January 30, 2022
 min read

9 tips for creating a strong graphic design brief

Hannah Macready

When you give your designer an ambiguous brief, it's like giving them one puzzle piece and expecting them to complete the whole picture. A bad briefing will lead to poor results every time.

By contrast, a good graphic design brief is the first step to a strong, productive working relationship with your designer. Not only does the brief align your vision, but it helps to create clear guidelines for how and why your deliverables are being created.

If you want to write a strong creative brief, you need to start with clear communication. Your brief should tell the designer exactly what you're looking to create, who you're speaking to, how you want them to feel, and include concrete examples of other designs that you like and don't like.

Follow these steps below to create an excellent brief for your graphic designers:

1. Make sure there are specific details about what you want done (i.e., logo)

It may seem like a no-brainer, but before you start any design project, you should know what you're looking for and why. If you're looking for a new logo, you should tell your designer if it will be used on a website, vehicle, print materials, and more. If you're looking for a new website header, it's important to tell your designer you may also want to use it on your social media accounts.

Always let your designer know if the design needs to be scalable or work with different sizes of images. If you want the logo on t-shirts as well as business cards and billboards, your designer needs to know this from the start.

2. Include a goal for your design

This is especially important if you're looking to get new business or land a certain type of clientele. For example, "I'm trying to attract more children's book authors and illustrators." Or, "We want the logo we create to appeal to families with young kids."

Knowing what your trying to achieve is important to your graphic designer because it will help them create something that is effective. 

3. Provide your designer with business assets and research

The more information you can provide about your audience and how they act, the better they are able to speak to them. Any brand guidelines, including brand values, target audiences, and demographics, should be given to the designer before the project starts. This way, your designer will know exactly who they are talking to and why.

4. Know what’s bothering you

If you're looking for a new design, chances are that something about your current branding is either absent or not working. If this is the case, be sure to let your designer know what's missing from your previous designs so he/she can build on those ideas.

When giving direction to your designer, be as clear as you can be. Feedback such as, “I feel the curved script is too formal for my business,” is infinitely more helpful than, “I don’t like that font.”

5. Describe the message you want to convey through your design

Your graphic designer needs to know what tone or mood they should use when designing for your brand. This is where knowing the difference between a website and an infographic will come in handy (and yes, there's a difference).

 Identifying the message you want to convey will ensure your designs fit your audience and your brand. Maybe you want to show your professionalism, or maybe you want your audience to know you’re fun and laid back. Both characteristics come with different design constraints, so be clear on your direction before you begin. 

6. Include examples from other brands you like and don't like

There's always a chance your designer may not be familiar with your business or industry. This doesn't mean they can't work with you, but it does mean you'll need to provide detailed information up front to ensure they set off on the right path.

Every good artist needs a reference. If you're able to show your designer a few brands in the same industry that have an outstanding brand message, they can mimic or adapt these for your own use. When giving examples from other brands, provide clear, detailed information as to what you like and don’t like about the designs. 

7. Be clear on any deadlines or expectations for delivery

Graphic designers can't read minds, so it's important to be clear about expected timelines in your graphic design brief. If there are any ideas for creative campaigns that require more time and resources than usual, this should be explained within the brief. Similarly, if you want to see iterations of the designs along the way, be sure to ask for a work back schedule or create one yourself with your designer's approval.

8. Give your designer the necessary tools they need to complete the job (i.e., social media platforms, images of brand/products)

The more information your graphic designer has from the start, the better they can execute your deliverables.

It's always a good idea to include your website, social media platforms, logo, font, and colour files, alongside any other relevant brand materials that can help inform their work. As well, examples of designs you like and don't like can help them understand what you're looking for.

But don't forget to give them room for creativity! After all, designers are artists. Allow them to experiment and play around with different styles that fit your brand's personality - they might surprise you!.

9. Be concise and to the point

Your graphic designer is not your editor. This means that you should be as concise as possible when describing what it is that you want to be designed. The more concise the brief, the quicker your project will be complete.

Good graphic design briefs make work easier!

A good graphic design brief is the difference between success and failure. As a client, its important that you set your designer up with the tools they need to execute their project. Don’t expect them to read your mind!

If something isn't clear-cut, you risk misaligning your project from the start. If you don't know what you're looking for yet, you may want to hold off on hiring a designer.

Looking for awesome graphic design in Vancouver? Be sure to check out our growing roster of designers. Contact us to learn more!

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