The Bulletproof Graphic Design Brief [download]

Graphic design briefs can be one of the most challenging creative briefs to write. Given the subjective nature of design, project managers can struggle to help clients find the words to describe what they are visualizing. Working with a flexible, robust graphic design brief template can help agencies to better understand their clients, and produce their best work.

In a perfect world, creative briefs provide the blueprint your agency’s creative team will use to complete their work. They offer insight and understanding into your client’s needs and goals and help to solve any potential misunderstandings before the creative work even begins. Most importantly, creative briefs can help your client better understand their goals, as well as the deliverables and timelines they’ve agreed to. Once everyone is on the same page, you’ll be able to use this document as a reference point if your creatives run astray or your client begins pushing the scope of the project. Your creative brief should be the beginning step in your project management checklist.

Kick off your agency’s next design project with a killer graphic design brief. We’ve outlined the process for filling one out, plus included a free download of our latest template.

Talk to the Creative Team

Before you work through your creative brief template with the client, review it with your creative team. Sometimes the creative brief is the only communication your creative team will have with the client, so it’s important to invest time in getting the most accurate, thorough brief possible. Experienced graphic designers are a wealth of knowledge, and often have great suggestions for the types of questions you can ask to draw out insight into your client’s vision.

Ask the Right Questions

In order to avoid the awful “I’ll just know it when I see it” briefing sessions, come prepared with the right types of questions to ask. Offering the right prompts can help uncover project insights and build deeper relationships with your clients. Asking the wrong questions, however, can result in flat, uninspired briefs that lack focus. Looking for more ideas? This comprehensive list is a great place to start.

Know That it Won’t Be Perfect

As much as a flawless creative brief could solve all the world’s problems (well, all the world’s design problems), it’s next to impossible to ever sum up a client’s vision so perfectly that your designers will knock it out of the park on their first try. Creative work is subjective and open to interpretation, and a brief is just a guideline, not a law book. Rather than striving for perfection, make it your goal to listen as openly as you can.

Review and Refine

Just because you can’t be perfect, doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Trust in your processes, and continue to hone and refine your briefing strategies. When you complete a big project, take time to look back at your original creative brief and your final end results. Work backwards to develop new questions that you feel could have helped your team reach their end goal faster.  

It takes time to develop a solid creative brief that works for your own personal project management style, but it’s well worth the investment. Get started with our free downloadable graphic design brief. Use our template as a guideline and adjust as necessary depending on the scope of your projects. Looking for more advice? Review our 3 tools for turning impressive creative briefs into profitable projects.

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