Looking for more information on how to write a design brief? Writing a design brief can be challenging, you might have the idea for the goal of the content and what you’d like it to look like in your mind but struggle when it comes to writing it out in a way that makes sense for your graphic designer. Communication is the key to making any process more efficient, and it’s what will help to speed up your design process whether you outsource or use our unlimited graphic design subscription plans. In this article, we’re going to chat about why it’s important to spend a few extra minutes perfecting your design brief and how you can do that.
Why is it important to write a clear design brief?
Just like with absolutely any project from interior design all the way to what you’re having for tea tonight, a bit of planning means you’ll avoid mistakes that cost time and money. We know it’s more than tempting to get through a design brief as fast as possible so you can move on to your more important tasks, but spending a few extra minutes to make sure your brief is clear and thorough will make all the difference to the efficiency of your design workflow.
When ideas are explained in that little bit more depth, your designer can understand not only the style you are going for but the goals you are aiming to achieve with the graphic. Understanding that means that your designer can work more effectively towards your businesses’ goals, and also means they can offer great pieces of advice that might move you towards achieving them faster.
Step 1: Your brand guidelines
To speed up the entire process of writing a design brief, it’s really important to make sure that your brand guidelines are up to date and have been sent to your graphic designer. Your brand guidelines should include the following…
- Brand colours (with Hex /RGB/ CMYK codes)
- Your logo variations for various sizes
- Fonts your brand uses
- Imagery and icon styles your brand uses
- Any other relevant information to your overall visual identity
When your designer has your guidelines they are easily able to create graphic design that is perfectly branded, without you needing to write your brand requirements into the brief every time.
Step 2: What’s the format and purpose of your design?
The very first thing that needs to be outlined in your design brief is what the design is going to be used as. This dictates every other design choice going forward, so you’ll need to clearly outline the graphic design format you need straight away. Here’s where you’ll let the designer know if you’re asking for a social media graphic, an advert to be used on LinkedIn or an ebook front cover etc. You’ll also let them know about any specific dimensions you need here at the beginning of the brief.
A quick recommendation from us on this part – let your designer know what you aim to achieve with the content too. Are you looking for your audience to click on the image, do you need it to drive brand awareness or is it for engagement? Design plays a big part in moving people to an action, so including that small detail can help inspire more design ideas.
As an example brief for a social media graphic you might write…
” This brief is for a social media graphic to be used on Facebook. The graphic needs to be 600 x 600 pixels. We’re aiming to direct our audience to our website’s blog with this graphic! ”
Step 3: Explaining your design vision
This step doesn’t need to be confusing, explaining your design vision just means letting the designer know what you envision when you think of your graphic. Do you see it using a lot of bold colours, iconography and imagery? Let your designer know! Whilst it’s great if you know exactly how you’d like your design to be laid out, we know it’s not always possible to plan to that much detail. If you are open to the designer using their own experience to combine all the design elements you’ve mentioned, just let them know the overall style and information that needs to be included.
So for example if it was a design brief for a social media graphic you could say…
“This social media graphic should use abstract shapes in the background and a simple, flat icon that represents the concept of ‘saving money and time.’ We think the copy should be aligned in the centre of the graphic, and we want to keep it overall as a minimal design.”
Step 4: The details
Your designer will also want to know if you have any specific imagery, fonts and colours in mind that you want to use in your graphic. This is an important step since it’s the bit that will help to align you and your designer fully. If you have any specific imagery that you want to be used, like a behind-the-scenes picture of your team you’d like to be incorporated or a font pairing you’d like to use, let your designer know. If it’s a brand colour you can refer to your brand guidelines, but if it’s another colour you’d like to use it’s really helpful to let them know the hex code of the shade you’re thinking of. If you’re not entirely sure but have an idea you’d like to communicate, you can use a tool like Coolors.co to come up with a colour palette and collect the necessary codes from there.
For our example of the social media graphic brief, here’s what you might write…
“We want to use the font Helvetica for the main copy in this graphic, and use a lighter font weight for any body copy. For the abstract shapes in the background please refer to our brand guidelines for the complimentary colours to our logo. We’d like the flat icon in the graphic to be kept white. We don’t have the icon needed for the design already, so we’d like you to source an icon that fits the brief please.”
Step 5: The deadline
At Design Cloud we’ll work through the tickets in your design queue every business day, but letting your designer know your deadlines is still a key part of the brief. We ask our clients to make sure that the tickets in your queue are prioritised so that your designer is working on the most important project at all times, but knowing your deadlines will make sure that your designer can flag up if there might be any issues in your queue.
Turnaround times at Design Cloud are measured based on the complexity of your design, so by including the deadline of your brief our designers can flag up if there might be any challenges with time.
For our example brief, you might write…
“This social media graphic is scheduled to go out on the 10th November.”
The final design brief
So, putting all those steps together, here’s the final brief…
“This brief is for a social media graphic to be used on Facebook. The graphic needs to be 600 x 600 pixels. We’re aiming to direct our audience to our website’s blog with this graphic! This social media graphic should use abstract shapes in the background and a simple, flat icon that represents the concept of ‘saving money and time.’ We think the copy should be aligned in the centre of the graphic, and we want to keep it overall as a minimal design.
We want to use the font Helvetica for the main copy in this graphic, and use a lighter font weight for any body copy. For the abstract shapes in the background please refer to our brand guidelines for the complimentary colours to our logo. We’d like the flat icon in the graphic to be kept white. We don’t have the icon needed for the design already, so we’d like you to source an icon that fits the brief please.
This social media graphic is scheduled to go out on the 10th November.”
By using a few extra lines to explain your design vision in that little bit more depth, you’ll notice a more streamlined design workflow whether you are outsourcing or working with a designer on your team. If you’re working with a dedicated designer from Design Cloud, a detailed brief can help speed up your turnaround times and will help your designer get to know your brand even faster.