Elements of Design Brief

Eight Elements of a Good Design Brief

There are a certain set of questions that one needs to have ready answers for when he/she wants to design a collateral. A collateral could be a Logo, Banner, Brochure, Poster, Certificate or any other product that the company uses for its branding. It often happens that when a client calls us for an inquiry, he inquires for Brochure design but when we actually understand his requirements better, we realize that all he needs is a basic newspaper insert for mass mailing. This is not the client’s fault – we often use words interchangeably without realizing that their meanings are quite different. Now imagine if we design a 4 pg brochure v/s a newspaper insert; not only the content and presentation would be different but there would be a huge difference in the cost of printing the two.

Hence its extremely necessary that one should give an accurate and correct design brief to its design agency. Most common elements of a Design brief should include:

  1. Company Name, Logo if any and Background – This will give an idea to the company existing branding, positioning, services offerings, customers/audience – age group; international/domestic; customer preferences etc
  2. Industry – This enables the designing company to study competitors, analyze trends adopted by competitors, get a better understanding of the services and products, consumer preferences for that industry
  3. An objective of design – who the target audience is? One should clearly be aware of what is the purpose of the collateral to be designed, who the target customer is, is the collateral for mass mailing or select customers, what is the primary and secondary message that needs to be conveyed in the collateral etc.
  4. Content vis-a-vis the format – The amount of content both text and images, target audience, final print run budget, an objective of the collateral will decide the design format – Size, presentation, layout, media used for printing etc. Hence it is necessary that one is clear on the budget and the purpose of designing the collateral.
  5. Existing Collaterals – In case the company has existing collaterals that need to be redesigned, it always helps if you share them with your design agency. This enables them to understand the reasons why you want to change them, what is it that you want in the new design, use of colours etc
  6. Choice of colours/layouts etc – Most companies do not want to digress from using their brand colours – every company has a house colour – mostly this is the prominent colour in your logo. Most company collaterals follow similar colour themes so that they look at the same family. Share with your design agency whatever things you want in the designed collateral right from colours to overall size, presentation format – the more clear you are the more precise will be the output.
  7. Likes / Dislikes – Always give your design agency a reference for designs you like and some that you don’t. This will help them present to you designs that will appeal to your creative juices.
  8. Timeline – Since all things are always needed as of yesterday, you will always need designs to be made for you immediately. Do not unnecessarily pressurize your design agency – at best this will affect their creativity and hamper the quality of output, Be reasonable, however, do not forget to estimate the amount of time it will take to print once the design is completed.

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