Step-by-step formula for great design

Creative projects always benefit from the application of logic. Whether you are an experienced brief writer or a first-time novice, we have put together a set of key pointers to help you define your creative brief.

Even if you have worked with an agency before, you might still be communicating with someone who hasn’t worked with you or your company. Following our tried and tested formula for writing a creative brief could help you to communicate more clearly, enabling your creative team to deliver the results you need.

i. Who are we?
ii. What do we do?
iii. How do we do it?

Just a few lines will provide the designer with a helpful starting point. 

Invite the agency to meet at your premises. This allows them to get a feel for your business. If you are selling a product, let them see it, test it out and understand it. The more your designer understands you and your business, the easier it will be for them to develop ideas.

What is your goal? What is it you want to tell people – what do you want your audience to know or do? Do you want to increase awareness of your business or product? Do you want to increase sales? Are you keen to change perceptions? All of these goals require a different approach or solution.

Set a deadline but be realistic. Allow the agency time to research, develop, and present ideas and allow yourself some space to review and consider those ideas so that you can provide constructive feedback.

Set out who you want to target. What is the age of your audience? What do they do? Remember a teenage audience is very different from the 50-plus market and knowing this is key to helping your designer to deliver the best solution.

Provide the designer with as much information about your market as possible. Point out your competitors. If your competitors have produced work you like, show them examples and highlight anything you don’t like.

Do brand guidelines already exist? Communicate how creative you want the designers to be. Are there any limitations? Should particular colours be used or avoided?

Is the copy ready or do you need help with copywriting? Do you have imagery we can work with or do you require new photography or illustrations?

Start with a rough idea about what you want the finished item to look like.

  • What’s the format?
  • What size should it be?
  • How many pages?
  • How many colours?
  • Any finishes?
  • How many do you want to print?

Some of the answers may be suggested by the designer but give some thought to these issues before you submit the brief. Find examples of what you like and don’t like and discuss these at the briefing stage.

Be clear about the budget from the start – this will help the designer to tailor the solution accordingly. Be realistic. If you only have a small budget to work with then be prepared to make sacrifices on size, finish and quantities.

Think about the longevity of the piece. Is this part of a seasonal campaign or will it be evergreen? Design can work just at the moment or can be timeless. If you have a timescale for the piece, this can be factored into the solution.

Don’t hold back – share any thoughts and concerns and always be honest and frank from the first stage of proposals onwards. The more we know, the better job we can do. If it doesn’t feel right, simply tell us and we can re-think the concept. The whole process is a collaboration between both you and the design team, and together we can deliver a solution that makes everyone happy.

Looking for a fresh approach?

Our friendly and approachable agencypds team would love to have an informal chat about your next project, or if you are ready for a fresh approach to your next brief, arrange a call to get started.