Review
How to Write a Design Brief (Template Included!)
33 min read
The Design Brief Template
Writing a design brief can be time consuming and frustrating.
The thought of sitting down to create a design brief can scare even for the most seasoned of Marketing Managers , because it can be a tricky task! But not with our help.
A design brief is a vital document used to help communication between yourself and your chosen design agency.
It forms the fundamentals of your design project, and keeps everything in check if the wheels start to wobble a little bit.
Even if you’re just scoping out agencies to work with, having a well thought out design brief will make obtaining a quote for your design work easier.
Some design projects you might have in mind could include:
- Introducing a new brand to the market
- Rebranding your company
- Launching a new website
- Improving your content marketing efforts
- Launching a new digital marketing campaign
- Expanding your product range
- Running a print advertising campaign
In any of these cases, a well written design brief will help to keep your project running smoothly and will facilitate good communication.
And, if you’d rather watch us talk about design briefs than read about them, we’ve created a video to help out:
A good design brief will put everyone on exactly the same page, aligning expectations, and making sure both parties understand the goals and objectives of the design project at hand.
It’s an essential tool for Marketing Managers and Marketing Departments to use when kickstarting a new design project.
Trying to run a design project without a brief is difficult because you’re relying on telephone calls, email threads, and handwritten notes to keep track of things.
And that’s not the right way to run a design project! Trust us, we’ve tried.
Having a well written project brief and a firm project plan helps keep the project on track.
But, before we jump in to how to write a design brief, let’s cover another important question.
What is a Design Brief Used For?
A design brief is a written document that businesses use to communicate their requirements with a handful of selected design agencies.
Typically, it’s a Company Director, Marketing Director , Marketing Manager, or Marketing Executive that is tasked with writing the design brief.
But, if you’re a startup founder or small business owner, then you should learn how to write a design brief too.
Here’s an example of when you should write a design brief:
If you’re a Marketing Director working at a business who is looking to launch a new brand, you would send your design brief to agencies that offer branding services , that you want to contact about your new launch.
If you contact several agencies about your design project, and don’t attach your brief, you’ll find that more often than not, you’ll get asked for it.
Or failing that, you’ll end up on several different calls asking the same questions, which you could have covered off in one well written design brief.
Your design brief doesn’t need to be a huge document, you’re not writing “War and Peace.”
A design brief is a top level overview of the project at hand, that can be used to help external branding and design agencies to understand more about your business and your plans.
That’s the answer to “what is a design brief?”
It’s a way of communicating with a design agency about your specific design needs and requirements.
Typically it’s served up as a Word Document or PDF, but some marketers like to get crazy with Powerpoint too and make their brief that way!
From a practicality point of view, the commenting features in a Word Doc, Google Doc, or PDF make it easiest for your design agency as this way, you can share ideas back and forth.
Remember a design brief is not set in stone. It’s supposed to evolve as you think of new and exciting ways to bring your brand to life.
A Quick Note on Design Briefs vs RFPs
If you’re based in North America , it’s quite common for briefs to be classed as an RFP (request for proposal) or an RFQ (request for quotation).
We’ve got an entirely separate post about that. So if that seems more inline with your requirements, go ahead and check out How to Write an RFP or RFQ .
Typically there’s not much difference, but an RFP can be more widely focused than just on design. Have a read anyway and pop back here if you’re looking for a design project!
Why is a Design Brief Important?
By writing a design brief, you’re getting the ideas for your project out of your head, and down on paper. This helps drive a better understanding of your project from all parties involved.
When contacting agencies, you’re hoping for several things:
- They know about your industry
- They know about your company
- They’re excited about your project
But none of these things are a given.
Your design brief serves to make these things a reality.
No agency on earth can know the ins-and-outs of every single industry on earth. Enter your design brief.
The chances are, unless you’re the Marketing Director of a huge company, they won’t have come across you. Enter your design brief.
And how are they going to get excited about your project if they don’t know anything about it?
Enter: your design brief.
Imagine you run a design agency, and this is the email you get:
“Hey, we’re looking to rebrand our company and like your work.”
For all emails like this do pique your interest, it’s always a lot more exciting to receive an email with a brief attached, or even just a tiny bit more information. You don’t want the agency to think this is just a scattergun approach, and you’re just reaching out to every agency there is.
You want to include enough information to get the cogs turning.
Let us know why you’re reaching out, and how we can partner with you to solve your problems. It’s always great to get an insight into the project first and thinking of new ideas.
Who Should Write a Design Brief?
If you or your company are looking to partner with a design agency on a project, then you need to write a design brief.
We find with SMEs and larger companies, it’s usually the Marketing Director, Marketing Manager, or someone on the Marketing Team that would be in charge of creating or writing the design brief. Then, Marketing Executives would use it when reaching out to potential design agency partners.
In smaller companies, it’ll usually be the owner/operator of the business. In this situation, they’re usually quite time poor, and the brief will be less comprehensive.
And that’s not a problem either!
Like we said earlier, we’re not writing “War and Peace” here. We’re giving a taste of what we think the design project might be, and what we might need.
It’s important to keep in mind that your design brief should highlight the problems you’re facing. Not the solutions you need.
You focus on the problem, and let your agency focus on fixing it for you.
A good design agency can help you formalise or build on your design brief, by dissecting it and asking you thoughtful and insightful questions.
Your design brief isn’t a finished article. It’s an overview that can be fleshed out and finalised with your chosen agency.
Good design work comes from good partnerships.
Learning to trust your chosen design agency early on will help deliver better results for your business in the long run.
Design agencies have a poor reputation, because unfortunately, there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there.
If you follow these steps , you should be able to find a great design agency to work with.
What Sort of Projects are Design Briefs Used For?
The design brief is a document used across a wide range of industries.
We see design briefs used in a range of different projects, including:
- Branding and Rebranding
- Website Design
- Interior Design
- Fashion Design
Chances are, your design brief will come in useful across most design related industries.
Whether that’s a packaging project , or an ecommerce website project, a design brief gives you something more to work with than a “blank canvas.”
The typical projects we see at Canny that come in accompanied by a brief are:
- Branding projects (where a range of branding services are typically required)
- Rebranding projects (when an existing company needs to change)
- Website projects (be it a standard website or something more complex)
At the end of the day, a well written design brief will make everybody’s life easier.
If you’re finding it difficult to make, then stop right there. Try a different way.
Maybe you can record yourself describing a bit about your business and the problems you’re facing.
It doesn’t always have to be a standard written document!
Do what works, just get your ideas about your project documented so your chosen agency can start to help you out.
Now that we’ve talked about design briefs in general, let’s jump into some frequently asked questions.
Design Brief FAQs
Just a list of the most frequently asked questions on design briefs:
What is a Design Brief?
A design brief is a very important document used to help you communicate with a design agency of your choosing, be it Canny Creative or whomever.
Why Do We Need a Design Brief?
A design brief forms the fundamentals of your design project, and keeps everything in check so that you don’t start to lose track of your original idea.
In other words, it keeps everything in check to ensure that the work is meets your expectations and requirements.
In SMEs and other larger companies, it’s person responsible for writing a design brief is typically the Marketing Director, Marketing Manager, or someone else occupying the Marketing Team.
In terms of smaller companies, it’ll usually be the owner/operator of the business writing it.
People Also Ask: How Long Should a Design Brief Be?
A design brief should be as long as you need it to be. It’s a cop-out answer, I know, but design tasks vary in size and scale, so to give you an accurate word count would be next to impossible.
What Should Be Included In Your Design Brief?
First things first, exactly what should be included in your design brief?
Writing a good design brief is no easy task. And if you’ve never done it before, expect to spend a good chunk of time writing and reworking it.
You need to make your brief easy to understand, compact enough to retain interest, but comprehensive enough to give a good overview of your situation.
So, what should be included in your design brief?
As a top level overview, a written design brief should include:
An Overview of Your Business
The objectives of your design project, your target audience and market, the problem you’re facing, project specific information, more about your business, examples of work you like, competitor information, project timescales, project deliverables, project budget, contact information.
- How the Project will Be Awarded
And again, depending on whether you’re writing a branding brief, rebranding brief, or web design brief, you might add several sections to the structure of this.
For now, let’s take a look at writing a design brief based on the outline above. This is also the format that our design brief template follows.
So, how do you write a design brief? Let’s dive in.
The first thing you should explain when writing your design brief, is about your business and the sector you work in.
Try to answer the following questions in your business overview:
- What do you do and how do you make your money?
- How do customers currently buy from your business?
- What makes your business unique within the marketplace?
Every design project relies on all parties having a clear understanding of the business they’re working with and the sector they’re working in.
The more you can offer in the first instance here, the better.
- At Canny Creative, we create brands, websites, and content plans that get our clients real business results.
- Currently, most of our clients come through our website, thanks to our content strategy. Because our content appeals globally, we have clients across the world.
- What makes us unique in the market is our partnership based approach. We treat our clients’ businesses like they’re our own, rather than a quick cash grab.
This sort of simple information is a great way to kick off your design brief and helps frame the information that follows.
Your company doesn’t just decide to rebrand or build a website at random.
There’s always a driving factor. Getting this down on paper early will help drive further decisions.
Perhaps your website isn’t mobile friendly, or the brand has moved in a new direction, and your identity needs updated to reflect that.
It’s great that a decision has been made, but let your design agency know why.
Then get clear on your goals.
Your goal for a branding project, could simply be something like:
“We need a new brand identity to help us stand out from the noise. The market place we operate in is crowded. Therefore, differentiation matters. Our space is saturated with boring brands, we want to make a difference with the way we look.”
The goal here is differentiation. Simple enough.
A website project goal could be even more basic:
“Our website doesn’t sell enough products. We want to know why, and then make the necessary adjustments to make it convert more of our visitors into paying customers.”
Having a goal not only gives your agency something to work towards, it also gives you something to measure against.
Another thing to ask yourself here is, “what will make this project a success?”
This ties really nicely into your project goals.
If you’re going to judge the success or failure of a project, it’s only fair to let the agency you work with know what the criteria are.
If you’re hoping to 10x your sales, you need to include this in the design brief.
Because it’ll change how the agency approaches your project from the outset.
Rather than spending time on creating pixel perfect website designs, they’ll be running quick tests for conversions, and designing around the results.
