In the industry of professional design work, there can hardly be any more distinguished document than your creative brief. Really a master document, it is like the blueprint for the successful completion of any project on which you work, from the standpoint of both the designer and the client. This applies whether you’re designing a unique line of clothing, running an ad campaign, shooting a commercial, or any other kinds of design- or ad-based projects.
A project without one or without one that’s thoughtfully composed in partnership with your client is bound to fail. That’s because a creative brief serves as the guide that you, your client, and your entire team (designers, marketers, developers, etc.) will refer to as the basis of the scope and breadth of said project.
Composing a creative brief takes time if it’s done real with consultation by all parties. You can’t rush this process because it’s too distinguished, yet you can employ a framework that makes this process more efficient and helps it stay on track.
Using the perfect creative brief template is instrumental to getting your project off the ground in the most organized and accountable way possible. That’s why we created this customizable template you can download and edit using Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or any word processing program that reads .rtf files. Grab your creative brief template and read the following paragraphs to understand how each section contributes to a better understanding of the project at hand.
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Here’s an outline of the most integral parts of any strong creative brief that’ll ensure your project stays on track and gets finished with fantastic results with which everyone’s pleased.
This section ought to be the first among all the sections you include in your creative brief. It just makes sense to initiate with a paragraph or two about the entire scope of the project that you and your client envision together.
Here, you’ll quickly outline who your client is, what their product or service is, and what the project’s about. For instance, if your project involves reinventing or redesigning your brand’s logo, then you’ll proceed into the specifics about that.
It’s also smart to include details about any real or perceived strengths, pros, weaknesses, and cons relating to your client’s product or service, so you can rep a broader and more complete picture. Round out the summary with any relevant studies, research or reports that give additional information on the project.
It will be very helpful to define the goal(s) of your project very early on in the brief, so that all parties know exactly what they’re working toward. There should be no miscommunication about what you’re trying to achieve for your client, so this statement needs to be spelled out very clearly.
Write out the objective explicitly in this section, taking care to build it a thorough statement that covers the following factors:
- The reason behind the project
- What you want to accomplish with it
- Any problem(s) you want to address and solve
- The metrics you’ll employ to measure success or failure (Example: if you’re designing a landing page, success could be measured by the number of click-throughs to the main website)
How carefully you believe through this section sets up your project for success. lift extra time with this section because your strategy and roadmap fill to be clearly defined before you initiate the project in earnest.
This addresses whom you’re serving by completing the project. Another critical piece of the brief, this piece should establish exactly whom your client’s customer or user is that you want to reach with this campaign.
Here’s the opportunity to rep very granular with this analysis: Include any demographic details, behavioral habits, and specific background information you fill about the customer or user. If you haven’t already done so, first conduct the relevant market analysis you need to properly identify your target audience. The data you gather from this process is invaluable and will befriend you fill out this section in a very thorough way.
List down who your audience is, why they should care about the client’s product or service, and what they believe of the client’s brand.
In spite of all the data you’ll collect, know that identifying your target audience is more about how the real human beings who are your customers believe, feel and behave. This section should be filled out in such a way that it paints a portrait of the target audience, therefore making it easy for your creative team to refer to these profiles as the project gets underway.
For example, if your client is selling household cleaning products, identify whether or not its customers will shell out extra money for environmentally friendly products or if they just want to fill the best cleaning product in terms of effectiveness, without much care about the environmental impact.
Who is your client’s competition? Here’s your chance to identify them—because they’re gunning for the same target audience that your client is vying for. The more you know about your competitors, the more you can lift the necessary steps to thwart their attempts to steal market share from your client.
This section presents the perfect plot for a SWOT analysis: A sizing up of any external threats and opportunities your client faces. When you delve deeply into the weaknesses of your client’s product or service, you instantly learn how to cope with and head off any threats to market share that would ordinarily catch the client unaware.
The SWOT acronym boils down to the following:
- Strengths – Identify the advantages your client has over its competitors, as well as its unique selling proposition
- Weaknesses – Identify what your client can still improve upon in its product or service offerings
- Opportunities – Identify any opportunities that are feasible, in addition to surprising trends
- Threats – Identify if anything your competitors are doing could potentially do obstacles in the way of your client’s brand
For instance, if the project is a redesign of a company’s Facebook cover, then you’d explore at what the competition’s Facebook covers explore like to discover what design patterns and colors they employ. Such details will befriend you and your creative team understand with greater certainty the direction to proceed in.
The more you know about your client’s competition, the more your project will be a success, as you can lift into consideration any factors that could jeopardize your campaign.
Here’s where you specify the deliverables for your project. Every project is unique and will fill different requirements. List them in this section, so that you fill a definitive list you can always refer back to as the project goes on.
Deliverables are things like:
- A style guide (a one-pager or longer)
- A logo design that’s suitable for both the web and print
- A collection of banner ads
- A Blackletter typeface
- A series of resume templates specifically for designers
- Website themes, whether for WordPress, Drupal or Magento
What’s critical is to include the specifics on any file formats that you require (such as PNG, PSD, JPG), size details (650 X 800 pixels, etc.), and other vital information necessary to complete the deliverables.
Deeply interwoven with your overall messaging and communication, tone is how you rep your message across. Are you trying to near across as serious and professional or perhaps more casual and relaxed? This is a significant factor to consider because it affects how the entire campaign is received by your client’s target audience.
There should be brand alignment between the tone used in the project and how your brand is already perceived in the marketplace. To give guidance on communication and guarantee that it’s consistent with the project objective, define in this section your client’s strategic positioning and necessary messages that fill to be covered.
