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How to Collect an Effective Design Brief


You’ve finally done it: secured your first graphic design job! Now all that’s left to do is wait for the brief. This can be a struggle in and of itself, especially if it doesn’t give you all the information you need. Luckily, both graphic designers and their clients can easily avoid ineffective, incomplete briefs.

Below you will find some of the most important aspects of a design brief… so as long as you’re sending and receiving ones that include all the following information, creating the perfect graphic design project the first time around will be a breeze.

Get an Overview

The very first thing you’ll want from your brief is an overview of what exactly you’re meant to be designing. Keep the following questions in mind, and if you find that you don’t have some information you need, don’t hesitate to ask your client.

  • Why is this project being commissioned?
  • What are the goals of this project? Do some outweigh others?
  • What needs to be done?
  • Are you starting from scratch or redesigning something?

Know Your Audience

Knowing your target audience will help you to make better design choices. Your brief should let you know which types of customers are most important to your client. Is their focus on businesses or individuals? Do they want to appeal novices or experts? Is the audience older and reserved or young and hip? All of these factors and more will help you with your project.

Understand the Brand

Just as you want to know your target audience, you also want to understand the brand of the business who is hiring you. Ideally your brief will have a sentence or two letting you know what services or products they provide, what makes them unique, what values are important to them and how they want to come off to customers (do they want to seem like an expert or a best friend?). Knowing the ins and outs of a brand will help your design emulate the company’s ethos.

Get Some Guidelines

Just about every brand has some visual guidelines to which you will have to adhere. They will likely have specific colour palettes, fonts and a logo, so it’s important to know whether or not they want you to stick to their previous marketing material or if they’d like you to go forth and create something completely new. Your brief should give you information about how the company would like you to convey their visual identity.

Specify Any Specifics

Ideally there will be a section in your brief that will give you all the specific details your client would like you to include in your final product. Having a list in front of you telling you exactly what your client wants will help you know what is expected of you. It can also be very useful (and save you a lot of time) to know any preferred file formats, resolutions and dimensions, and whether the finished product will be displayed online or in print.

Don’t Forget the Nitty Gritty Details

While the big picture is definitely important, you’ll also want your brief to include smaller details. Make sure you and your client agree upon a budget that works for both of you, and a timeline you can realistically follow. You’ll want to know the due dates for each stage of your project and you’ll want to make sure you’ll be able to stick to them while still giving your client your best possible work.

If you’re new to the world of graphic design, it can initially be a bit confusing knowing exactly what a client’s brief should include. Fortunately, after a few projects you’ll get the hang of it… and, until then, you can refer back to this list to make sure your brief is as detailed as possible. Happy designing!

Here at Passion, we have some of the best graphic designers in London. If you’d like to learn more about our design services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. And to those of you who are new to the world of graphic design, keep checking back to see what training services we’re currently offering. There might just be a course that could help you expand your skill set and land your next big job!