Having a set of “success factors” can help all parties drive the correct response and results. The more information you can give your agency the better.
It ensures everyone knows what their responsibilities are, and will help to create the project plan.
One of the most important things to include when you write your design brief, is a section about your target audience .
Here’s the deal:
Design is often used to solve problems for your customers, as well as your business.
The job of a design agency isn’t just to make your brand look pretty. Sure, that might help at times, but at its core, your branding should serve as a problem solving tool.
A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that last, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to chose your product over another – Seth Godin
You need to communicate with your audience about how you fulfil their wants and needs. Crafting your brand is the way to ensure this happens.
Consider the following scenario:
Your website isn’t converting visitors into customers.
And why is that? It’s because your website isn’t working for your customers so they’re bouncing back and finding someone else.
Chances are it’s not communicating your offering properly, or making you look professional. These are both things that will put your customers off and take them back to Google.
More often than not, a design agency is responsible for designing for your customers, to help solve problems for your company.
Therefore, it’s important that they know what your target audience looks like. If you’re struggling to identify your ideal consumer then it sounds like you need our audience persona worksheet.
We’ve also got a great post here about defining your target audience.
Essentially, you need to know their demographic traits and psychographic characteristics.
Think about who your ideal customer is, and build your persona around them.
On top of thinking about demographics and psychographics, I love asking the following questions:
- What does their family structure look like?
- What type of car do they drive?
- Are they a pet owner?
- What newspaper/magazines do they read?
- Which websites do they visit? And for what purpose?
I often find simple questions like this help a lot more when creating design work, than just listing demographic information and psychographic traits.
In our free customer persona worksheet we ask you to list out the basic information about your customers, but also:
- Brands/influencers they buy or follow
- Their fears
- Their goals and objectives
- What challenges they’re facing
- What objections they have to your business
- What their hobbies and interests are
Knowing this information will help inform your design project.
By knowing which brands they buy into, you can tell what sort of style they like. By addressing their objections, you can make educated website copy, and so on.
The more you can profile about your demographic, the more well rounded and informed your design brief will be. In turn, when handled by a professional design agency, this will result in a design project that drives real business results. By understanding who you’re trying to target, your chosen agency will ensure your branding is pitched at the right level.
Customer personas should take up quite a chunk of your design brief. Make sure you include 2 or 3 examples!
The objective of your design project is one thing, but the problem you’re facing as a business is something else entirely.
Goals and objectives focus on where you want to be.
The problem you’re facing focuses on the here and now.
Here’s an example:
“Our website isn’t generating enough leads for our business.”
That’s a problem that needs unpicked a little.
- Is there something wrong with your website design?
- Are you driving enough traffic to your website in the first place?
- Do your contact forms work?
- Are you using enough trust indicators across your website?
- Is your website copy strong enough?
Although it can seem a little self-deprecating, deep diving into the real world problems you face as a business is the only way to solve them.
Try and get to the heart of the matter, rather than skirting around the edges. If you know there are deep rooted problems, get them noted down. It’s better to pain the fullest picture possible.
You’ve done the hard part, which is realising the problem you’re facing.
Now, steer into it, and with a professional design agency by your side, you’ll be able to overcome it.
Project specific information can be tricky to outline in your design brief.
This happens because more often than not, it’s beneficial to have your design agency make recommendations, rather than adding restrictions from the outset.
On top of that, you might not actually know what it is that you need.
However, there are always some things to consider.
Let’s look at website redesign project as an example:
- What is your current website built with (e.g WordPress)? Are you happy with it?
- Do you use tools to measure statistics and conversions? Can you share these?
- Are there any key pages that drive traffic and conversions?
- Is there a brand guideline that would help with redesigning the site?
- Where is the website hosted? Will it stay there?
Your project specification doesn’t need to be super technical.
But if you have specific requirements, it’s best to get them listed out now.
Other things to consider in your design brief are:
- Are you integrating your new website with a CRM system?
- Do you have a newsletter, and if so, which software do you use to serve it?
- What does your digital marketing plan look like?
You’re going to your agency for their talent and recommendations. So don’t be completely closed off to changing things!
The more project specific information you can share about your project at this early stage in the process the better.
At the start of your design brief, you’ve given an overview into your business and the sector you work in.
But now, you have a chance to share even more about your business.
- What is your brand strategy?
- What have you done to arrive at this point?
- Who makes up the business?
- What are you most proud of?
- Why did you get started?
- Who are your biggest clients?
- What else is there to know?
Give us the longer version of the elevator pitch.
Noting down the ins-and-outs might make your brief seem long and boring, but from an agency perspective, I can promise you that it’s not.
It’s good to know who you’re going into business with. And, the more your agency knows, the better they can help!
Showing your agency examples of work you like gives them an insight into what you’re trying achieve with your own branding.
For instance do you like dark and grunge branding? Or do you prefer a white, minimalistic colour palette? By giving your agency this information they will be able to visually build a picture of your dream brand. Otherwise they could go totally off track which will delay the project further.
Therefore, make sure you include some examples of work that you like when creating your design brief. This could could be in the form of links to other websites, screenshots, or a Pinterest board.
It’s funny, the level of influence that competitor’s can have on your business, and design brief.
You need to decide here, are you trying to stand out, or fit in? Are you a true disruptor? Take a look at our post on analysing and auditing your competitors brands for help.
There’s not a right or wrong answer here. This should be assessed on a case by case basis.
If you’re working on a branding project, knowing about your competitors can help your design agency to get an understanding of what they’re all about, and how you fit into their landscape.
Knowing your competitors is great.
Helping your agency to know your competitors not only eases their workload, but allows discussions about them to take place at an earlier stage in the process.
This can then throw up some interesting points to think about and consider.
It also means they don’t stray too close to what your competitors are doing when creating your new brand identity or website design .
You shouldn’t be scared of your competitors. You should know and respect them.
They can help you feed ideas for your business, whether that be positive or negative. Competitors can also become partners and trusted allies, so don’t overlook that approach.
- Can you partner with them to offer a new service?
- Are there learnings you can take from their marketing?
- Do you want to be like them, or completely different?
By noting them down in your design brief, these are the sorts of discussions you can with your design agency, who can then help position you for success. Maybe there’s some gaps or opportunities that your competitors are taking advantage of that you’re not?
These are things which your chosen agency can tap into.
This question often helps design agencies to decide whether they can be involved with your project or not.
If you’re looking for a rapid turnaround time, and the agencies you reach out to have a lot of work on, they might decline the offer to work together.
And that’s fine.
“ASAP” is not an acceptable answer when talking about timescales either. There needs to be a reasonable level of understanding here, things don’t just happen overnight.
As a rough guide, here’s what I tell people at Canny:
Branding Project Timescales
Branding projects can take anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks. It really depends on their complexity.
If you’re looking at a brand identity project, with limited visual assets to be created, you’ll be down nearer the 6 week mark.
However, if you’re looking to completely rebrand your business , create new visual assets, brand guidelines, and roll it out into a large organisation, you’ll be looking towards the top end of that timescale.
Website Project Timescales
With website design projects, things do tend to take a little longer. 6 weeks as a minimum, up to 16 weeks for large eCommerce projects.
Timescales should really be put in place by your design agency when you decide to move forward.
One thing I always ask our new clients is:
“Is there an event/product launch/something else we can work towards with the project?”
And that always immediately helps get some initial plans in place.
Try to avoid reaching out to design agencies at the last minute. The earlier you can bring them in on your plans the better!
Nobody likes rush jobs and it doesn’t lead to the most creative output. It’s pressure for pressure’s sake. Try and avoid them at all costs!
Ah, project budgets. Everyone loves to talk about money, but nobody ever wants to show their hand first.
Thankfully, we have an article about project budgets , and why it’s important to share your budget with your design agency.
Think about this:
Design agencies get approached for work on a regular basis.
Amongst the requests for work, there’s often a lot of rubbish, some half-decent leads, and sometimes, a real diamond in the rough.
You want to be that diamond!
Now, telling an agency your project budget isn’t the only way to do this. But it’s another thing that you can do to build trust and transparency from the outset.
Nobody wants their time wasted.
You have a 30 minute to 1 hour call with a design agency. And then you send the brief. With no budget information.
Your design agency reads through it, and comes back with a proposal.
It’s 5 times over what you thought you’d be paying. You’ve lost an hour of your time, the agency has also lost a significant chunk of time by writing out the proposal.
By being clear with your budget early on, you can make sure everyone is on the same page right from the get go. And, that’s the fairest way of doing business.
Now, you don’t need to list the budget to the penny. But just giving some indication of what you’re working with goes a long way!
If you’re really unsure on how much certain things cost, we have some great posts about pricing that are listed out below.
- How Much Does Logo Design Cost?
- How Much Does Branding Cost?
- How Much Does a Website Cost?
Keep in mind that we’re a growing design agency based in the North East of England. If you’re in London, or New York City, the investment you’re going to be making is going to a lot more.
But don’t let that dissuade you. Good work costs good money. But, it also gets you real results!
You need to consider the different elements that you require to complete your design project.
For example, you need to consider:
- What you expect to receive at the end of the project?
- What file formats should work be supplied in?
- What sizes and resolutions are needed?
This ensures that you are equipped with all of the right assets at the end of the project. You don’t want to be left resizing things because you haven’t given your agency the specifics.
There’s nothing more frustrating than “design by committee.” However, it does happen, and it can be managed.
But there always needs to be a lead point of contact in every design project.
One voice of reason that can be used to add balance to the discussions, and go between both the agency and the company.
This person should know the project inside and out. From goals and objectives through to audience personas and competitor information.
Clearly listing out the contact details of the project contact, and the best time and way to get hold of them, will make things run a lot smoother.
The design agency should also do their part here and once the project kicks off, they’ll assign a member of staff (usually an Account Manager) to handle their side of the communication.
How Your Design Project will Be Awarded
If you’re considering working with a number of agencies, or firing out your design brief to several choices, then you need to make sure they know how the project will be awarded.
For the record:
We don’t believe in distributing your brief to a huge number of agencies. It’s not respectful of their time.
That said, we appreciate you’ll want to collect several proposals and opinions. 3 to 5 agencies is a fair number to approach.
Not sure how to choose an agency to work with?
- Check out this post about choosing a graphic design agency
- And this post about finding the best web designers near you
Now, how will your project be awarded?