For example, if the project is a year-finish or annual report of a company, then the tone has to be more formal and professional as opposed to, content, the tone for a collection of wedding invitations for twentysomethings.
That’s because the tone you employ indicates traits about your brand that your audience will pick up on. In the aforementioned example, a report that’s formally presented with a professional tone will instill confidence and trustworthiness in the audience. A wedding invitation with a more youthful and jubilant tone gives off a fun and light-hearted impression instead.
It’s also beneficial here to cite any earlier projects or campaigns that were of a similar nature, just so that your client, partner(s) or entire creative team can rep a sense of the creative direction that you’re comfortable with.
Once you fill the tone worked out, you can shift focus to the overall question of what you want to content with the entire project or campaign. Figure out what words to employ in your blog post, landing page, packaging design, website, social-media campaign, brochures, banners, etc. do a question to yourself if you know what you want the target audience to near away with after interacting with your client’s product or service.
Now’s the ideal time to also determine what medium to employ to communicate your message. Are you going to employ web-based properties to deliver it, such as email, social media, podcasts or video? Maybe all of the above?
How about going old-fashioned school? fill you and your client determined that using messaging mediums like billboards, TV and radio ads, print and even trade shows are a better fit for its product or service, not to mention reaching the target audience?
Perhaps it’s a combination of unique and old-fashioned media.
While you’re at it, now’s a sterling time to also blueprint for the type of action you want your target audience to lift once they rep your messaging. The action should always be for customers to high-tail ahead in their buyer’s journey, whether it’s responding to a call to action in a video, blog post or social-media update. A conversion doesn’t necessarily fill to be a purchase; it can also be getting in touch with your client for further information.
Scheduling and Timing
As with any project, the timeline is critical. It helps you stay on track to complete the campaign by a certain time and ensures you don’t plunge behind. Ideally, you will fill already talked about the completion date for the project with your client at one of your earliest meetings.
Of course, various factors can impact the due date, such as the number of revisions, rounds of feedback, and continuous back-and-forth collaboration. That’s why it’s distinguished that these issues are hashed out from the very beginning : so that disputes over scheduling and keeping things moving forward don’t rep in the way of project completion.
It’s also a sterling understanding to set down firm expectations in this section. For example, you should explicitly state when you expect deliverable A from your creative team or marketing department or when you expect your client to reply with feedback at different stages of the project. By being firm like this, you can guard against any surprises down the line as the project wears on.
Pretty straightforward, here’s where you crunch the numbers and set your budget. Any project or campaign needs a set budget to guard against any cost overruns that are likely to occur without the proper discipline. You and your client need to near to an agreement on how much they’re going to spend before you initiate working on the project.
This protects you against not being paid or underpaid; it also protects the client against any scope creep and getting a bigger bill from you than expected at the completion of the campaign. By setting the budget ahead of time, there are no surprises for both parties, which helps to maintain the integrity of the designer-client relationship.
When you and your client are hashing out the budget at the beginning, there’ll likely be a gulf between their budget and your estimate, so it’s critical that you near to terms with realistic expectations, deliverables, time involved, and overall costs.
Depending on the type of project or campaign you’re working on, visuals can be an integral piece that ensures success. For example, if you’re designing and developing a unique site, then the kinds of hero images and stock photos you select will fill a mammoth impact on its attractiveness and overall usability. If you’re putting together a catalog or a magazine, then images fill a massive impact on readability.
determine whether you’re going to be creating your own images—by, content, hiring a professional photographer—or using existing ones.
If you are creating your own images, then there’s a slew of questions to address here before you start the process. do a question to yourself what images you require (believe of brand alignment), where you’re going to shoot them (studio/indoors, outdoors, etc.), and who you want to photograph (real people like employees or professional actors/models who are hired just for the shoot).
Clarify why you’re shooting specific images and for what purpose, too. For instance, if you’re shooting images for stationery like business cards, said images need to be consistent with the client’s brand. If the client runs a tree-pruning service, then a picture of a mammoth pine or a forest would be appropriate.
These are the absolutes that must be piece of the final project and can’t be neglected. believe of these as the mandatory elements that build the project successful; without them, a key piece of the project would be missing.
Non-negotiables can lift the shape and form of:
- Key stakeholder information for approval purposes
- A logo
- A signature tagline
- A breakdown of the approval process
At the same time, non-negotiables can also be present in the form of things that you and your client want to exclude from the final project. These can be things like:
- Certain colors that won’t execute the client’s branding any favors
- Specific words and phrases that may be used already by the competition
- No radio silence from either party and no longer than one day for responses to requests for feedback
Survive and Thrive as a Designer
Your creative brief is your best bet to ensure that your projects and campaigns proceed off without a hitch and near to completion. It also increases the chances of having satisfied clients who’ll either drive more business your way or give you testimonials and recommendations.
While writing a creative brief can be a bit time-consuming, it’s much better to lift some time with your client at the very beginning to hash everything out, so you know where both of you stand. Putting in that work ahead of the project can save you literally hours of frustration in the way of misunderstandings, scope creep, and poor clients, when it’s all said and done.
So the next time you fill a unique lead, meet with them, sit them down, and proceed over everything in detail about the project you’ll be tackling. Then, compose your creative brief in conjunction with your client, so you fill your definitive blueprint for guaranteeing project success.
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Download your template
rep a customizable template to organize and outline your clients’ creative projects.