Writing a good design brief is a matter of knowing what you want. Design is a creative process, and like any creative process it has a certain degree of organic growth to it. That’s a good thing in some ways, but for a business that needs to keep an eye on the budget, it can become a bit of a problem if it’s not constrained by a good design brief.
The design brief is a guide to how the design will be created. This puts in place some constraints to help prevent scope creep and other nasty problems from occurring. That’s actually good for both the designer and the client, because it keeps everything focused and compact. The client has no need to worry about the budget getting over-run, and the designer has no need to worry that the client will suddenly start adding all kinds of extra tasks into the mix without due consultation.
The main goal of the brief should be to define the desired result. That does not necessarily mean dictating the design. For example, the objective may be to create a logo, or a green logo, or a green cartoon-style logo… the actual design is not specified, just the really basic objective of what is supposed to be achieved as the end result.
Having defined an objective, or a series of objectives for a more complex project, the client should be giving the designer as much information as possible to help them understand the nature of the business or what the business wants to achieve through the implementation of the design.
Define what your company is about, whom it sells to, and what you do differently. This way the designer has something concrete to guide their design process. It will help them to create something that is really well suited to the image and goals of your business. If the specific design being created is intended to match a specific target audience or demographic, this information should also be included.
Round out the brief by specifying any particular special requirements that must be included. For example, if you need a specific phrase included, or a certain type of image, or some unique font style, you should define these elements as accurately as possible.
The most important part of all this is that you shouldn’t spare any detail. It may be called a “brief” but that does not mean it actually should be brief. You should take the time to make it just as detailed as it needs to be in order for the designer to comprehend exactly what you have in mind.
Far too many design orders are ruined because the client does not communicate with the designer effectively enough in the planning stages, and the designer then approaches the task in the wrong way. It’s not the designer’s fault in this scenario, but clients don’t always understand that the quality of the design they get back has a direct relationship to the quality of the brief they provide to the designer before the work commences.