Typically, there are several elements at play:
- Cost/Value for Money
- Quality of Work
- Previous Experience
- Alignment to the Design Brief
- Suitability of the Agency
There are any number of factors you could use to judge the responses.
It’s normal to write into your design brief, the percentage and weighting of each of the awarding criteria.
This helps to show your design agency what’s most important in your decision making process and allows them to tailor their responses accordingly.
The required response section of a design brief is pretty straightforward to write.
You need to let your agency know what you’re expecting back, by when, and how to submit it.
It’s simply a case of listing out what you expect to receive back.
Perhaps this is as simple as:
- A written response to the brief
- Examples of relevant work
- Testimonials from happy clients
Tell the agency how to submit their proposal, what to include, by when, and you’re off to the races.
But before you go firing your design brief off to every agency you can find, let’s have a look at…
The “Do Nots” of Writing a Design Brief
Now that we’ve covered the ins-and-outs of writing a good design brief, let’s look at three things that you should avoid with your design brief.
Do Not Send Your Design Brief to Everyone
There are thousands of design agencies out there, but you don’t need to send you brief to every single one of them.
Find four or five that you like the look of, research them thoroughly, and if they look like a good fit for your project, send the brief to them.
One large email with twenty agencies copied in just isn’t acceptable. It’s not respectful of their time or their work, and you’re going to end up looking a bit silly when nobody replies.
Also keep in mind that if you send your design brief out to twenty agencies, you’re likely going to have to field twenty phone calls.
Be picky! It’ll help everyone in the long run.
Do Not Skip Over the Budget Section
Design budgets are important. They help to align expectations between your agency and your business.
You don’t need to list every single detail out, but having a rough idea of what you could possibly invest, is better than no idea at all.
Also, don’t be closed off to being at least a little flexible. There might be much better solutions available at a higher investment level.
Do Not Forget to Include a Timescale Around Your Decision
Nothing is worse for a design agency owner, than projects stuck in the “possibly / possibly not” pile indefinitely.
In a design agency, you’re trading time for money, so being able to plan your workload is key.
Make sure you’re clear around when decisions will be made, and stick to the timescale you set.
Design Brief Example
When it comes to writing your design brief it can be very tricky.
After all, what level of information do you include and how do you effectively communicate your wants and needs?
Take a look at the below example as we walk you through the process step-by-step.
This is simply an example to show you what kind of information your design agency will require. When it comes to measures of success for instance, simply stating ‘we want more traffic’ is not good enough. How much do you want to increase your website and by when?
This level of detail will save time later on.
It’s Time to Reach Out to Design Agencies
Now that you’ve learned how to write a design brief, and created your shortlist of design agencies, it’s time to start reaching out.
If you’re still not sure on how to find a design agency, you should contact us to discuss your design project.
Now, it’s time to get the whole process started.
Your design brief is a tool to be used when sourcing an agency and building out your design project.
Quite often, it’ll be added to or modified. And that’s exactly how it should be used. It’s a starting point.
Naturally you’ll get ideas as you go, things will change, goals will become easily reachable or be out of reach. Your focus might change altogether and things you thought would work at first, might not work in practice. It’s a creative process and your design brief will grow with you.
Your design brief should be used to reach out to agencies, and referred back to at key milestones within the project. Regardless of what sector you work in, whether you’re building a healthcare brand or you work in tech and IT, this important document will drive your project in the right direction.
Other Design Brief Templates in the Series
As well as The Design Brief Template we’ve also created a whole range of other brief templates that you download and use completely free.
So, no matter what sort of creative project you need to write a brief for, we’ve got you covered. Check them out below:
The Branding Brief Template
The Branding Brief Template will help you get the brief for your company branding project right.
From straight up branding projects for small businesses, to the full scale branding of larger companies – The Branding Brief Template has all types of branding projects covered.
Download now Read the post
The Rebranding Brief Template
The Rebranding Brief Template will help you get the brief for your rebranding project right.
From smaller rebranding projects, to full scale enterprise rebranding – The Rebranding Brief Template has all sizes of rebranding projects covered.
The Web Design Brief Template
The Web Design Brief Template will help you get the brief for your web design project right.
Whether you’re creating a new website for your business, or redesigning your existing website – then The Web Design Brief Template is going to be useful.
The Video Brief Template
The Video Brief Template will help you get the foundation for your video project right.
Whether you’re embarking on a corporate video, documentary, explainer, or any other type of video project – then The Video Brief Template is sure to help you out.
The Marketing Brief Template
The Marketing Brief will help you get the brief for any of your marketing projects right.
Whether you’re looking to grow traffic to your website, or increase conversions from existing traffic – then The Marketing Brief Template is here to help.
The Content Brief Template
The Content Brief Template will help you to generate interest in your brand/business in no time!
This brief is perfect for marketers out there looking to work with an agency to strategise, create, and market their content. With content marketing becoming a must in business – The Content Brief Template is designed to help you progress your own content marketing strategy.
The Packaging Brief Template
The Packaging Design Brief template will help you communicate the needs of your packaging project.
From cartons and bottles to boxes and envelopes, knowing what to include in your brief can be confusing – that’s why we designed The Packaging Design Brief template, to help you make sense of the packaging madness.
The RFP / RFQ Template
The RFP / RFQ Template will help you to create an easy to understand document that communicates the needs of your project.
Whether you’re embarking on a branding, web design, brochure design, packaging design, or any other type of design project – then The RFP / RFQ Template can help.
The Creative Brief Bundle
And, if you don’t want to download all of our templates individually, then we have you covered with The Creative Brief Bundle.
Our brief templates are far and away the most downloaded resource on our entire website, and now we’re bringing them to you as one big bundle.
To find out how we can help, simply get in touch.
How to Write a Branding Brief (Template Included!)
How to Choose a Graphic Design Agency
How to Write a Web Design Brief (Template Included!)
Filter by Keywords
How to Write a Design Brief (With Templates and Examples)
February 9, 2023
Max 10min read
No matter how many hours we spend staring into our dog’s eyes, none of us are mind readers. 🔮 🐶
Luckily, there are ways to combat our lack of telepathy in the workplace—especially when it comes to design concepts that we imagine so vividly in our heads, but have no idea how to recreate IRL.
What’s the solution? Writing detailed and practical design briefs, of course!
Like placing an order at a restaurant, design briefs tell the designer what you want out of a request. It’s how they understand what the project is, what the task requires, and where to start.
The key to a highly effective design brief is to be both clear and concise—which is challenging when you’re dealing with complex tasks or multiple non-negotiable project requirements . But we’re here to help with tips and examples to take your design briefs to the next level. 💜
Whether your design team is looking to standardize your briefs and requests, or you’re part of an agency commissioning a company project, this article has you covered. Read along for a fresh take on writing efficient design briefs including the essential elements, how-to breakdowns, a customizable template, and more!
What is a Design Brief?
Step 1: choose your design brief project management software, step 2: the design brief project description, step 3: the design brief objective and smart goals, step 4: the design brief’s target audience, step 5: your budget and timeline, step 6: the expected deliverables, step 7: anything else you deem important , step 8: share it with the team, design brief template.
A design brief is a written document that lays the groundwork for a design project with the outlined goals, scope, and approach for the request. Similar to your project roadmap , the design brief is a designer’s guiding light when it comes to the where , what , when , and why of a specific request.
Design briefs typically pass through many hands before they land on the designer’s to-do list. With approvals from all project managers and stakeholders , the brief should be thorough but to the point, identifying the approved timeline, end product, and budget (if applicable).
On a deeper level, briefs are also a way for the designer to connect and align with the person making the request. In this sense, try to use your brief as a collaborative tool for eliminating the general confusion that comes with additional back-and-forth phone calls, messages, and emails.
But while it’s important to include key details and context to your requests, your design brief should still be, well, brief . You want it to be long enough to describe the project and communicate your request without overwhelming the designer with a multi-page pamphlet that runs margin-to-margin. 🥵
How do these ideas come together in a design brief? We’ll show you!
How to Write a Design Brief (With Examples)
In an exciting turn of events, there’s no set-in-stone format you must stick to when writing an effective design brief. 🤩
Your team will find the type of brief that serves your design project management style best in terms of length, detail, and work style. Small requests or smaller-scale projects may not require as hefty of a brief, but there are still key elements that all briefs share.
Relying on a template, a survey-style request, or a standardized document structure are all great ways to collect the necessary information to build a design brief. The key is to keep it consistent! Here is our step-by-step guide for writing effective design briefs with real-life examples. ✏️
Follow these eight steps from top to bottom—or skip to the next section for a free customizable template to make the process even easier! 🤓
Design projects are collaborative by nature and your ideal design project management software will have the features to support that! Powerful design tools will alleviate some of the stress and streamline daily processes involved in your design workflow with the ability to organize, edit, share, and manage projects of any size.
And since design briefs are commonly formatted in a document, your chosen project management tool will likely include a built-in document editor or integrations to bring all of the right information together across apps.
Think of your design brief as a reliable source of truth—a document that you can refer back to at any time for the most accurate information and progress updates. The best example of this? ClickUp Docs . 📃
ClickUp Docs are your destination for all things text-based in your Workspace. In true ClickUp fashion, Docs offer a ton of features like nested pages, Slash Commands , styling options, embedding, and advanced settings to customize the look and functionality of your Doc.
You’ll love how far your can take your design briefs with real-time editing, @mentions in comments , and secure sharing and permissions via a simple link. Plus, Docs can be connected to your workflows so any updates that happen in your document are automatically reflected in related tasks and other areas of your workspace.
Context is everything and this section of your design brief should give exactly that!
Give a brief but descriptive overview of what your project is and what it will be used for. This doesn’t have to dig too deep, but a sentence or two that clearly states your request and what you’ll be using it for is a great starting point for the designer.
This section may also include a bit about the company or client commissioning the design. What the company does, its primary services, values, and brand identity are common details to find in this section.
Our social media marketing agency is redesigning our website to feature a new home page, blog section, and portfolio. We are a small team of eight members who work with 50 businesses in our area, and all of our work is currently clustered together on our outdated webpage. We have matured as a brand since we created our initial website and grown as a company, and we want our new website to reflect that.
Describe the problem this project will address and the big-picture idea that you’re hoping to achieve with it. Be direct with the purpose you want the project to serve and use this section to align the design team with the client’s overall vision and objective through SMART goals .
