We love briefs – the bigger the better!
Did you know that completing a creative brief will seriously benefit your project?
I know, you’re all rolling your eyes. WHY do we have to fill out your long winded brief Bec? WHY all the questions? We trust you, surely you know what we mean when we say “we want it sort of like this but a bit different but not too much”?!
Yes, I know you think I’m a genius and always manage to interpret your verbal briefs so well, but in all honesty, you’re paying me to do a whole lot of ground work and organising that you yourself could do. “That’s fine” I hear you say, as you’re a busy person and are more than happy to hand over this task to me, but the truth is, it’s going to take me 3 times as long to find out what the vision in your head looks like than it takes you to tell me.
A design brief is a beginning
Everything has a beginning, like a piece of string, a year or movie. A piece of string is boring and mundane, and doesn’t call for any sort of celebration. A year tends to begin with a lot of fanfare and excitement, and a movie’s beginning sets the scene for what you’re about to experience.
Which one of these is your project? Is it a piece of string? Does it just begin, look the same the whole way through and then abruptly end?
Is a year? Does it start out with fireworks and celebration, have highs and lows and do you look back at the end of it with fondness and smiles and maybe some regret?
Or is it a movie. Does it begin with a feeling and a vision, then grow into an experience and leave you with thought and emotion and reflection.
If your project is a piece of string, stop reading. Just email me the details of what you want and I’ll probably have it back to you tomorrow…
If your project is a year or a movie, please read on.
A design brief is a precursor for good project management
Everyone wants their creative projects to turn out well, but not everyone is creative and creatives are generally not good at project management. Put all that into a blender and the result could turn out well. It could also turn out like soup.
When you complete a creative brief, it starts to lay out your project in an orderly fashion. It grabs the important information, like who you are, how I can contact you, today’s date and your expected deadline.
It then moves into more detail. What does your business do? Who are your main competitors? Who are your customers? This info starts to paint a picture for me that is so much larger than your voice on the phone, or a new client that I met for the first-time last week.
It then moves on to your idea of how you want your project to turn out. What you like and don’t like, the colours you had in mind, and any other info you think will be relevant. This is the stuff that I drink up! And sometimes I puke it back out because, seriously, you guys really are not creative!
But I need to know what you have in your head, so I can at least diplomatically steer you away from it in a manner that has you believe it was your idea. (Don’t worry, you’ll love the alternative.)
This question also has you think about what you do and don’t like, and maybe start googling some stuff. When a client starts looking at what their competitors are doing, or remembers that they really liked the packaging for their new pair of Nike’s they bought last week, it opens a Pandora’s box into their brain and they start to better understand what they want to achieve.
A design brief has you considered things you haven’t thought of yet
A design brief asks questions you hadn’t thought of yet, such as ‘Are there any mandatory elements required’ or ‘do you have any brand colours or guidelines that must be adhered to’. Remember, you guys aren’t creative, so you probably don’t know that the person who designed your logo also gave you a style guide to go along with it. This question makes you sift back through your files and find that stuff, and then provide it along with the completed creative brief.
This is also when you seem to find some awesome images that you paid a photographer a fortune to take 12 months back and never used, so you email those through also…
A creative brief is a great reference point for your project
For you, the completed creative brief is a good reference point for the project. You can see when it was completed and sent, you can see the information that was provided, and if at any point there is contention over what was said / meant, you have it there in plain text.
For me, it’s a good source to constantly refer to during the design process. It keeps me in line when I go off on a tangent, it grounds me and pulls me back to your line of thinking and what you’ve requested. I may literally sit there and stare at your paragraphs of text while my brain ticks away, pulling key words out and mulling them over. This source of access to a client’s brain is extremely useful when I am required to create something from nothing.
What do I do when I don’t get a creative brief?
I spend a lot of time researching, googling, thinking, looking and saving reference material. I compile a creative brief for you, and refer to it a lot. I build a picture of what I think you want and I spend time wondering, pondering and discarding things that I’ve saved. This is where you can save time.
You can spend 10 minutes telling me your expectations, and then I can spend less time blowing them out of the ballpark. Your completed creative brief gives me the starting location, and I spend all my creative time building you a death star.
Without the completed brief from you, I spend half my creative time finding your coordinates in space, which means I only have half the time left to build you a space station.
If you would like a creative brief, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you one!