The Bulletproof Website Creative Brief [download]

Website projects can range in size and scope from simple landing pages with one CTA to massive enterprise websites with a sitemap that can overwhelm even your best UX designer. So naturally, writing website creative briefs can range from super-simple to very complex. But no matter the size of your project, your website creative briefing process is critical for making sure your creative team and client are all on the same page.

Starting with a good creative brief template is key to success. If you don’t already have one you love working with, we’ve included a link to our free downloadable website creative brief. Here are some key considerations when filling out your next website creative brief.

What Is A Website Creative Brief?

A website design creative brief consists of the necessary information to design and develop a website from scratch or revamp an existing one. Take note that the brief comprises more than simply the project’s visual direction; it also includes operational details like the design process, budget, deliverables, roles, milestones, and aftercare. Thanks to this, both parties are aware of their obligations and responsibilities.

Tailored for web development projects, a website creative brief is more detailed than a common brief. It describes the project’s technical scope and aesthetic needs, the deliverables, and any pertinent design guidelines or needs. A website creative brief offers a thorough road map for the designer and developer to follow while they develop the project’s visual elements.

The brief can be compared to the business plan for a website. The more comprehensive the brief is, the easier for the development team to fulfill the wants and preferences of the client. In contrast, a poor brief can lead to dissatisfaction with the final product from the client or agency’s internal stakeholders.

Make sure the task at hand and the deadline are crystal clear when writing a website creative brief. It should specify explicitly the goal and key deadlines, as well as the target audience of the website and the product or service that the website offers. 

Why Do You Need a Website Creative Brief?

Having a website creative brief is essential for any website development project due to several reasons:

Shorten Time

The website creative brief contains a wealth of information that will make creative teams more productive. For instance, a graphic designer won’t have to inquire about (and await a response to) which fonts a client utilizes for all branded products midway through a project if it is already specified in the creative brief.

Increase Responsibility

Clarifying the roles of each participant in the website brief will enhance accountability. It facilitates a mutual understanding of expectations, deliverables, and timelines between the client and the agency. Both parties can easily view timeframes for interim and final deliverables as well as who is accountable for particular tasks. 

Take The Unexpected Into Account

Sometimes, especially when a project has a long timetable, the customer’s priorities may change, new stakeholders may be involved, and goals may shift. In this case, revise the creative brief to address the effects of changing goals, add demands, or give new instructions on delivery timelines. This openness helps prevent misunderstandings and maintains project boundaries. 

Speed Up The Approval Process

Ideally, a website creative brief provides direction to guarantee the project is completed accurately and to the required standards. Teams will therefore spend less time on the revision and feedback cycle. The creative brief also explains to clients how the review and approval procedure works and how their prompt response contributes to your deadline-meeting objectives. 

Streamline The Processes

Once you’ve written your first website creative brief, you can use it as a template for future ones. This practice boosts the efficiency of your processes by establishing a consistent and predictable framework.

Best Practices to Write Your Next Website Creative Brief

Discover Needs

You have a potential customer. They’ve been on the phone with you to discuss their general needs. They might want a website design or a mobile app development. While they might have an overall idea of what they want, their vision may not be fully formed. 

In this step, you get the opportunity to learn more about their project and challenges, as well as to persuade them about the most effective solution and how you intend to put it into practice.

Consider the Scope

Because website projects can range so much in scope, it’s important to review the size and budget of your project before you get started on the creative brief. Some clients don’t have a solid understanding of the work that goes into building a website, so if they’ve agreed on a simple templated design but begin requesting custom animations and interactive features, you’ll need to pull back on the creative reins pretty quickly. (Looking for advice? We have an article for how to effectively say “no” to clients without offending anyone or losing business.)

While outlining the budget and scope of a new website, you should have already covered a lot of the basic groundwork for how many features and custom designs will be involved in the project. But to avoid the creative briefing session turning into a runaway “let’s make all the things interactive!” session, come prepared with a rock-solid understanding of your project’s scope.

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Know The Target Audience

Spend some time determining the target audience of the website. Identifying the ideal customers is essential for creating a website that can attract and connect with these folks. To do that, you must determine the psychographics and demographics of the target audience by answering the following questions:

  • Customer motivations: What drives the target audience to engage with the website?
  • Discovery process: How does the intended audience find the website?
  • Brand recognition: How well-known is the brand or website to them?
  • Membership: Are there specific sections or items of the website that are exclusively available to members?

Know the Key Creatives

Some websites are very design-focused, whereas others are far more copy-heavy (and of course, many are both). Before starting a briefing session with your client, understand who the key creatives are on your project.

Although it’s all connected, your UX team will have different needs and questions than your graphic designers, and your copywriters and content strategists will be asking for something else entirely. While project continuity will require everyone to collaborate, it’s important to make sure you understand the different needs of each creative department within your project team. More often than not, your creatives will be happy to help outline the types of information they’re looking for.

Include The Website Budget 

The price of website development is a crucial element of the brief. It indicates the cost limitations, which affects the project’s overall scope and the technologies to develop the site, among other things. 

For instance, if you have a small budget, your website can be a little simpler and rely more on templates. This could entail utilizing a website builder or pre-built content management system (CMS). Your staff can, however, devote time to complicated design or advanced services, such as custom-built solutions, provided you have enough financial resources for them.

Ask the Right Questions

When working in a web development project, communication is crucial. The purpose of the website creative brief is to effectively convey the client’s requirements to your creative team. If your creative brief fails to deliver the exact meaning, the client is likely to receive something different from what they had requested.

Once you understand what your creatives need to know, it’s time to outline the right questions to ask. Offering the right prompts can help uncover creative insights into what your client wants to convey, but asking the wrong questions can result in uninspired briefs that don’t dig deep enough to prepare your creatives for a successful project.

Beyond the necessary need-to-know information that goes into a creative brief, you’ll want to be prepared to ask questions about the flow of the website, the tone and key messaging of the copy, and the call to action for each page.

Avoid using ambiguous, wordy statements, and speak in plain terms instead. Keep in mind that conveying the proper message is the purpose of the creative brief. Reserve your excellent vocabulary and storytelling abilities for the actual creative work, as the brief should prioritize clarity and concise communication.

Use Technical Specifications 

Technical needs include measurable criteria, due dates, and information about the editing process. If there’re additional resources that the creative team might find helpful but don’t fit within one to two pages of the brief, you can insert relevant links instead. 

You can tell the team your expectations outside of the creative work by providing technical needs. Involving the entire project team makes communication easier on both ends. If you are upfront about the procedures and delivery expectations, you’ll be more likely to receive a better result.

Review and Refine

After a project wraps, take a moment to look back at your creative brief and review how accurate it was. Creative briefs will never be perfect because projects change and grow organically throughout the creative process. But ideally, you should be able to look back at your original brief and see how it lead your creatives to a successful end result. If not, you’re still missing something in your briefing session. It’s an ongoing learning process for even the most skilled project managers, but the important thing is to continuously review your completed projects and refine your future processes.

It takes time to develop a solid set of creative briefs that work for your creative and account teams. Get started with our free downloadable website design brief. Use our template as a guideline and adjust as necessary.

While a creative brief is often created by one person, the finest briefs are run by clients or team members for feedback before final approval. Before beginning the project, this is a valuable opportunity to make sure everyone is aware of the dates, costs, and objectives, thus improving alignment and clarity.

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