Planning for great projects: the design brief

One of the most useful tools in planning a major graphic design project is the design brief. A design brief is a written explanation given by you to the design firm at the start of a project. A design brief is the first step in partnering with your design firm to do great work.

Why write a design brief?

  • It gives clarity, direction and provides a benchmark to evaluate concepts
  • It creates consensus internally about project goals, scope and budget

What’s in a design brief?

  • Who are you? Even if your design firm is already familiar with you, it helps to articulate your mission, brand attributes, brand style guidlelines, and points of difference.
  • What are your objectives? For example, an annual report may have a positioning objective (for example, for a healthcare foundation: the most efficient and effective research funding) and a fundraising objective (for example, support presentations to major donors).
  • Who is your target market? Detail your primary and secondary markets. Are they new or existing targets?
  • What is your budget and time frame? Even if this is approximate, it will point the way to an appropriate and realistic solution.
  • Are there examples of projects by you or competitors that are effective and/or relevant?

These questions are a starting point — the more information the design firm has, the easier it is for them to come up with great concepts.

If you are too busy to write a design brief — no problem! If you work with us, we’ll create it for you as part of our research process.

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FACT OF THE MONTH

The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra’s “Its A Wonderful Life”.