P.S., SMART stands for Specific , Measurable , Attainable , Relevant , and Time-bound .
Want to learn more about SMART goals and why they’re so important? Check out our goals resources to write and implement goals across departments!
We want our redesigned website to reflect our brand identity better, drive more traffic to our services, and increase email newsletter sign-ups by 25% by the end of our next fiscal quarter.
The next section of your brief covers the who of it all. Not so much related to who you are as a company requesting a design, but who the project is targeted to.
This is where the client commissioning the project will describe their ideal customer, audience, user personas, and use cases . This design is like your first impression—a way to show customers that you have a solution to a specific problem they are facing and that your project meets their needs.
It is crucial for the designer to understand who you’re trying to reach through this request to meaningfully connect with those customers’ needs.
Our target market audiences are female entrepreneurs in the San Diego area in the 25-34 and 35-44 age ranges. These clients want to grow their business by investing in paid ads on social media platforms and want resources to improve and increase their online presence.
Now we’re starting to move into the details and logistics sections of your design brief. ⏰💸
Make sure the timeline provided is realistic and feasible for what the brief is asking. If there are any budgetary or resource constraints, this is the time to lay them down.
Designers need to know when the project is due for its first round of edits, when they can expect feedback from the client, and any key milestones , task dependencies , or deadlines tied to the request. This will help establish clear communication between the designer and the client so all of their expectations are met, and avoid potential bottlenecks while the project is in progress.
Pro tip: Also note if there is any flexibility with the expected budget and timeline.
Our ideal timeline from start to finish is six months. We are announcing our new website at an event in March but want to quietly launch the website a month prior. This extra month will give us some wiggle room if there are any setbacks. We would like to approve the mockups and wireframes, and go through two rounds of edits before we launch.
This section is all about the file details and formatting in which you want to receive the project. If necessary or applicable, specify the size, file type, naming process, and deliverables you’re expecting. AKA, what is your preferred type of video, image, or software to work with and how should they share it with you?
We will approve initial ideas and designs from our digital whiteboard software and review all wireframes in Figma.
To make sure that all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, add any other relevant information to the end. This may include key contacts to reach out to if the designer has any urgent questions, approval process details, key dates, client mockups, and more!
This is a great time to specify anything that you do not want to see from this project and inspo images to give the designer a clear idea of what to work off of.
Check our virtual whiteboard for recent work we’ve done with our clients, rough sketches of what we’re imagining for our new website, some research, media, and more!
Our suggestion? ClickUp Whiteboards ! 🎨
ClickUp Whiteboards are highly visual, collaborative, and productive! What’s more, they’re also the only whiteboard software on the market that can convert any object on your board into a customizable task and connect it to your workflows.
With tools for drawing, uploading media, embedding, styling, and real-time editing, ClickUp Whiteboards are built to capture your ideas the moment they happen so you can act on them instantly. Seriously, Whiteboards are every designer’s dream. ✨
Plus, your Whiteboard stays updated at all times, wiping out the need for multiple tabs, constant refreshing, and confusion caused by lengthy text-based descriptions.
RE: Step 1—design briefs are collaborative!
You need the ability to quickly share, edit, and update your design briefs via custom permissions and convenient sharing options like a simple link. This will get the entire team quickly get on the same page (literally) and stay on target. 🎯
Like in a bad game of telephone, inconsistent design briefs gloss over key ideas and eventually lose the main point of the project entirely. But customizable templates are a surefire way to guarantee every detail is clearly stated.
Think of pre-built templates as a springboard for standardizing the way you write your design briefs. They’re created to simplify and streamline the design brief process so everyone involved can focus on what matters most—the project itself.
The Design Brief Template by ClickUp is your one-stop solution for writing thorough and valuable creative briefs. This template applies a designated List to your Workspace with separate views for managing tasks, timelines, and your overall direction.
In your design brief List view , you’ll find pre-made customizable tasks for everything from client sessions to gathering assets , and seven custom statuses for total transparency. But the coolest feature of this template is definitely the creative brief Whiteboard with colored sections, sticky notes, and diagrams to solidify your project vision, brand, resources, notes, and more.
This template also comes with a thorough how-to ClickUp Doc to walk you through every feature to ensure you’re using it to the fullest extent.
Pro tip :
The Help Doc in the Design Brief Template shows off a ton of styling and formatting features to use as inspiration when writing your design brief Docs in ClickUp.
Set banners at the top of your Doc and throughout the page for a clear outline of information, embed videos, add a table of contents, and more. Or, layer another one of ClickUp’s pre-built templates on top of your Doc to keep the process moving along.
Write Your Next Design Brief in ClickUp
There you have it! Not only are you set up for success with the eight essential steps for writing design briefs, but you’ve got a flexible, free , and customizable template to lighten the load.
The take-home idea though is not just how to write a functional brief, but how to make the most of it. And that’s where ClickUp can help you take your processes to new heights. ✅
ClickUp is the ultimate productivity platform for teams to bring all of their work together into one collaborative space, no matter your use case or work style. Its feature list is loaded with hundreds of time-saving tools to make work management easier and more convenient than ever—with 15 ways to visualize your projects, over 1,000 integrations , in-app chat, and more!
Access everything you need to write effective design briefs including ClickUp Docs, Whiteboards, 100MB of storage, unlimited tasks, and more at absolutely no cost when you sign up for ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan .
And when you’re ready to boost your productivity even further, unlock even more advanced features for as little as $5 .
Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.
Receive the latest WriteClick Newsletter updates.
Thanks for subscribing to our blog!
Please enter a valid email
- Free training & 24-hour support
- Serious about security & privacy
- 99.99% uptime the last 12 months
- For Marketing
- For Agencies
- For Video Production
- For Developers
BY USE CASE
- Automated creative workflows Automate the manual tasks in your creative process
- Version management Remove the frustration of reviewers using yesterday’s creative
- Clear project visibility Get instant end-to-end project visibilty, so nothing slips
- Centralize creative feedback Review all types of creative on one powerful platform
- Marketing compliance Add digital fingerprints to your creative workflows and stay audit ready
Linney uses Ziflow to deliver multi-channel retail campaigns in just 12 hours.
LEARN AND CONNECT
- Resources hub Your hub for all things creative workflow, review and approval
- eBooks & guides Deep-dives into important topics and workflow best practices
- Webinars Register for live presentations and view recordings of past events
- Checklists Easy-to-follow advice to help you make the right creative workflow decisions
- Blog Must-read industry news, updates from Ziflow and so much more
- Videos Software sizzle reels and thought leadership for creative teams
- Customer stories Explore how top brands use Ziflow to accelerate their creative workflow
- Get started
How to write a rock solid design brief (with examples)
Design briefs are an essential part of every successful design project’s workflow. They align everyone involved on the purpose, milestones, and end goals of the project.
A well-written design brief is like a roadmap:
- It helps you identify and avoid roadblocks early on.
- It speeds up the design and development process.
On the other hand, a design brief that contains nonessential information and gaping holes causes even the best designers to struggle to do great work. Even worse, running a project without a design brief results in chaos with countless phone calls, ping-pong email threads and lack of clarity on design direction and project milestones.
In this guide, we’re going to explain the benefits and show you how to write an effective design brief so that you can make your creative projects a roaring success.
What we'll cover
Table of contents, what is a design brief, the benefits of using a design brief.
- Who writes the design brief?
How to write a design brief
3 design brief examples to use for inspiration, key takeaways.
A design brief is a short document—typically one or two pages—that explains the strategy for a design project’s visual direction and aesthetic. It also outlines the goals of the project and maps out the plan for how your design team will get there. This plan can include the number of versions and design mockups expected over the course of the design project , a visual mood board and design inspiration examples, branding guidelines for the design team and expected delivery dates
A design brief is a type of creative brief , which typically encompasses all the possible elements of a creative project.
The main focus of the design brief should be on the results and outcomes of the design concepts and visual direction. It should also relate that design vision to the business objectives of the project. In other words, it allows the client to focus on what they want to achieve before any design work starts on the project.
Finally, design briefs are usually signed off by the client and design team at set milestones in the project to ensure everything remains on track.
Starting a new project with a design brief is beneficial to both clients and designers. For example, a design brief:
- Equips designers with the background, foundation and insight to create the end design.
- Sets out the client’s expectations, visual taste (what they do and don’t like), and branding requirements for designers.
- Keeps stakeholders and contributors on track to complete the project on time and within budget.
- Ensures the project is understood and agreed upon by both parties from the outset.
Who writes the design brief?
Various opinions exist, but most designers would expect an initial design brief from the client. From there, it can become a working document that gets approved by both parties. But there are other options:
With large companies, it’s typically a Company Director, Marketing Manager, or Marketing Executive who writes the design brief. In smaller companies, it’s usually the business owner who writes it.
Sometimes the design brief is written by the designer rather than the client. Designers usually have a template to be completed by the client that ensures they have all the information they need to start work.
A third option involves the client and designer collaborating on the brief. This allows both parties to clarify goals and objectives, get input from stakeholders, and sign-off quicker.
The point is that both parties have a vested interest in getting the design brief right and signed-off before any design work starts. The client has to initiate the process, even if it’s asking a designer to meet and discuss the project so they can get ideas down. Some designers will have a standard template they’ll ask clients to complete first and then flesh it out with more details in a meeting.
Whomever writes the design brief needs to include key elements so that everyone involved has a clear picture of the requirements.
You can create design briefs in different styles and formats. But a good design brief outlines the deliverables and scope of the project, including any outcomes, timing, and budget.
Design briefs are used across a wide range of projects including those in the fields of architecture, interior design, fashion design, and industrial design, as well as graphic design, web design, ecommerce, and branding and rebranding.
Depending on the nature of the project and the client requirements, there might be slightly different sections, but as a general rule of thumb, a good design brief generally includes:
An overview of the business
Goals and objectives of the design project, the target audience and market, the competition, project design information, project deliverables, project timescales, project budget, project approval.
Let’s look at each element in more detail.
Design briefs should always include an overview of the client’s business so that all stakeholders are familiar with the brand and what it stands for.
Key elements to include in this section:
- Company details, including name, industry, and product lines.
- Brand differentiator and/or unique selling proposition.
- Brand mission, vision, values, and messaging.
