The best design briefs clearly outline the nature, expectations, and scope of a project. Designers should be able to refer to briefs at all stages of the project to help them understand what's being asked of them. Setting clear expectations and sticking to them will reduce confusion and keep your project on track.
Great briefs include the following:
A project overview
Start your brief with an overview of the project. Explain what will be created and why, and include any relevant background information. Be descriptive.
How does the project slot into your content strategy (e.g., is it part of a larger series or marketing campaign)?
How wordy should the project be? If there is copy you'd like to include, attach it to the project.
What colors/palette should be used?
How minimal or complex do you want your graphics?
Should illustrations be playful or serious? Life-like or cartoonish?
Given that most design projects aim to convey information, let your designer know where this information will come from and how they will receive it. You can either attach documents to the Story Requirements or upload them to the Assets tab.
It's important to plan who will write your content before assigning the project. You can either supply the copy yourself or work with a copywriter. Most designers (with the exception of full-service agencies) do not write or supply copy. The graphic below outlines the most common methods for developing copy:
Be very clear about what you expect at final delivery. Include an overview of each section (chapter), dimensions, sizing, and specs.
Also be sure to indicate if source files will be required and whether you need them to originate from a specific design program like Adobe Illustrator. See the image below for some useful terms:
Social and mobile requirements
Will you want social snippets, thumbnails, or other variants for use on social media? Make sure to outline these requirements as well. If you require a mobile version, make sure to detail those needs. Keep in mind additional variants could increase the cost of a project.
Clearly state the rate your designer can expect for their work. This will be included in the project's workflow but it doesn't hurt to include it in the brief as well, especially on larger-scale projects with multiple contributors.
Consult Contently's Infographic Pricing Guide if you aren't sure how to price your project.
Make sure you communicate to your designer when you'd like to review drafts, wire frames, and a final delivery date. Include due dates for your own reviews, as well as dates for when your designer can expect feedback. Stick to this timeline to keep your project on track.
Visual inspiration & examples
Include examples of work that exemplifies the look and feel of what you'd like to achieve.
Style guide / brand guidelines
Your designer may not be familiar with your brand guidelines, so make sure you share them and let them know if any aspect of the project will deviate from the guidelines (such as a unique font or image style).
We recommend connecting with your designer for a kickoff call to discuss the project before it begins, especially for larger-scale projects and projects with unique or complex requirements. Much of what you discuss on this call can be used to populate your brief.
Don't worry if you don't have this all worked out right away, your designer will likely be able to help out and provide ideas to turn your vision into reality. You can also consult our Infographic Pricing Guide for useful terminology, pricing guidelines, and more.
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