How Do I Write a Design Brief?

Jim B.
Jim B.
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

A design brief is a document provided by a client to a project designer, outlining the basics of the project. This brief provides a set of guidelines from which the designer can work while still allowing the designer to use his or her creativity for the betterment of the project. To write a design brief, give an overview of the project’s goals and provide an estimation of the target audience for the project. In addition, clients should aim to include budgetary concerns, the time frame for the project’s completion, and any references that can help express the client's image to the designer.

When a design project is undertaken, it is likely that designers will come in with their own idea about how the project should be done. The clients may have contradicting ideas, which must be communicated early enough in the process to assure that the project comes out as the clients had hoped. That is why it is crucial for clients to write design briefs that can take some of the guesswork out of the project for both parties.

It is important to write a design brief that includes a brief overview of the clients themselves. After all, the designer might not have any idea about the history of the clients or what they represent, which could have a great effect on the overall design. The overall goals and objectives should also be included. What the project is ultimately expected to accomplish should be foremost in the designer’s mind.

Giving the designer an idea of the target audience for a project is another priority for the person asked to write a design brief. Knowing the demographics for a project can help the designer immensely. In addition, knowing the basic budget and time considerations for a project are also a must for the designer, so those facts should be included in the brief as well.

On some occasions, it might be necessary for clients to write a design brief that includes some element of the design, like pictures or video, that must be provided by either another source or by the clients themselves. In some cases, design briefs may even be required for projects that are already in a partial state of completion. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the designer should copy the previous design, it can give a good idea of what the designer should or shouldn’t do when completing the project.

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