How to draft an effective design brief
You have a vision in your head about this amazing design, but you need to see this vision come to life. So it’s time to communicate your vision to your designer. How do you do that? The answer is a design brief. So what does drafting an effective design brief mean?
You may find yourself in the position of being a designer, project manager or the client. Either way, this article is going to give you some valuable insights and tips on how to get the design that you want without endless back and forth reverts that wastes time and slows down productivity.
What exactly is a design brief?
Before you dive right into anything, it’s best to understand what a design brief is and why it’s so important.
A design brief outlines the outcomes and vision of the design, in detail, and is the blueprint that guides the designer. It should cover the design and business objectives, as well as the brand’s messaging so that the final product effectively communicates this. *To learn more about branding and brand communication, read about our branding services.
An effective design brief should will ensure that the design is communicated clearly, and in detail, to prevent any misunderstandings or miscommunications and help to create the perfect design. So let’s look at a few tips that will effectively get you through 90% of the way to the perfect design brief.
1. Include information about your business.
Assumption is the number one reason for failure to communicate. Don’t assume that your designer knows what you or your business does.
Communicate what your business does, and give a brief overview of its history and audience.
2. What are your objectives, and why?
What is the goal of your design – what are you trying to achieve with this?
Specify what your design is meant to communicate and why?
Is your design meant to push sales or simply spread brand awareness?
How should it differentiate your brand from your competitors?
Should your design reflect a new approach to your branding, or remain on-brand with previous design styles?
3. Understanding your target audience.
Your designer needs to know how to approach styling techniques to best communicate your objectives to your audience. Therefore, it’s best to make your designer understand your audience demographics and psychographics.
This should contain a brief overview of your audience’s age, gender, income, tastes, geography and lifestyles.
4. Be specific about copy/texts, imagery, dimensions and mediums.
A designer cannot fill a blank space without specifics on what you want to fill it with. It is essential that you brief your designer with all the copy/text that needs to be written up. You should also either provide the exact images meant to be included or specify this.
Provide print or design dimensions and what medium/material the finished product will be produced on.
5. Provide visual references and benchmarks.
If your design can be likened to previous design pieces, or if you’ve seen something that inspired you, provide them. To you, you have already created a benchmark, therefore your designer needs to understand what this benchmark is.
If you have colours, fonts/typography, styling and other ideas that have inspired you, it would be best to provide this. This will help your designer acheive your ideal design.
6. Communicate your budget and your deadline.
Creating unrealistic expectations or setting yourself up for disappointment is something best avoided through clear communication. The best way to do that is to clearly define your budget (realistically) and also provide your designer with your timeline to completion.
Remember, brilliant design and creativity is not something that can be rushed. However, shorter deadlines may impose increased design rates/fees as a greater demand on time will be required.
7. If you’re a designer, this is for you.
Your client usually doesn’t know about half the things you need to effectively draft a design brief. Here is some advice – put together a template like this one that helps create an effective brief. Many design colleges and academies will teach you skills, all except understanding and communicating with a client. Chat to us at WritersHand Studios to help you with this process.