Creating a Design Brief

Usually one of the first stages of a design project is to produce a brief. This is something your designers will use to guide how they work on your project, and what solutions they suggest.

However, not all briefs are created equal; too vague and your outcome might not meet your need, too prescriptive and it could lack the creativity required to really solve your problem!

We’ve put together some tips, based on what we think goes into a making an ideal brief:

 

Conversation and collaboration

First up – you need to have a really good chat with your designers and work with them to write a brief together.

Why is this important?

Because a good design team will ask you questions you might not ask yourself, they don’t work in your business or do your job. Questions lead to a better understanding of the situation, problem, and ultimate solution.

No-one likes being dictated to, and as creatives designers definitely won’t work well where creativity is stifled at the outset.

 

Honesty and trust

Be totally honest with yourself and your designers. Some people worry about giving away too much/sensitive information about their business, but first and foremost your design team are professionals. They are there to work with, and for you, not to steal your business model or share your secrets with your competitors. If you don’t think you can trust your designers, you should think again about working with them.

Why is this important?

If you want a design solution that really works for you and delivers what you need, then your designers need to know exactly what they’re designing for, the context it’s going to work in, and whether the solution they suggest can be executed.

Designers may spot relevance in details or information that you overlook, or think isn’t important.

You’ll save time and money by also being honest about past failures or successes that your designers can use to inform what they suggest for the project you’re working on now, as well as any of their other work that you liked, or didn’t like!

 

Goals and measures

Make sure your brief includes an overarching goal or outcome, and how you’ll identify that this goal has been met.

Why is this important?

From the designer’s point of view it means they know at the outset what purpose their design is going to serve. This ensures that they’re following the right path from day one – time and money saver!

This is what will help you identify whether the project has been successful, and hopefully that your root problem has been solved.

 

Structure!

Finally, make sure that the brief also includes the following practical information:

Review and sign-off/approval – include details of who, how, and at what stage work will be reviewed and signed off. Ensure everyone involved in the project has their contact details made available.

Budget – agree what will be delivered within what financial parameters, and what happens if there is a risk of over/underspend

Timescale/deadlines – these work both ways. Make sure you can agree a mutually acceptable timetable where each party has sufficient time to make the necessary contributions without being under time pressure, or delaying the project completion.

We hope this helps! Let us know your suggestions too, and if you’re interested in working with Bureau drop us a line at kathryn@thisisbureau.com or matthew@thisisbureau.com

You may also be interested in: 5 tips for commissioning design from our blog