How to Write a Design Brief to Keep Your Projects on Track

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Direction is critical when working on a design project. A good design brief, populated with the right details, can be one of your most powerful project management tools. It serves as a guide to the creative process, helping the client and designer to arrive at a consensus on what the final deliverable should look like.

Here are six tips to help you craft an effective design brief:

Introduce your company

Tell designers your company’s story. Include information on what you do your products, aims and strategies, recent product launches, emerging trends in the industry, key competitors and so on. You could even consider adding softer details such as the profile of the average employee, the working culture, or your corporate mantra. The best designs are born out of inspiration and the connect that a designer feels with your brand, so this section should aim to kindle the designer’s imagination.

Objective and goals/impact

Clarify what the objectives of the project are. What should the final design achieve? If there are measurable targets, include these as well. Creative designs often contribute to broader marketing objectives, and while it’s unlikely that a single design can achieve every objective, ensure that you call out the primary and secondary objectives.

Target audience

Provide adequate information on the people you’re targeting. This will help the designer conceptualize ideas that resonate with the targeted demographic. Are their unmet needs or conflicts that you’re aiming to resolve? Most companies have a clear-cut picture of the persona. Make this available to the designer.


Include existing promotional materials or successful creative concepts from the past, as this will give designers an inkling of the final look and feel. If your company has a branding manual or guideline, do include this as well. You may also want to include information on the medium, channel or environment in which the design is likely to feature. For instance, a banner designed for a hall that seats 100 people will look very different from a billboard or a desktop banner!

Budget and timeline

If you have a definite budget in mind, let the designer understand this beforehand. This will help him/her find workable solutions that align with your budget. A company website for instance can be designed on open source platforms or on custom-coded ones your budget will help determine the best option

Another aspect that can add clarity is the timeline you have in mind. To keep constant track of progress, consider adding milestones, instead of just the deadline.

Other definite dos and don’ts

Outside the scope of the above, make sure you include other likes and dislikes as well. Perhaps, you have an aversion to a certain colour or layout? Let the designer know ahead. This will help save time and make you the preferred client that designers love to work for!

On the hunt for a designer who understands exactly what you need? Let our freelance designers know by posting a project here.

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