What is a Design Brief? Understanding and Writing One for Your Project

Design briefs are a critical step in the design process, and one that many designers and clients don’t take seriously. This article will show you how to write an effective design brief so you can get your project started on the right foot.

What is a Design Brief? Understanding and Writing One for Your Project

Design briefs are a critical step in the design process, and one that many designers and clients don’t take seriously. This article will show you how to write an effective design brief so you can get your project started on the right foot.

Design briefs: what is it?

A design brief is a document which describes all of the requirements for a project before starting work.

It should include detailed information about what needs to be done by whom, when, where, how much it costs, who pays for it etc., as well as any other important details like copyright or confidentiality agreements.

Who should write a design brief?

The design brief is usually created by clients who want to work with a designer or agency. Designers and agencies might get involved in the process too, if they’re not already aware of what needs to be done before starting work.

Since it's shared between everyone participating on the project, it should be written from an objective point of view.

However, only the client can truly know what their business goals and requirements are. If you’re hiring an agency or freelancer for your project - make sure that all of your expectations are included in the brief.

Purpose of a design brief

Design briefs are a critical step in the design process, and one that many designers and clients don’t take seriously.

A design brief helps both parties set their budgets, schedules, communication channels etc., as well as better understanding their target audience.

Remember to always use a professional tone - even if it's an informal document.This article will show you how to write an effective design brief so you can get your project started on the right foot.

Anatomy of Design Briefs

Now that you know what a design brief is, let’s take a closer look at the different sections it might include. Here are some questions to ask when writing one:

1. What kind of project is this?

What business goals does your client want to achieve with it? For example, if they're launching an e-commerce store, the design brief should include its direct goals for example “increase revenue” or "expand to new markets"

2. Who is the target audience?

It's also important to understand who your client wants their product or service to be used by. For example, if they're launching a restaurant app - are they targeting regular customers or tourists?

3. What is the timeline for this project?

Including a detailed schedule of deadlines and milestones will help everyone stay on track.

It's also important to specify whether you're working with fixed prices, hourly rates etc., as well as other possible costs that may arise during the process. The more information your client provides upfront - the better.

4. What is your budget for this project?

Costs can have a big impact on how you work - so it's important to include them from the start before any work begins.

In addition, specifying what aspects of design are included in that fee and which aren’t will help avoid confusion later down the line.

5. What resources do you have?

It's also helpful to include any materials and assets you already know about. For example, if your client has a logo or some other existing branding material - it should be included in the brief as well so you don't reinvent the wheel.

Plus, since every designer works differently depending on their process and priorities - it's important to know what your client is expecting from them.

6. How can they help you?

Finally, make sure that you specify any work or support the designer or agency will provide during and after this project.

For example, how frequently they'll check in on their progress etc., as well as details like if they're available for phone calls, email etc., if the client needs any help with anything else like copywriting or strategy.

How to write a good design brief?

1. Initiate with the overview of the project

A good design brief  starts with an introduction that provides the context for what you're about to read. Starting off by clearly defining what your project is and why it's important will give everyone a better idea of how they can help achieve its goals.

The next step is including all of the essential details from every stage of the project. However, keep in mind that the order of these sections can vary depending on your client's needs and processes - so feel free to rearrange this step as necessary when writing a design brief for them.

Don't forget to include relevant information about who you're designing for and what resources you already have at your disposal.

For example, if you know that your client already has a logo or some other branding material - it's good to mention it in the brief and let them know exactly where they can find this information.

2. Explain the Scope of the project

The Scope of the project is an extremely important part of any design brief. It should include every work related to this particular assignment so make sure that you've covered all aspects before moving on.

It is an important aspect for the both the  designer and the client because it helps them stay on track with what needs to be achieved, while avoiding any misunderstandings or mistakes.

Indicate your goals to specify where exactly you want this project to lead. Including a brief description of the objectives and target audiences will help everyone work in the same direction towards achieving them together.

3. Insights about Target Audience

Identifying the target audience is crucial for any project. It will help you understand who your client aims to reach with this design, which in return provides a better understanding of what they need and expect from it.

In some cases, someone in the company might already have drafted personas for their target audience. If not, consider building a persona for the target audience using existing customer information.

However make sure that these insights are based on reliable and up-to-date research

4. Budget

Budget details should be discussed prior  to any work beginning. This way, clients are aware of your fees and can decide whether they're willing to proceed with this project or not without wasting anyone's time.

Even though it’s a sensitive topic for most people - knowing what you charge ahead of time will help in tailoring services that offer the best return on investment.

As a designer, you should be aware of any resistance from the client as many people tend to think that sharing this information will lead to an unnecessary increase in price.

5. Schedule Deadlines

Just as with budget, a schedule is important for both parties. It will help clients set their expectations and prioritize the time they have available to work on this project together.

It's important to note that deadlines can vary depending on different factors such as scope of the project or how much support you need from your client - so let them know if there are any changes to the original timeline.

6. Communication Channels

While it's not required for all projects, communication channels can be very important in some cases. This way both parties will know where they should reach each other and how often throughout this project.

These details allow clients to decide whether or not you're right for them without wasting time.

7. Strong Basics

In most cases, clients don't want a designer who makes all decisions without their input. Make sure that everyone agrees on what team members are needed for this project, what role each of them will play and how often they should communicate.

This also gives you an opportunity to discuss any potential challenges that can arise during the design process - in order to prepare your client for these situations ahead of time.

8. Understand the Competitions

It is common to have competitions in every  industry. Whether you are working on a branding or web design project, it's important to know what kind of work your client is up against so that they can develop suitable strategies.

Once you understand the competition, your team will have an easier time creating something unique and valuable for them - rather than just following trends blindly.

In any case, it is important to note that you should never copy anyone. Even if some of the work looks aesthetically pleasing, keep in mind that everyone's goal has nothing to do with winning an award for aesthetics alone - but rather providing value through design.

9. Additional Support

Finally, make sure that you specify any work or support the designer or agency will provide during and after this project.

For example, how frequently they'll check in on their progress etc., as well as details like if they're available for phone calls, email etc., if the client needs any help with anything else like copywriting or strategy.

Elements of a Reliable Design brief

A design brief is a document that communicates the needs and expectations of your client to designers or an agency.

It is important for both parties because it helps them set their budgets, schedules, communication channels etc., as well as understand the target audience better.

Conclusion

The above mentioned  are just some of the many aspects that should be covered in a design brief.

Write a design brief that will help your client understand how you work, what type of support they can expect from the agency or designer and any additional information that is needed.