Questions to address:
- What’s the size of the company, and how long has it been in business?
- What makes this company unique within its industry?
- What is the product or service?
- What is your brand’s mission?
- What are your brand’s keywords?
- What kind of feedback do you get from customers or clients?
A design brief needs to describe:
- Goals describe the overall purpose of the project.
- Objectives are measures of success in reaching a goal.
Both need to be specific and measurable so that you can evaluate the success or failure of the project. For example:
- Goal – increase traffic to the website.
- Objective – increase landing page visits by 10% by the end of Q1.
- Objective – increase new monthly visits to 40% of total traffic by Q2.
To build a thorough design brief, address questions such as:
- What do you want to achieve with this project?
- What does success look like for this project?
- Is this the first time this design problem has been tackled, or is it a reworking of a design that already exists?
- If it’s a rework, what needs to change, and why?
- What existing assets can be used as inspiration for our desired outcome?
It’s essential to understand the target audience and market for the design.
For example, a website designed for teenagers will look and work differently than one designed for corporate decision-makers.
Determine what outcome will resonate with your target audience by considering questions such as:
- How would you describe your target audience?
- What are their demographics, habits, and goals?
- What devices do they use?
- Do particular colors resonate more with their lifestyle?
- What research have you done to identify and understand your target audience?
- Do you have supporting documents, like buyer personas or empathy maps, that I can review?
- Can your budget and schedule accommodate further market research?
Note: If the client doesn’t have this information or more is required, then you may need additional budget.
Knowing the brand’s competition helps inform the design process and clarify the strategy. For example, what works for your competitors will likely work for you, but you need to know how to stand out from the crowd.
Make a list of direct and indirect competitors. For example, when launching its Watch Edition, Apple listed competitors as:
- Samsung Galaxy Live Watch: Though a trusted tech brand, its bulky, masculine designs are not as aesthetically appealing.
- Moto 360 by Motorola: A mid-priced option with a round face that resembles a traditional watch rather than a mini-tablet.
- LG G Watch R: A mix of classic style and technology.
- Fitbit by Tory Burch: A high-functioning, affordable sports tracker disguised as jewelry.
Implement competitive intelligence into your brief by outlining answers to these questions:
- Do you want to do something similar or strikingly different from your competitors?
- What are the strong points in your competitors’ designs?
- What don’t you like about your competitors’ designs?
Clients don’t have to provide creative direction–the design team will handle that. However, it’s good to list requirements about what to include or exclude.
Include any reference materials:
- Brand style guidelines; e.g. fonts, colors, tones.
Uncover what your client has in mind by asking these discovery questions:
- Is there a brand style guide available?
- Are there any fonts, colors, or styles that we should avoid?
- What previous design or marketing materials can you share?
- How would you describe the style you want?
- Do you want high-end or down-to-earth?
- Do you want to be bold and dominant or easily approachable?
- What styles would you prefer to avoid?
- What is the size of the design?
- Where is the design going to be used; e.g. web, business cards, stationery?
Both parties need to have a clear understanding of what outcome is expected. Make sure expectations are set on both sides.
Include any of the following details about your deliverables:
- Asset dimensions/resolutions
- File formats
- Required color palette
- Image assets to be included
- Associated copy documents
Get on the same page as your client by asking outcome-based questions such as:
- What do you expect to have at the end of the project?
- What file formats should the design work be supplied in?
- What asset size and resolution are needed?
- Is there a specific prototyping or handoff platform that should be used?
- Do you require me to handoff work directly to a development team?
Clients need to state when they want to start and complete the project. If timescales don’t fit with the designer’s other commitments, it could be a non-starter.
Aside from starting and ending the project, there will be other milestones along the way like concepts, final designs, development work, and reviews. Clients also need to account for providing their timely feedback throughout the project – otherwise, they could end up delaying the process and missing deadlines.
In short, both parties need to be realistic and flexible to account for potential changes or unexpected obstacles to project timescales.
Determine a timeline by asking:
- When will the project start?
- When will the project finish?
- Are there any inter-dependencies for this project?
Both the client and the designer need to be aware of the budget and constraints before the work commences.
The project budget has to align with project deliverables to avoid the possibility of scope creep.
Don’t avoid the subject. Discuss it as soon as possible so both parties know what to expect.
- What are the budget constraints on this project?
- Have research, development, and testing costs been considered?
- In what circumstances would there be budget flexibility?
In this section, list all the key stakeholders, contributors, and points of contact within the project with their assigned roles. You'll need a primary point of contact for the project, plus a person responsible for the final sign-off on all project deliverables.
Make sure all the details are listed, including their name, email address, and phone number. Remember to include any third-parties involved in the project, such as copywriters or web developers.
- Who’ll be the primary contact person for the project, and who will have the final sign-off on all deliverables from the client's side?
- Is anyone else to be included in the approvals?
- How will the review and approval process work once design begins and progresses?
Here are three different styles of design briefs to give you an idea of what’s possible.
1. Hush Puppies
The design brief example from Hush Puppies ticks all the boxes. It’s presented in a formal layout with clear section headings highlighting each component of the design brief.
2. Quaker Oats
The next design brief from Quaker Oats has a different layout, but when you look closely, you’ll see it has all the essential ingredients. The background facts also provide handy information on the problem and what Quaker Oats want to achieve with their campaign.
3. Apple Watch
The final example for the Apple Watch Edition uses some existing photos to add substance to the design brief. But aside from that, you can see all the required elements, plus the “mandatories” of what and what not to mention.
Good design briefs are essential for any successful design project as they benefit both the client and the design team by:
- Equipping designers with the background, foundation, and insight to create the final product.
- Setting out the client’s expectations, taste (what they do and don’t like), and branding requirements for designers.
- Ensuring the project is understood and agreed upon by both parties from the outset.
- Keeping all stakeholders and contributors on track to complete the project on time and within budget.
The information you include in a design brief and how you manage the approval of the design plans can make or break your design project. Before you begin creative production, be sure to:
- Prioritize creating a design brief before launching any project to align on expectation and outcomes.
- Document all aspects of the project from inspiration to budget to deadline in order to eliminate any surprises or differences in opinion.
- implement a workflow tool that streamlines clunky processes in various platforms so that teams can stay focused on the outcome without unnecessary admin tasks.
Ziflow is the perfect tool for successful sign-off of design briefs by the client and design team as all stakeholders get real-time updates and notifications throughout the review and approval. Learn more about using Ziflow's creative collaboration platform to review and approve your design projects from brief to final version .
Don’t miss any update
Subscribe to our newsletter and get notifications.
On a hiring freeze? Here’s how to maintain your creative team’s capacity when resources are on ice
Forget free lunches and swag: here's what your creative team needs to succeed
The top compliance risks in your creative process (and how to fix them)
Say goodbye to color separation woes with Ziflow's newest release
Build your dream business for $1/month
Start your free trial, then enjoy 3 months of Shopify for $1/month when you sign up for a monthly Basic or Starter plan.
- Sign up for a free trial
- Select a monthly Basic or Starter plan
- $1/month pricing will be applied at checkout
- Add products, launch your store, and start selling!
Become a Shopify partner. Unlock revenue opportunities.
What is a Design Brief and How to Write One
- by Simon Heaton
- Project Management
- Jul 13, 2020
- 11 minute read
A design brief is an important document that outlines your design project so that you and your client understand exactly what to expect in terms of deliverables and project workflow. It’s a key project management tool that also helps you manage client expectations , so it’s important to learn how to write one to keep your web design projects on track.
Whether you’ve used design briefs in the past or not, you should consider adding them to every project workflow. Here’s everything you need to know about how to write a design brief to keep your web design projects on track, feel more organized, and delight your clients.
Grow your business with the Shopify Partner Program
Whether you offer marketing, customization, or web design and development services, the Shopify Partner Program will set you up for success. Join for free and access revenue share opportunities, tools to grow your business, and a passionate commerce community.
What is a design brief?
A design brief, also known as a creative brief, is a project management document that allows you to identify the scope, scale, and core details of your upcoming design project. It is similar to a proposal or statement of work with the key difference being that in a design brief, your client has already decided that they want to work with you—you’ve already closed the deal, now it’s time to lay out the details.
When you include the right information, the design brief has the potential to be one of your most powerful project management tools. It can be used to inform design decisions and guide the overall workflow of your project; from conception to completion. A well-written creative brief helps you to identify and avoid roadblocks early on, and it can even streamline and accelerate your prototyping , design, and development process.
"The design brief has the potential to be one of your most powerful project management tools."
While every designer and agency tackles creative briefs in their own way, you’ll get the most out of it by collaborating with your client at the onset of a project. This way, your design brief allows you to clarify goals and objectives, get input from important stakeholders, and, ultimately, hold both parties accountable for the final product.
If you and your clients both understand each other’s responsibilities and have a clear vision for what the final deliverables will be before any work begins, you’ll likely avoid many unnecessary revisions or, “We didn’t ask for that” moments during and after the project.
Kicking off a new project with a design brief provides so many other benefits for your project workflow. Here are just a few more benefits that it will give you—and your client. A design brief:
- Provides designers with the necessary insight, background, and foundation to create the visual design
- Offers your team a more detailed vision of the client’s expectations, giving you everything you need to delight them
- Helps keep individual contributors aligned and on track, while keeping the project on time and on budget
- Gives the client a sense of involvement in the process, and comfort that their goals and vision are understood
- Provides you with all design specs upfront
- Helps you understand your client’s taste and identify their “must-not-haves”
Your design brief is valuable even after you’ve completed and submitted your project. If you’ve taken the time to draft a comprehensive design brief, you’ll be able to use it as the basis for a case study to use in future pitches. If you’re unfamiliar with how to do this, check out our detailed walkthrough on how to write a web design case study that lands new clients . If your client projects are similar, with repeatable elements, there’s also no need to write your creative brief from scratch every time you start a new project. Using a creative brief template can save you time and energy.
Free Design Brief Template : Check out the design brief template to get started.
The anatomy of a design brief
Design briefs can come in a variety of formats, and can include different information depending on the type of project you’re working on and the client you’re working with. To give you a sense of what to include and how to structure the document itself, here is a breakdown of the core sections of an effective design brief.
1. Company profile
Your design brief should include an overview of your client’s business so that all members of your team are familiar with your client, their brand, and any internal factors that can influence the direction or success of the project.
