Some of the most important questions in the brief are meant to help your clients figure out what it is they actually want out of the new design. Whether they already have a clear idea or are clueless, the well-created brief should force them to have to think more deeply about the project.
- Information about the company (competition, background, contact, etc.)
- Ideal target audience profile (demographics, phychographics, etc.)
- Project goals and scope (increase sales, encourage referrals, etc.)
- Overall visual style, and concept references (descriptive words to help you with your brainstorming)
- Material requirements (who will provide copy, photos, etc.)
- Deadline information (fixed or flexible)
- Visual likes and dislikes (colors to avoid, etc.)
The questions in each of these sections will provide the best information for us to give our clients the very best design solutions. Unless the client completely changes their mind or answers the questions incorrectly, we will never have to back track on the direction we are taking.
The brief is the designer’s roadmap to a foolproof design solution.
What the brief is not.
The design brief is not meant to solve problems for you. It is to act as a simple guiding document where all of your most pertinent information will be easy to access throughout the design process.
It is not meant to be held over your client as a permanent document. There are definitely times where a brief might need to be reworked or redone entirely due to many different circumstances. You want to be firm but flexible and discern which of these options are best should this come up.
Why you need it.
The brief creates a solid framework for exactly what direction to take, what to do, and the constraints to work within. Aside from meeting the client, the [design] brief is the single most important step in the design process. Without it, you will be lost. It is another key area where you, as a designer, have the opportunity to use words first to make sure that you have a well-described path to follow before you create a single graphic. Initially it will take some time on the part of the client (to fill it out) but in the end it saves everyone an incredible amount of time. It will get you focused on the details that best cater to their target audience, show you where you need to research, and then you can start working on the project in as timely a manner as possible.
The brief should also contain descriptive words throughout the varying sections of it that you can use as starting points for your mind map (brainstorming) stage. This is the stage that will get you to a true and solid concept for your project. It will help you start to come up with words that you will use to visualize graphics, layout, even colors and fonts.