Here are some valuable tips for writing graphic design briefs, kindly provided by Sharon Hayes of Round Box Design. Sharon has a wealth of experience and has worked as a graphic designer since 1994.
10 tips for clients writing graphic design briefs
- Realise that any designer you hire is a professional (or should be) and must be treated as such.
- Understand that designers are not mind readers — that class is still under development.
- Before coming to a graphic designer, have your business model ready and your plan up to par. No design can save any business that is not well thought out.
- Number 3 will allow you to fully understand the goal of your business, the ideas you want to convey and who your target market is for any design.
- Understand your product or service and be able to explain it clearly – this ties in with number 4. It definitely helps the designer if you clarify exactly what (if it’s a logo) the design will be developed for. Knowing this ahead of time can prevent any future misunderstandings, in-effective design or troublesome production.
- Understand it wont be free. When people post on a design forum and expect a design service for free it is frustrating and shows how little they think of the process.
- Communicate with the designer — dont dictate. If you have questions or concerns, voice them, and return the favour of listening.
- Don’t try to design for the designer — you hired them for their knowledge and talent. Let them utilise that to put your company in the best light possible. Of course the designer should also take your opinions into consideration, especially if it deals with an industry-specific issue. This is still very much communication on both sides.
- For the designer: Do not assume you know the client industry! Each industry has its own specific requirements, quirks and expectations. LISTEN to the client, their concerns, what they want to play up, what they are truly selling and how they want to present themselves in the market. Ads that are pretty may win awards but they don’t always win market-share.
- Set expectations up-front: Both the client and designer need to let the other know what they expect as far as materials, deadlines and communication. Will you be meeting on a regular basis? Phone? Emails? How are you delivering materials? Are you going to be there for press proofs? How far will you follow the completion of the project. Make sure there are no surprises.
Do you have any advice for writing a design brief?
A client’s ability to deal with a designer (and vice versa) is vital. If you have additional tips, or a question about the process, feel free to leave a comment.