What is a design brief, why do you need it and how do you go about creating one? We know this task can be daunting – we’ve done it ourselves when outsourcing. Read why a design brief is so important then follow our six step guide.

Why is a design brief important?

When choosing a designer you might take many factors into account. Some obvious ones might be:

  • You lIke the work in their portfolio
  • You’ve worked with them before
  • Someone you respect has used them, or recommended them
  • They are physically located close to you
  • They speak your language (literally)!
  • They are within your budget
  • Their site/social media gives you a good feeling about their work ethic

But when you make contact you might be surprised at the amount of work you need to do just to get them started. The reason for this is simple:

Yes, a designer can create a design without pointers or directed inspiration. But the resulting design has little chance of being what YOU wanted.

This results in a few outcomes:

  1. You are disappointed in the first draft and start to have reservations
  2. You may feel guilty at having to negatively critique a designers work
  3. The designer has wasted some time and effort that could have been better used on your project
  4. The designer might love the design they created and be upset at the critique!

Points 2 & 4 are a reality in the design world, but at Kestrel Design we’d like to make it clear: negative feedback is a GREAT thing. When we receive it we can get closer to exactly what the client wants, and we can do that quicker! NEVER hesitate to tell us what you don’t like.

That being said how do we avoid first drafts being way off what you, the client, wants? By asking you to create a design brief for us. The more detailed and precise a design brief is, the closer the resulting first drafts will be. Don’t worry about curbing creativity as designers learn to work magic within, and because of, constraints.

So let’s work to build a GREAT design brief.

Step 1.
Briefly describe what it is we’re designing.

Step 2.
Tell us who your target audience is, who they might admire, what feelings are important to them and what their focus might be.

Step 3.
Tell us why your product/service/company etc is special versus your competition.

Step 4.
Tell us of any ideas you already had in mind. This could be colour, symbols, icons, layouts, shapes and can be as detailed or vague as you need.

Step 5.
Give us some inspiration by showing us some examples of what you love. This can be from our own portfolio or anywhere on the Internet. Links are great, copying and pasting images is good. A Pinterest inspiration board would be fantastic!

Step 6.
If possible let us know where the ideal design would be on the following scales – either one or the other, or not sure/in the middle.
Bold or Subtle
Masculine or Feminine
Value or Expensive
Simple or Busy
Loud or Quiet
Playful or Serious
Modern or Classic
Young or Mature

Put your design brief all together in a document, email or call and let us get to you with our first draft! Don’t forget to attach any imagery or content that you need us to include in the design.

Creating a great design brief for your designer was last modified: June 8th, 2016 by Kim Debling