During my 30+ years of working with clients, advertising agencies and design companies, I’ve been surprised how often there is no creative brief to detail requirements & expectations. This sometimes leaves both parties disappointed: client get frustrated that they did not get what they wanted – and the designers & writers feel the client is just being difficult or indecisive.
What’s a creative brief?
A creative brief is a document created through initial meetings, interviews, research and discussions before the work begins. Throughout the process, it continues to inform and guide the work. A good creative brief will answer:
- What is the project?
- Who’s it for?
- Why are we doing it?
- What needs to get done, by whom, and by when?
- Where and how will it be used?
11 things to include in a creative brief
1. Background: Who is the client? What is the product or service? What are strengths & weaknesses, opportunities & threats (or SWOTs)?
2. Overview: What is the project? What are we designing? Why are we doing this project? What’s the opportunity?
3. Goal: What is our goal for this project? What are we trying to achieve? What are the top three objectives?
4. Audience: Who are we talking to? What do they think? Why should they care?
5. Competitors: Who is the competition? What differentiates us?
6. Tone: How should we be communicating? Describe the feeling or approach?
7. Message: What are we saying with this piece? Are the words already developed? What do we want audiences to take away?
8. Visuals: Are we developing new images or picking up existing ones?
9. Details: List of deliverables? Format parameters? Timeline, schedule, budget?
10. People: Who is contact? Who is approving the work? By what means?
11. Samples: Try to show a few examples of what you like and dislike – it will save you time & money!
You don’t need a creative brief on every project.
It just really helps to have a creative brief on bigger projects or first-time projects, and when working with a new designer, writer or agency. It helps get everybody on the same page – you get more of what you expect, in less time, which ultimately saves you money! Everyone is happy.