Here are the key elements to include in this section:
- Company details, including client name, industry, product lines, etc.
- Brand differentiator and/or unique selling proposition
- Brand mission, vision, values, and messaging
- Key stakeholders, contributors, and points of contact within the business
- List of direct and indirect competitors
Including these important details about your client’s brand, decision makers, and the context for why they want and need the project can help you get to know your client as they see themselves from a brand perspective. It helps to know exactly which stakeholders are responsible for certain deliverables, and who you should be contacting if an issue arises.
"It helps to know exactly which stakeholders are responsible for certain deliverables, and who you should be contacting if an issue arises."
You may have already researched your client and pitched them your services, leading to them working with you. If that’s the case, feel free to use the information collected during your research. Just be sure that your client reviews the information to confirm its accuracy and to add any relevant information you might have missed.
If your client proactively reached out to you to work on a certain project, they should be responsible for sharing this information with you, upfront. However, they may not know that it’s their responsibility to share this information.
It can help to create or use a design brief template , form or questionnaire for your client to fill out with all the details you need to know before you start the project. If you want to be strategic about the types of clients you work with, consider posting the form on your “Contact Us” page on your website, to effectively screen clients. Those who put in the work upfront are more likely to be organized, responsible, and clear about their objectives.
When working with larger clients—especially when projects involve multiple stakeholders—you should also formally acknowledge who within their organization has the final approval for the project. This transparency not only helps keep everyone accountable, it also strengthens client relationships.
Take the time to get to know your client and/or their team in a kickoff call, and be sure to ask any clarifying questions. This is a good time to clearly state if you foresee any potential challenges or misunderstandings. Add any relevant details to your creative brief as needed.
You might also like: 4 Crucial Steps to Building Strong Client Relationships .
2. Project overview
Provide a detailed description of the project, including as much context and background as possible in the project overview section of your design brief. You can get the answers you need for this section in the design brief by asking your client in your kickoff meeting or when they fill out your questionnaire.
Your overview should define the scope and scale of the project and its deliverables. Here are some example questions you can include in your design brief template to ensure that you’re consistently asking the right questions:
- Are you building something new?
- Are you redesigning something that exists?
- What other assets do you expect at the completion of the project?
- How much involvement do client stakeholders want (or need) to have?
- What are some potential challenges or obstacles you foresee?
- What is not included in the scope of the project?
Now that you have a clear idea of what they want, it’s time to investigate why your client wants to work on this project. You should try to answer this question by identifying the web design problems your client faces that compelled them to hire you for this project.
Sometimes, by digging a little deeper into the why, you can discover alternative solutions that strategically meet the needs of your clients.
You might also like: Get to the Heart of Your Clients' Ecommerce Dilemmas With the 5 Whys .
3. Goals and objectives
Designing websites may be a core offering that is central to your business, but to a client (especially those in ecommerce), a website is their business. Using numbers or plain language, share measurable results for what this project is trying to achieve.
Goals reflect the main purpose of your project, while objectives represent the smaller, measurable milestones that, together, add up to achieve the goal. Some sample examples of goals and their corresponding objectives for a website build or redesign could be:
Goal: The client wants more traffic to their website Objectives:
- Increase the amount of weekly sessions by 20 percent by X date
- Grow proportion of new monthly traffic to 40 percent of total by X date
- Set the year-over-year traffic goal to be 20 percent higher than the last year
Goal: The client is looking to drive more revenue from their website Objectives:
- Increase daily revenue by 50 percent by X date
- Grow the total average order amount by 25 percent by X date
- Reduce cart abandonment by 15 percent by X date
Goal: The client wants to increase engagement with their online content Objectives:
- Reduce average bounce rates by 10 percent by X date
- Increase the average number of pages viewed per session by 25 percent by X date
- Increase average time on page per user by 15 percent by X date
Once you’ve established the goals and objectives and have recorded them in your design brief, you can “work backwards” and identify the technical steps you need to take to achieve them.
By establishing goals and objectives upfront, you’re not only suited to make more informed decisions around your design, you’ll also be able to prove your business value to the client beyond their website aesthetics. This sets you up to become a trusted partner, leading to a better quality relationship with your client over the long term.
You might also like: Leading Successful Discovery Sessions: Set the Stage for Client Projects .
4. Target audience
Make sure to develop a solid understanding of the users who will be interacting with your client’s website. Understanding your client’s target audience will inform your design decisions.
If you’re lucky, your client will already be equipped with relevant research about their target audience and be willing to share it with you. However, not all business owners will have this information. If you find yourself in this situation, you have two options. You can try to use this opportunity to offer user research services as a value-add to the project. If your client isn’t interested, try asking them who their ideal customer is, and work together to build an audience persona through discussion.
Your audience persona should include demographics such as age, gender, and location, as well as psychographics like media consumption habits, values, and related interests. This information can reveal important details about what resonates most with your client’s customers online.
For example, are your client’s customers more likely to use mobile more than desktop? Do certain colors resonate more with their lifestyle? What UX or UI considerations are missing? What additional universal design principles can you apply to improve site accessibility?
If your client already has an active website, advanced segments in Google Analytics reports can provide both demographics and psychographics insights. It’s a great starting point if your client is unsure about who they’re attracting to their online store and why. Your client may find that their target audience isn’t the type of user visiting their website.
By defining the target audience in your design brief, you’ll be prepared to make informed decisions during the design process.
You might also like: 5 Questions You Should Ask Your Clients Before Every Web Design Project .
5. Design requirements
When it comes to the design requirements section in your design brief, be sure to include the relevant details so that you’re not making several rounds of revisions or chasing your client for files that are the correct size.
By including specific design requirements in your design brief, you can ensure that you and your team have everything needed to work efficiently and meet client expectations. Including these details upfront also reduces the risk of revisions or complete redesigns.
While requirements may vary for each project, you can include any of the following details about your deliverables:
- Asset dimensions/resolutions
- File formats
- Required color palette
- Image assets to be included
- Associated copy documents
It is also worthwhile to include any reference materials in this section. These could include brand guidelines, mockups, mood boards (check out these intuitive mood board apps ), and anything else you feel could assist with the completion of the project.
You may be collaborating more closely with your client on this aspect of the project, especially if they—or other members of your team—will be working on creating certain assets or design elements (such as logos, graphics, videos, photos, etc.) while you’re designing and building the website. Communication here is key. Get as much information recorded in your design brief as you can.
The more thorough your supporting documentation, the less chance you’ll experience challenges or delays while working through the design itself.
6. Budget and schedule
If you work in an agency, budgets and schedules can be seen as an afterthought and left for the client services team to deal with. However, these project components are just as vital for creatives as they are for your account services counterparts, and are imperative for the freelancers to address early on in the design process.
Getting a clear understanding of your client’s project budget allows you to effectively manage their expectations about project deliverables, while also managing how your team uses their time.
When initially meeting with your client to scope out their project, make sure you allocate budget across all disciplines: research, design, copywriting, development, coordination, testing, and review. That way, you’re much more likely to avoid scope creep or feature creep .
Without a clear budget, it can be easy for you or your team to dive deep into a job and lose track of how many billable hours you’ve logged. To help manage time spent on billable tasks, use one of the best time tracking apps to stay on track and within the budgetary limits of the project.
Projects need to stay on track and be delivered to your client on time to stay profitable—that’s why you need to include some form of a schedule in your design brief. Your schedule should be realistic and account for potential changes or unexpected challenges.
It can be tempting to commit to completing a project on a compressed timeline, but that often does more harm than good. Give yourself some breathing room in your workback plan so that if you do need more time, or if your client takes longer than expected to provide feedback before your next project milestone, it doesn’t mean you and your team will be working 12-hour days just to get back on track.
An effective schedule should not only highlight the final deadline, but also identify any milestones between the beginning and end of the project. It is crucial that your team can mutually anticipate completion dates for concepts, final designs, development work, and review periods.
While schedules are vital for keeping your team on track, they can also give your client some insight into the design process. Some clients simply won’t know how long it takes to research, design, and build a website. It’s important to set the expectation of what’s realistic when creating your design brief. This, just like the entire design brief, ensures your team and client are on the same page from the beginning.
You might also like: A Web Designer’s Guide to Project Schedules .
Start using the design brief in your project workflow
Done well, your design brief has the potential to be one of your most valuable project management tools. It’s worth the time to learn how to write a design brief to keep your web design projects on track. Try to incorporate these tips into your design or development workflow so your projects begin with a strategic start.
We’ve put together a sample design brief template that you can use as your starting point for each project you work on. Feel free to make changes and update it as you see fit. Download your design brief template below and let us know what you think!
Free Template : Check out the design brief template to get started.
- How to Generate Leads for Your Business Using Content
- The Ecommerce Proposal Guide for Shopify Experts
- Best Practices for Developing Scalable (and Sustainable) Shopify Themes
- The Complete Guide to Web Design Project Management for Developers, Designers, and Marketers
- 20 Memorable Web Design Portfolio Examples to Inspire Your Own Website
- 4 Essential Tips for Building Your First Shopify Theme
- How to Get Web Design Clients Fast
- Introducing Online Store 2.0: What it Means For Developers
- Get to the Heart of Your Clients' Ecommerce Dilemmas With the 5 Whys
- How to Use a Mind Map in Product Design
About the author
Simon is a coffee lover, former agency digital strategist, and Shopify Partners' Growth Marketing Manager. When he isn’t hustling at the Shopify HQ, you can most likely find him dining at restaurants across the city or brushing up on the latest design trends.
Let’s grow your digital business
Get design inspiration, development tips, and practical takeaways delivered straight to your inbox.
No charge. Unsubscribe anytime.
Thanks for subscribing.
You’ll start receiving free tips and resources soon.
- Dissolving pulp
- Graphic papers
- Packaging and speciality papers
- Casting and release papers
- Market pulp
Education and support
- Sustainability & Impact
- Resource Hub
Fresh Facts on Fresh Fibre
2021 Sappi North America Sustainability Report
Product CoC Claim Options
- Innovation & Collaboration
- Sustainable Alternatives
Sustainable alternatives to plastic
Partner with us
- Sappi Update impact of Covid 19 and Covenants
- Press releases
- Sappi in the news
- Ideas that Matter
COVID-19 Resource centre
- About Sappi group
- Global business segments
- Global business strategy
- About Sappi North America
- About Sappi Europe
- About Sappi Southern Africa
- About Sappi Trading
Research and development
2022 Sappi Annual Integrated Report
Ten Tips for Writing an Effective Design Brief
I recently read that good creative briefs enhance collaboration between creative and marketing 1 . With this in mind, I wanted to share an article that will help you compile a successful creative brief so you can get the best results for your campaign.
