Writing a Design Brief

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Writing a comprehensive design brief should be your first step when you employ the services of a professional website or graphic designer. The purpose of the brief is to communicate your thinking and vision so the designer understands your requirements and you have a point of reference once you get started.

This post will highlight the important elements you need to include in your brief for a designer to quote and create the foundation for a successful design project.

What is a design brief?

A design brief is a document that explains your goals and requirements for a creative project and provides a starting point for getting there.

  • Describe your objectives and expectations
  • Provide information on your organisation and the message you want to relay
  • Don’t go into the aesthetics – that’s the designers’ job and what you will be paying for
  • Provide corporate identity guidelines for branding consistency

What to include in your design brief

What does your business do?

The designer probably doesn’t know anything about your business so you will need to provide as much information as possible.

  • Explain what you do
  • Provide a brief history of your company
  • Avoid technical jargon
  • Give the designer some examples of your existing promotional material to give them a better understanding of your business.

What are your goals?

  • State the ultimate goal of the project
  • Make it clear what you are trying to communicate and why
  • Focus on the results and outcomes you envision
  • Are you trying to sell more products or create awareness of your product or service?
  • What makes you different from your competitors?
  • Are you looking to update your promotional material or rebrand completely?

Who is your target market?

Provide information on your target market.

  • Their age group
  • Are they male or female?
  • What is their income?
  • Their tastes, views and attitudes
  • Where do they live?

What copy and images will be required?

You will need to say who will be supplying the copy (text) and images for the design. If you need a photographer or copywriter, ask your designer as they may be able to do this for you or refer you to someone who can.

Specifications of the project?

  • What is the finished size of the design?
  • What is the design going to be used for? The web, printed material, vehicle branding etc.
  • Any other information the designer will need to know about the specifications

 Provide a point of reference

  • Give the designer some examples of design that you like – use a competitor if necessary
  • Let the designer know what you don’t like

What is your budget?

  • Letting the designer know what you are prepared to spend will help them provide you with the best possible service within your budget limit
  • Your designer will also be able to assess if the project is worth their time

What are your deadlines?

  • Let the designer know when you want the project completed so they know how much time they have and if it’s possible to complete the project in time.  

Communication is essential in any design project and it all starts with writing a design brief. By taking the time to prepare a brief with all your requirements and all necessary information, you will have a document that can be used for obtaining quotes and speed up the design process once you get started.   

Contact us if you need help with a website or graphic design project. See or home and services pages for more information about us and what we do. Visit our portfolio page for real examples of work we’ve done for our clients.

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Cimeron Collins

Cimeron is an artist and designer with more than 25 years experience in the printing and publishing industries. He lives in Edenvale, South Africa with his wife Tamay.

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