A DESIGN BRIEF, 8 BASIC COMPONENTS!

As designers we are not just responsible for designing a logo, a business card, a brochure or website but one of our jobs is to understand the client and guide them in making the right choice. Logos and simplicity not only aims to be a community for designers but a place where even the client can turn for design guidance. I’d like to take the time to explain what a design brief is and the how important it is to include certain information to make the whole design process less painful!

Design Brief Top Image

A DESIGN BRIEF, WHAT IS IT?

Design brief is guidelines put together by an individual representing the business’ needs in visual representation for graphic design and the information need by the outsourced designer. The design brief focuses on the desire look and feel of the end result. There are 8 basic pieces of information that I have found is needed in the process of designing a logo or other graphic design projects that aren’t only provided to the designer and including in the design brief.

THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF A GOOD BRIEF:
  • COMPANY BIO
  • PRODUCT / SERVICES
  • DESIGN TYPE & OBJECTIVES
  • TARGETING AUDIENCE
  • COMPETITION
  • DESIGN STYLE
  • BUDGET
  • DEADLINE

COMPANY BIO

Top priority when looking to have design work done is to make sure the designer knows you the client and to make sure they know your business. If the designer doesn’t know who they are designing for chances are the designer will have a hard time fulfilling your needs and producing a design you’ll be happy with.

Things you want to include in this section of the brief would be the size of your company, how the business got started and what excites you about the type of business. If your an individual be sure to briefly talk about you and your journey.

PRODUCTS OR SERVICES

This is the chance for you as the client to proudly describe the product or services your company offers. This will give the designer the information needed to create a design that fits the brand and visual explains the quality the business offers.

DESIGN TYPE AND OBJECTIVE

You must describe in detail what type of design your are looking for and what are your goals for the new design. Being specific in this section can be the different between the designer understanding exactly what you are looking for or your receiving a design that completely goes in the wrong direction.

Things to consider when explaining the project objective

If you are looking for a logo let the design no if this will be a redesign or a fresh new design and if your looking for a text based logo or an image included. If it is a complete branding explain what formats your looking for such as new logo, business cards (single or double sided), letterhead, envelope, sources files you will need and any other specification that your require. If it’s a web design make sure you specify whether it’s just the overall design or your will need a  developer (programming). Some graphic designers also have web developing skills but if they don’t they will need to outsource a web programmer and by providing this information you will make sure your time is not wasted by a designer who doesn’t have the skill sets your require.

TARGETING AUDIENCE

Describe your audience, the customer, your client and anyone you want the design to appeal to. What’s the age group? The gender? Race? Is it for business professionals? Does the design need to relate to caretakers? etc… Knowing this information will make sure the designer designs a piece that will grab and attract the right type of audience. For instance if your marking toward children you want the design to be playful but if your reaching to catch the attention of adults you’ll want the design to be more mature!

THE COMPETITION

You might be asking yourself why would a designer need to know who my competition is and that’s a nature reaction but this is an important part of any business. Your design project whether it be a logo or an ad must stand out from the rest and visually prove to your customer that your product without seeing it first seems to be the better product. When the designer knows who your competitors are they can gain a feel of what your up against and design the imagery to prove your are superior!

DESIGN STYLES

Now it’s time to final get down to what design style you like and what visually your are looking for in a design. If you are looking to have a logo design there are many different design styles and explain which type you are looking for can help the design get a feel of what your are looking for. When it comes to logo design you can explain what color scheme you are fond of, what style of design your are looking for (examples in diagram below), font styles your think would work best of maybe your already have a font your business uses and obviously the text that will be used in the logo.

Design Style Diagram

My suggestion and the suggestion of most graphic designers is to provide a couple of samples of design you as the client like. This is not only helpful for logo design but also other graphic design projects such as ads, brochures, business card and web design. Just something to keep in mind the information you provide is purely guidelines and gives the design a sense of what your find appealing. Remember you hired the designer for a reason and their opinion as well as experience is valuable to you.

BUDGET

This is important in any business transaction and needs to be discuss before any design work starts. You want a designer to be aware of your budget and limitations. It would be easy for graphic designers to design a piece that would cost far more money to print then you have set aside for your graphic design projects.

DEADLINE

Last but not least set a deadline, inform the designer of the time you need the work done and don’t be afraid to requested a progress report along the way. A time table can act as a goal and keep a design on the task at hand. After all your time and the designers time is precious.

A GOOD BRIEF IS CRITICAL

A design brief serves as guidelines for the project, a plan layout out of what the design will eventually use to design a visual piece of art and should cover everything vital to the project. A well thought out brief could me the difference between a successful design or a design that doesn’t fit your needs and plenty of wasted valuable time. If you have any questions please feel free to ask down below in the comments, thank you for taking the time to reading my article and I best of luck in writing effective design briefs.

September 8, 2016 Salvatore Jenkins Jr. Uncategorized 4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. SmileAfresh

    July 9, 2017

    Hi Salvatore,
    Thanks for that informative posting. I’ve now learnt that designing a logo is not just a matter of scribbling something down or choosing from pre-designed pieces often available online or in apps and which are generalized. That’s how those of us who are not designers end up making their logo designs. But I see a plan is needed and everything about a company has to first be shared with the designer- much the same way a patient has to tell the doctor everything for proper treatment to be administered. How expensive is it to go through the design brief preparation process?
    – SmileAfresh Home Improvement Solutions

    • Salvatore Jenkins Jr. author

      July 9, 2017

      Normally the design brief is the initial process before any design is ever thought of… The price would depend on the designer or design firm. This process is pretty similar to a lawyer consultation, which some lawyers charge a $50 to $100 fee and others might provide free consultation with stipulations.

      I normally don’t charge to form a brief because I provide my clients with a list of question that will pretty much form a brief for them! However for other designers who charge an hourly fee or half up front this process might be apart of that upfront fee or hourly figure.

      Great question!

  2. Mark

    July 9, 2017

    Thanks for writing a very helpful article. I’ve been doing a little graphic design for my own website and a podcast that I host/produce. I’ve tried doing some basic logo designs for some friends and family, and the basics you laid down are really helpful. I’ll be checking back in the future to see what else I can learn.

    • Salvatore Jenkins Jr. author

      July 9, 2017

      I am glad you found the article informative and if you ever need any advice please don’t hesitate to ask!

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