This tip sheet was written by and is reprinted with the permission of Delphine Hirasuna and published in @Issue, Volume 2, No. 2.
Whether the project is an annual report, product design, packaging, Web site, interactive product, marketing brochure, corporate identity program or environmental graphics, companies can save time and misunderstanding by putting together a design brief before interviewing prospective design firms. Unfortunately, too few corporate managers take the time to prepare a brief, thinking that "talking it through" in a meeting will suffice. A written brief offers two important advantages, however: 1) It demands that in-house managers clarify the project's business objectives at the start, and 2) it gives designers a summary of key corporate points to refer to later on. But keep the design brief short, and recognize that its purpose is to provide enough information to assess the proposed assignment realistically without discouraging creative exploration.
1. Corporate Profile Even if your corporate rename is more famous than Lady Gaga, don't assume everyone knows what you do. People may only know your company by name, or have an outdated image of what you do, or think of you too narrowly in terms of one product or one market area. A designer's erroneous assumptions about your business can skew the entire opening discussion, so first provide a synopsis of your current line of business, market emphasis and reach, along with pertinent historical highlights.
2. Market Position Provide a realistic evaluation of your organization, service or brand relative to your competitors. How is your company unique or different? What is your standing in the industry? What marketing communications techniques are most effective among your competitors?
3. Current Situation Explain the situation that instigated the need for this project. Examples: Our brand identity isn't working anymore. The Generation X thinks of us fondly from their youth, but their children consider us too conservative. We're about to launch a big push into global markets, and our packaging hasn't changed since we were a regional company. We just went public and need to be taken seriously on Wall Street.
4. Business Objectives What do you want to achieve? If it's a Web site, what points are you pushing? If it's a corporate capabilities piece, what are the key messages for the year? If it's a product design, what attributes do you want to convey? Define your objectives.
5. Target Audience Who are you trying to reach? Are you reaching them now? If not, what do you feel is missing? For multiple audiences, rank them in terms of importance. Provide demographic information, if relevant. Explain any unusual or unique attributes about your audience.
6. Corporate/ Brand Personality What is your image in the market Place? How do you want to be perceived? Cutting edge? Relaxed and friendly? Trendy and elegant? Inexpensive and approachable? What subliminal messages do you want to convey? Jot down a list of adjectives describing the image you want to project and another describing messages you want to avoid.
7. Budget Until you know what form the solution will take, it's hard to define a budget. However, it usually helps to state a ballpark figure for the total project, so that the designer knows whether you are thinking about a three-panel brochure or a 48-page full-color book. Some companies undertake design projects so infrequently, they have no idea how much things cost. They come in with lavish samples of what they want, only to discover that something comparable would wildly exceed their budget. In fairness to the design process, it is important to provide a budget range, so that the designer can develop concepts with that in mind - or advise you early-on that the ideas you want to execute will cost more than is currently budgeted. Don't try to breakout the budget by line items i.e., design, photography, typesetting, printing, paper, etc.; let the designer do that once the solution is defined.
When it comes to budgeting at this early stage, it's important to build in flexibility, so that you don't miss an opportunity to get the perfect solution, which may happen to cost just a few dollars more.
8. Schedule and Deadline What absolute targets must be met? A product launch at a conference that happens once a year? An SEC filing? A Board of Directors' presentation? If this is a program with many elements, is there a rollout sequence? Does the print advertising have to coincide with the brochure distribution, for instance? State any interim targets that must be met during production, if relevant, and when the project must be completed.
9. Design Medium What medium do you have in mind for the design? A print piece, advertising, packaging, Web site, email blast, social media campaign, poster, exterior signage, video, AR/VR experience - or all of the above? Do you have a particular size in mind e.g., a 24-page self-cover brochure, a direct mail piece that fits a No. 10 envelope? In some cases, the situation will dictate the medium; in others, the best medium may emerge through an audit and analysis of your needs. State your preference but keep an open mind.
10. Technical and Practical Constraints Does the designer have to stay within certain parameters? Is it a point of-purchase display that has to meet specific supermarket guidelines? A brochure that has to be translated into three languages? Packaging that must include recycled materials? If there are inflexible constraints, state them up front. Don't base your parameters simply on the fact that "it's always been done that way," because you may prevent your designer from coming up with a solution that no one has ever considered before.
1 2019 In-House Creative Management Report, published 2019 by InSource and InMotionNow
Welcome to Sappi etc. Education. Training. Consulting. And more. Get industry perspectives and learn about Sappi’s programs for creatives, printers and marketers.
Click here to view the archive .
It turns out that scientists have discovered a mathematical order to the crumpling of paper, which is predictable and relatively simple. This past November, in his research paper published in the journal Communications Physics, Omer Gottesman, a phys...
Whether the project is an annual report, product design, packaging, Web site, interactive product, marketing brochure, corporate identity program or environmental graphics, companies can save time and misunderstanding by putting together a design bri...
Kelly is known for his focus on the dynamics between shape, form and color, based on real-life observations. While his body of work includes paintings, sculptures and works on paper, Kelly also created installations. In 2015, shortly before his death...
When I found the Ink app by Sincerely Inc., (Sincerely.com/ink) I felt a certain kind of joy—one that celebrates print AND the ease of instant gratification that technology often delivers. While the idea of marrying the capability of your phone wit...
For me the most surprising outcome of the study is how 18-24-year-olds feel about print and paper—a generation that has been raised on technology and for whom technology is more fully integrated into their lives and behaviors. The study showed that...
WAD workBefore meeting the book-jacket designer Louise Fili, now my wife of more than thirty years, I had never heard the name of nor seen any work by William Addison Dwiggins (Dwig, WAD, Bill). I had no idea that he (or anyone else for that matter) ...
When Sun Chemical’s sales and marketing teams needed a paper piece to showcase the company’s printing inks and pigments, it found a solution on Sappi’s coated paper Opus—and reached a whole new audience in the process.The problemSun Chemical ...
To highlight their products the design team concepted and produced a condensed piece on Opus with 10 perforated tear-off cards that highlighted examples of special effects possible with Sun Chemical products—a citrus scent wafting from a photo of a...
His collection spans 200 years of artistic interpretation and innovation from patriotic banners and folk-art curiosities, to modern artistic masterworks. Many of the items in his collection are one-of-a-kind objects created over the past centuries by...
Luckily, for all of us, Wolman said yes and became Rolling Stone magazine’s first Chief Photographer from 1967 through late 1970. He not only witnessed what can be described as the most important period of change and upheaval in popular music and c...
It turns out we are more likely to remember something we read on paper than something we read on the screen. And it’s not just me telling you this, scientists have pinpointed three reasons for this:Paper makes content more intuitively navigable. Fr...
You may know that I love the printed word. I read as many as 60 print publications per month. While this number is tightly correlated with the time I spend in airports, I’d venture to guess that my consumption level is pretty high. I usually have...
It’s part of the reason we collect back issues of magazines, books, great paper and print samples, as well as educational references. Like you, I use them for inspiration and to see how others solved design, layout, font and color problems. Wheth...
Why is that? A key reason is that wood fiber is one of the most expensive components of paper, and uncoated papers require a higher ratio of fiber per pound than coated sheets. Specialty uncoated paper machines must also run slower and produce smalle...
The ripple effects of our Ideas that Matter program have hit the shore here at Sappi, just as they continue to spread to external programs and people. If you’ve read or heard about Ideas that Matter, or if you’ve ever entered or won a grant, you ...
Featuring an image of a solar eclipse taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, AZ, the stamp shows an image of a solar eclipse seen from Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006. The stamp is certainly designed beautifully. But, what m...
Here’s a sample of what we’ve uncovered in this category— According to a 2015 multi-country study, an overwhelming 92% of college students surveyed said they prefer reading in print over any form of electronic media. Respondents explained that ...
When it comes to making the most of readily available print technologies, Sappi has a strong and long history of helping printers and creatives make smart decisions. Our go-to resources, vetted by experience, have created a leading space for Sappi as...
Here at Sappi we know that designers care deeply about giving back. We’ve been proud to support that focus through our corporate giving grant program, Ideas that Matter. And, as the field of social innovation has expanded and evolved, we’ve been ...
Paper, tape, string and staples are the only materials Bea Szenfeld utilized to create the incredibly intricate costumes in her spring/summer 2014 Haute Papier collection. Inspired by origami and Arte Povera – an Italian art movement during the lat...
We heard many unique stories from the presenters, but two of our favorites were from Nashville hometown heroes: Goo-Goo Clusters and the Tennessee Titans. Goo-Goo Clusters’ story is one of re-invention. The company took a regional, old-school brand...
When it comes to commercial printing, coated papers are used on the majority of projects. It’s considered the workhorse of the print industry. When used thoughtfully, it can be an amazing conduit for beautiful design and production. Printers love r...
Recent data collected by Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization (PRIMIR), the premier market research association of the graphic communications industry, valued the global print market in 2007 at $557 billion dollars and they a...
At the opening reception, Harris Diamond, CEO of McCann Worldgroup (McCann), compared the latest studies of online behavior showing that the average person spends over 50 minutes a day on Facebook to a recent study by McCann showing that the average ...
But are ‘print is dead’ perceptions based on reality? Well, as they say on the Marketplace® program widely distributed on public radio, let’s go to the numbers…According to a recent article in the market intelligence blog, WhatTheyThink?, me...
I think I would have liked Herr Riepl. In our publication, Print &, Sappi provided insight from a number of research studies on media convergence by exploring consumer behavior, push/pull marketing, augmented reality and the importance of tactile...
According to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), from 2009 to 2015, the number of independent ABA member bookstores has increased by 27%. Sales at independent bookstores are outpacing the growth of book sales in general. In January 2016, the ...
Not only does our sense of touch tell us about the physical world, it’s also the interface through which we talk back. The action of touch is reciprocal—you can’t touch without being touched. We use it constantly to communicate, and interperson...
