Imagine: You have a clear vision of your project. You find a designer and give them a verbal overview of your project description. Towards completion, however, the outcome is different from what you envisioned. There’s the monkey in the wrenches you were trying to avoid. Every designer, project manager, and client should have a vested interest in a Design Brief Template. If used correctly, a design brief ensures clear expectations, defines deliverables, and ensures every entity synergizes efforts to achieve your design project’s success.
This guide will impart essential knowledge and best practices for crafting a design brief. Ready? Let’s dive in.
What Is a Design Brief?
A design brief is a document that outlines the project scope, deliverables of the design project, and the constraints. A good design brief is a project blueprint and acts as a communication link between the client and the designer. The design brief instructs the design workflow from inception to completion.
What Is a Design Brief Template?
A design brief template is a predesigned fillable document you fill with essential elements of your design project. The design brief template captures all the essentials of a design project crucial to completing the project.
Tip: Use template-friendly when downloading your templates. Additionally, do not use a general template. Instead, customize it to meet your client’s design needs.
Many templates for different design situations are available on web platforms and Microsoft Word templates. The secret is finding a good template, personalizing it, and running with it. You can then replicate the success as you go.
Design Brief Templates & Examples
Why Do You Need a Design Brief?
A design brief is the design project’s roadmap. However, the document’s utility transcends guiding the designer in implementing the project. There are other important reasons why you need a design brief.
Try running a project to completion without a design brief; we’ll wait. Whether it’s a minimalistic view or a highly integrated website design, a design brief is a beacon to each design project’s success. In many ways, a well-crafted design brief provides direction to the designing agency.
Design briefs outline the core details of the design project and corroborative elements, including a budget and expectations. Clear descriptions ensure the design process runs efficiently.
A design brief outlines clear expectations of each party. The expectations are in line with the design intention, therefore, enhancing synergy.
Who Writes a Design Brief?
Both the design agency and the client need a design brief. It follows that both parties can prepare a design brief. However, since designers are well versed with the design process, they are the ones who write design briefs while liaising with the client.
Sometimes the client has a utopian vision of their project, but the details are vague. As a design agency, it is your job to embody the client’s design project in your design brief. Writing a design brief is a continuous communication process to avoid long calls and inquisitive emails during project execution.
Essential Elements of a Design Brief Template
The must-haves of a good design brief template include:
- Overview of the business
- Objectives and goals of the design
- Scope of the design
- Problem the design will solve
- Design project budget
- Competitive analytics
- Target audience information
- Project deliverables
- Project timeline
- Project budget
How to Write a Design Brief
While designing is your niche, writing may not be your forte. We understand you may be overwhelmed with designing and writing a design brief with so many aspects to consider. We breakdown the steps you’ll employ to write an effective design brief:
Step 1: Introduce the business
Provide a brief overview of the business, such as the industry they are in and the company’s size. Proceed to detail unique selling points and capture the contact information for the company’s contact person. Describe the business as the owner would if you met at a party rather than how they would describe it in a sales pitch.
Step 2: Define the project scope
When outlining what the project entails, be as specific as possible. Liaise with the client to determine the scope of the project. It may be designing a brand new logo or updating an existing website. Ensure you include all essential project scope data.
Step 3: Define your audience
An audience ignores a design that ignores them. As much as it is crucial to make a good design, it is equally important to consider the audience that will indulge in your design. Build a target audience persona by considering the age, gender, use of similar tools, and how your design benefits them.
Step 4: Cover Your Competition
Understanding the competitive landscape is essential in every business, project design included. Understand how similar design products fair in the market and develop your differentiating edge.
Step 5: Establish the goals
The most important step of a design project is aligning the goals with the design. Before enlisting profit-oriented goals, ask yourself: what is the design aiming at? The designing agency and the client should articulate specific goals for the project in line with the design.
Step 6: Take tab of existing designs
Sometimes businesses need a slight improvement and not an overhaul of the existing designs. Take inventory of the designs and establish whether they form a reliable framework for the new design. Brand colors are usually inherent to the company; therefore, write the RGB codes to avoid designing new colors that confuse customers.
Step 7: Write the schedule
Establish tentative timelines for each major part of the project. Ensure you do not squeeze your timeline to avoid haphazard completion.
Step 8: Determine the budget
Allocate resources to each project. Liaise with the client to determine what their initial working budget is.
Tip: In your budget, include a contingency fund to cater to unforeseen issues. Alternatively, you can slightly overestimate the cost of each major activity to avoid financial constraints during project execution.
Step 9: Compile the design brief
Sum up the brief with an executive summary and include signature sections that you and the client will sign.
Remember, the structure is not as important as the brief’s contents!
Note: A design brief is not set in stone. It is a continuously evolving document that you will need to constantly update to your project’s needs and after every major milestone. It is important to leave space for incorporating subtle adjustments.
The “Don’ts” of Writing a Design Brief
The following are no-nos for a design brief:
- Don’t share your brief with every design agency. Send your document to a few agencies that can deliver on your project.
- Don’t write your brief in Microsoft Word. A design brief needs constant updating and sending attached emails whenever you update the brief is arduous. Use Google Docs instead.
- Do not skip the budget. Remember to write a succinct description of the budget for each major activity. It is not a must you get into the nitty-gritty.
- Don’t include strategy. The design strategy is best left to the proposal.
To Sum It Up
A well-crafted brief embodies the client’s design with a complete execution strategy and expectations. Your brief should ring true of the stated characteristics. Get your project off the ground by designing a truly effective design brief.
“A good brief is single-minded concise, and rooted in a compelling truth,” The Leo Burnett Way.