There is often a lack of understanding when it comes to the importance of a creative brief. You will sometimes find, particularly in agencies, an absence of relationship between the people creating the product, and the people who manage the marketing. Messages become skewed and this is where problems arise.

A clear and concise creative brief can be fundamental to the success of a campaign. Without these, designers can experience a real lack of insight into the message being put across, the audience being spoken to, or the things that have or haven’t worked well in the past. A poor brief can also waste valuable time and money, and when working in a fast-paced agency, this is something you need to be avoiding wherever possible.

Developing an effective creative brief can seem daunting, and to some people, pointless at first, but once it has been perfected, it serves a never-ending reward of successful campaigns over and over again.

Communication

Communication is key. A great brief brings necessary people together and ensures that they are all on the same page, delivering the best possible cohesion between marketing strategy and creative execution.  Once you have this document, everyone has the same understanding, they know all they need to know about the brand, their competitors, their audiences, what their behaviours are, and most importantly what the key message for the campaign is and how it’s going to be done. Having knowledge of this, a team can come together and create something really impactful.

Building the brief

The process of creating a brief is also a great way of identifying the things that you may not know or have, pushing you to research more about your client’s brand to fill the gaps. It also prompts the creators of the document to gather all necessary materials to ensure designers have all the things they need to start the design process.

For example, is the designer equipped with all the correct and up to date brand guidelines, asset copy, data, and so on. This will change depending on the type of campaign you are designing for but ensure that attached alongside the brief are all the required materials, if this hasn’t already been done. By doing this, time will be saved by avoiding the back and forth emails chasing up.

More is definitely more in this case.

We don’t mean lengthy paragraphs of information copied and pasted from ‘brand guidelines’ or ‘tone of voice’ documents. Key information in the form of bullet points will do just fine. It is called a brief after all. Here is the opportunity to really nail what the fundamental facts and insights are. By more we mean this:

  • What else do you think will really help to portray what you are trying to get across to the designers?
  • How can you ensure that they can take information and come up with the best possible creative solution?

Find examples

Creative examples and inspiration can be a real help in these instances. We will assume that lots of research has gone into the earlier stages of this campaign, as it should, so put in some time to see what other people are doing with similar campaigns. Whether that’s the concept, the layout, the functionality, the styling, the colours, the icons, the UX and so on.

If you like something, add it in; “Here is a link to a cool campaign I have seen. I like *this* *this* and *this* and I think something similar could work really well for our campaign”. This doesn’t mean that the designer will take it and copy it colour by colour, it simply gives them a way of understanding your thinking in a more visual manner. Websites such as Dribbble, Designspiration and Awwwards can be a great starting point for visual research.

Another very simple yet effective way of getting ideas across are sketches. These can be as basic as stickmen or scribbles, but if you are struggling to explain your visions with words then sketch it, scan it, annotate it and attach it to your briefing documents. All of these tasks are simple, but extremely effective in guiding the creative in the direction it needs to go.

A great creative brief will aid your creative processes again and again. To ensure you can hand over a creative brief and feel confident in what the designer is about to create, ask yourself this:

  • Do they have everything they need to be able to go away and generate the vision that you have in mind.
  • Do they understand what they key messages are, and do they know exactly who they should be designing it for?

These questions are vital, and you will reap the rewards once you sure are certain they have been answered. Once perfected and proven to be a success, you finally have access to a streamlined source of the most critical information that a team needs to go on and create something remarkable.

 

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour

Digital Designer