The results of Harlow’s study suggested that touch is not only the basis for a healthy emotional life, but also for a healthy physical life and that there is a lot more to the Mother-Child relationship than food. Dr. David Eagleman shares the very...
So why have our hands taken so much of our brain’s real estate? Scientists, philosophers and other students of the human experience say that the hand is an extension of the mind. Or more succinctly, as Immanuel Kant posited, “the hand is the vis...
As many of you may know, the Didot family was to printing, publishing and typography as the Bach family was to music: successive generations of artistic geniuses who dominated their field for more than 200 years. Jules Didot's father, Pierre Didot, e...
Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand: A Communicator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch, launched by Sappi North America in 2015, features images adapted from these classics. To create the images for the publication, the Houston-based design firm, Rigsby H...
Gulp! 500 million. That was a shock to me. I immediately thought it would all go to digital. But as the commentator continued, it turns out that it will mostly go to Television--another surprise. The commentator asked if that was happening because th...
Gulp. Forever. You can imagine how thrilled I was to hear a group of millennials back a position on paper. It made my heart sing. Their thoughts, as shared, were: what you see and experience on the internet is of the moment. You see it, you consume i...
As you most likely know, many of the fonts Zapf drew are considered classics today—Palatino, Optima and, of course, the Zapf dingbats which formed the basis for Unicode’s symbols. He started designing type in a completely different era when he di...
Recently, I wrapped up a speaking tour with Canada Post. We hit four big cities—Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto. All in, my colleague and frequent speaking partner, Trish Witkowski of FoldFactory.com, and I spoke to well over 800 creative ...
I started to think about the value of paper and the documents printed on it. In the United States, one of our most valued pieces of paper is the Declaration of Independence. And, just for fun, I thought I’d share a couple of facts about the documen...
Sappi’s connection to Robert was that he was a recipient of two Ideas that Matter grants—one in 2012 and the other in 2014. Working with teams that include Pellegrino Collaborative, students at the University of Notre Dame and the Kgosi Neighborh...
Two companies that have launched publications as an extension of their brand are the online fashion site Net-a-Porter and the travel site Airbnb. Communicating to their audience and building a community of like-minded followers appears to be the goal...
One format that is resurfacing in the fragmented music industry that I find particularly interesting is the FLEXI RECORD. Pressed on thin plastic or coated paper (which is, of course, my preference) FLEXI RECORDS started appearing commercially in the...
While some say a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes a video may be the shortest story-telling route for your marketing message. A benefit of this new technology is that everyone gets mail while all other communication channels require the r...
As I’m sure you've all heard, the call for entries for the 2015 Ideas that Matter grant program is now open! This is our 15 year anniversary and, over the course of that time, Sappi’s Ideas that Matter program has supported over 500 charitable pr...
The New York Times recently reported that 2013 experienced a 1% increase in mailed catalogs—bringing the total number of catalogs for the year to 11.9 billion. This is still down 60% from the peak in 2007. But, economists and experts are paying clo...
In the U.S., live event attendance is on the rise. From the first half of 2012 to the first half of 2014, concert revenue was up 29%(1); queries on Google for sports tickets increased 32%(2), and Broadway attendance was up 5.5% year over year(3). For...
Wine began selling rare books more than a decade ago. Several years later, he was asked to put together a custom collection for a friend’s beach house in South Carolina. But, more than just building a collection based on interests, themes and topic...
The Pantone Hotel™, located in Brussels, Belgium, was designed by Michel Penneman and Olivier Hannaert. Using an all-white backdrop, the hotel has strategically placed saturated color palettes in each room, and on each floor, to put color at center...
Over this past year, as I’ve incorporated information from different neuroscientific research into my presentations and this blog, I’ve begun to realize that I’m not only a ‘print evangelist’ but a champion of reading. You can learn more ab...
As a public speaker I've always had the platform I need to educate, train and consult with—and for—clients. And yet, over the past years, I've found that it’s equally important to communicate through all of the channels that are available to me...
At year’s end I like to think about the future and typically review JWT: The Future 100. JWTIntelligence, the group that puts out the report annually, is a center for thinking that focuses on identifying shifts in the global zeitgeist. This year’...
I’ve spent a great deal of time this year focusing on direct mail. Direct mail campaigns can display some of the most creative and successful uses of paper and print. And, even more importantly, they are proven to perform better than online activit...
Print has tangible properties that make it part of the culture and the times. Print has shape, weight and texture. A magazine can rest on a coffee table, a book can fit on a shelf and a brochure can be held in your hands. For marketers, paper and pri...
Millward Brown used fMRI brain scans to “see” the different effects of two types of marketing approaches on the recipient’s brain. They researched the impact of physical marketing materials compared to that of online digital assets. The physica...
Evolution “Evolution” is the term that accurately describes both the show and the industry. While many printers report that they are doing well and are busy, it’s definitely a smaller industry. Insiders and outsiders agree that those printers t...
Let me remind you of some successful marriages as the debate over print versus digital works its way to becoming moot. Many of you may know that I often talk about how print and digital can deliver amazing results when they join forces with Augmented...
A dangling modifier here, a typo there, a misspelled word every now and then can mean the difference between work that resonates with clients and work that seems unprofessionally produced. Bad grammar can also get in the way of how well you communica...
I have been obsessed with paper--and books--since childhood. My obsession began in grade school where I worked on paper-craft projects. It was fueled at my father’s ad agency where I fooled around with paper swatch books. And, it peaked even furthe...
- Isaac Newton originally and popularized by Albert Einstein When I began my career—you know, back in the dark ages—people often started their careers in supporting roles. Sometimes that meant getting coffee, arranging schedules and running erran...
In today’s marketing model the two most important components are relevancy and timing. How does one best determine what is relevant to their clients, and, how often should contact be made to keep your brand top of mind without being a pest? The eas...
Recently a colleague asked me about my favorite marketing promotion—which one do I go back to and think about over, and over, again. It’s a really hard call for me. I like aspects of many of our promotions, particularly The Standard series which ...
What if you could find a way to communicate effectively with content contained in a short, concise, well produced format that your clients could consume at their convenience? What if they could get more information should they choose, or send valuabl...
Apart from making connections, I also find that social media allows me to “connect back” with colleagues, friends and acquaintances. How? By personally endorsing their skills on LinkedIn. This raises the question--who's really looking at these en...
What’s trending now? What’s the next step in the marriage of entertainment and technology? Wearables. Full disclosure: recently I became a Google Glassware™ Developer. My first “wearable” was an inexpensive and portable way to listen to mus...
265 million people play soccer across the globe. In the US, we have the largest number of youth soccer participants in the world with 20 million young people playing the sport. It’s easy to understand why soccer is such an appealing team sport, esp...
Mass-produced paper fashion was invented by the American Scott Paper Company in 1966 as a marketing stunt. Customers could send in a coupon and $1.25 to receive a dress made of "Dura-Weve", a cellulose material patented in 1958. Dresses made out o...
“The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.” --Hans Hoffman, Artist Photoreceptors—the rods and cones, in our eyes—assist us in seeing the color. The most common color blindness, Red-Green co...
As a humanist, I find this topic fascinating and enjoy occasionally sharing some of my own thoughts about the subject matter. My goal is not to denigrate tablets, smartphones or online communication in any way. There are far too many benefits and adv...
With quality ingredients, side-to-side consistency, fade resistance and an amazing environmental pedigree, I’m proud to say that McCoy is—well—the real McCoy. Sappi McCoy is the real thing, the genuine article. At the HOW Design Live Conference...
In my travels and speaking engagements, it’s great to be able to share knowledge about techniques and tactics, but the best part of my job is when I hear real stories from real people that reflect real experiences. I’m lucky to meet many people w...
One thing that seems to be hard coded for an analog world is sketchbooks and notebooks. I use one and most creatives I know do too. Moleskine® notebooks have proliferated the market in the last five years—and now include traditional notebooks as w...
Over many years the academic and scientific color communities have made extraordinary progress in the technology of color accuracy, profiling, calibration and multi-device color management. Significant advances have been made in ISO standards, guidel...
Not only would this new program help bring attention to the power of design and communication on paper, but it would also reinforce Sappi’s commitment to designers by supporting their choice of causes in their own communities. And, ultimately, the ...
Henceforth, my opinion… Over the past decades I’ve watched art evolve into science in many areas of the printing process. Advanced input and output specifications, as well as guidelines and standards, have refined the workflow process to ensure a...
AIGA has very heady beginnings; started at a New York meeting in 1914 with graphic arts luminaries including lettering cartoonist, F. G. Cooper and prolific type designer, Frederick W. Goudy*. Some of the early guests were printers, of course – fin...
One subject that we discuss with optimism throughout our organization is “The Flight to Quality.” Originally, a term coined in the financial market, its application in the Graphic Arts is the observation that quality makes a difference. Printing ...
I look forward to this being a meeting place for us to get together to talk about all sorts of graphic arts topics. Sometimes design, sometimes print, sometimes marketing, sometimes new technology. There is so much for us to talk about. One of the th...
Recently, I have been spending a lot of time researching the difference between a fad, a trend, and disruptive innovation/technology. I think it is very important, in this day and age of overwhelming technological outpourings, to be able to recognize...
What should be included in a design brief? · An overview of the business · Project overview and scope · Information about the target audience
What to include in your design brief · Overview · Project scope and overview · Design goals and objectives · Target audience · Budget and timeline.
A design brief is a document that defines the core details of your upcoming design project, including its goals, scope, and strategy. It needs to define what
How to write a design brief · 1. Create a header · 2. Include a project overview · 3. Explain the design project goals and objectives · 4. Discuss
By writing a design brief, you're getting the ideas for your project out of your head, and down on paper. This helps drive a better understanding of your
A design brief is a written document that lays the groundwork for a design project with the outlined goals, scope, and approach for the request.
The main focus of the design brief should be on the results and outcomes of the design concepts and visual direction. It should also relate that
It can help to create or use a design brief template, form or questionnaire for your client to fill out with all the details you need to know
How to write a design brief that gets you results · 01. Who is the client and what do they do? · 02. What is the scope of the project? · 03. Who's the audience or
Ten Tips for Writing an Effective Design Brief · 1. Corporate Profile Even if your corporate rename is more famous than Lady Gaga, don't assume everyone knows