A design brief is a project management document that allows you to identify the scope, scale and basic details of an upcoming design project. It should have the potential to inform decisions and guide the overall workflow of the complete project, from conception to completion. It also helps to clarify goals and objectives, give and receive input, and to ultimately hold both parties accountable for the final product and outcomes. A thorough design brief will not only allow you to identify and avoid problems early on but also helps to speed up and smooth out the design and development process and timeline altogether. Think of it as a business plan for potential projects.

We have compiled a few ideas and tips of what to prepare, which will also help you to keep yourself organised and keep your design and brand development team working efficiently.

Some benefits of preparing a design or project brief are:

– It provides your designers/agency with insights, background and the foundation to effectively capture your brand or company’s image.
– It gives you a better idea of your expectations to effectively convey this to your designer.
– It helps keep all contributors on track to better maintain the timeline and budget.
– It will give you the assurance of being understood and a chance to explain your requirements.
– It helps you to determine your preferences and dislikes which could cut out a lot of back-and-forth correspondence.

Below we have identified some key points which should be considered and concise details provided:

1. Business Overview:
– The brand ‘feeling’ that you want to evoke. This includes your industry, products and services offered, size of the company, etc.
– Your unique and differentiating brand selling propositions.
– Your company vision, mission, values and general message.
– Key decision makers and their roles within the company. Your design team should also stipulate their roles to clarify whom will be responsible for which aspects of the project.
– Direct and indirect competitors to establish trends, marketing messages and branding success stories or failures.
– Previous marketing and design materials, what worked and what did not.

2. Project Overview:
-Here you should include as much background and context as possible, as well as a detailed description of the project. To help yourself prepare for this, think of “What are we doing?” as well as “Why are we doing it?”

What: Here you should define the scope and scale of the project as well as all expectations. Is it new? Has it been redesigned or improved?

Why: Identify the design problems that necessitates the project.

3. Goals and Objectives:
The goals should outline the overall purpose of the project, while objectives focus more on the methods that would be followed to achieve these goals. By establishing goals, you can also establish what approach to take with marketing messages and the desired outcomes. It is important to determine beforehand how these goals will be measured together with your team.

4. Target Audience:
A good way to establish your design preferences and direct your decisions is to understand who your users or potential clients would be. Here it is of utmost importance to do concise and relevant research about your ideal client and to build an audience persona around this, together with your design team or agency. This persona should include age, gender, demographics and other habits such as media consumption and lifestyles.

5. Design Requirements:
By including these in your brief preparation, you can ensure that your designers have everything they need to proceed, to work efficiently and to meet your expectations.

You should include the following requirements, depending on the project. Your designers will need this information to commence the project:
– Required dimensions and resolution of deliverable, and whether it will be used for digital or print media.
– Required file format/s of the final project file
– All relevant material that will be supplied to the design team (logos, photos, existing marketing material, etc.)
– Required colours and design-style
– Relevant written copy
– Reference materials such as mood boards, brand guidelines, mock-ups, etc. The more thorough these supporting documents are the less problems might arise in the future.
– Which social media channels, if any, will be focussed on.
– Deadline for final product to be delivered or calendar with relevant dates if there are any advertising schedules to adhere to.

6. Budget and Schedule:
By determining your budget and limitations beforehand, you can manage what is expected from your designers and how they allocate their time. This is usually divided between research, design, copywriting, development, testing and implementation.

It is imperative to any project to manage time efficiently as this could have an implication on the cost of the project, which is why a project schedule is very important. This schedule should also be realistic and account for all phases and must include time for potential changes or stumbling blocks along the way. It should include progress milestones that are mutually agreed on before the commencement of the project.

7. Overall Style:
You might not be good at expressing what your likes and dislikes are, nor the preferred style. Be sure to provide your design team with examples that will provide valuable insight for everybody involved in the project and prevent possible misunderstandings.

Make notes on your brief as the process unfolds and be sure to communicate all changes or requests in writing with your team. It could be beneficial to highlight the most important parts of each step during the process.

Contact us today to set up a meeting to discuss your desired project or requirements. We offer tailored solutions and will assist you every step of the way. Send us an email at info@blackbarrel.co.za or call us on +27 12 991 0657