Why Writing A Design Brief Will Keep Your Project On Track

What is a Design Brief you ask? My dedicated and hard working personal assistant Google explains it best. She says, “The design brief is the starting point and the bedrock of your project. It states what you're hoping to achieve and sets the parameters of what you expect your designers to do.” The “bedrock” of anything is not something you want to mess with...right?

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The instrument that turns dreams into design product.

The instrument that turns dreams into design product.


Many designers, like myself, use another name for this in our design process. We call it “client homework” for you to fill out before your project starts. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I am doing my clients a major disservice by disguising this vital step as easy breezy client homework. After all, it’s the foundation of our upcoming project together.

I know for me, homework is something I try to get out of the way as quickly and mindlessly as possible so that I can move onto more fun or important things. But this is the MOST important task you can do for yourself, for your business and for your designer. If you care about time and money, and you’re hiring a designer for a creative project involving your brand, your best course of action is to hold this task sacred and dedicate time and energy upfront to outlining the information your designer or design team needs, before they start their work.

Like relationships with humans, clear communication is vital to it’s success. Articulating your innermost desires for what you want your brand to look like into actionable information for your designer to start with is really difficult! Unless your designer is a psychic with zero human error, you might consider taking your brand's destiny in your own hands and doing a small amount of work upfront for an immeasurable difference in outcome. Heard of the 80/20 rule....yeah, this applies here.

Why? Because it will save you time, energy, headspace, and money in the long run. It will also strengthen your relationship with your designer. This relationship is important. It's the person/team that is literally turning your dream, your baby, your business into a something you can touch, feel, and, ahem, convert potential customers into dream clients with.

The underestimated magic of the design brief exercise is two-fold:

  1. It will force you to get crystal clear on your brand’s identity if you haven’t done so already. You’ll get clarity and confidence in knowing who and what your brand is so that pinpointing the visual representation of this will be less like stumbling around in the dark through frustrating rounds of design variations.

  2. You will clearly and effectively relay EXACTLY what information your designer needs to know in order to nail it the first time, not the third time around. Let’s leave the second and third design rounds to tweaking style and not overhauls or redo.

I think there is a common misconception with solo entrepreneurs that getting a brand identity design is part of the discovery process of your brand’s identity. In reality, us designers rely heavily on you knowing who your brand is prior to working with us. We’re just communicating your carefully crafted messaging through visual design.

OK you get it! So….if you are about to engage in a new design project, for the love of all design things holy, download this worksheet, and do it like your project’s life depends on it! (Hint: because it does). The guesswork of what exactly what information would be most useful for a creative design project has been done for you. Just grab a latte, sit somewhere quiet, fill this design brief template out with intention and gusto, and send it to your grateful designer. You’ll be so glad you did and you’ll see immediate results in your design experience!

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