The Crowder

You've got a new design project that needs to be created right away. So...you research a designer to hire, their company, their social media outlets and their branding to verify that they have the experience you need for them to create a phenomenal project.

You're ready to set up a Skype call to talk about your goals and needs. You usually grab a pad and pen and scribble down notes while talking with them. And you're so excited about the project; ideas are flowing, and you can't wait for them to get started. But what happens when you get off the kick-off call and realize that you forgot to explain a number of important details around what you’re looking for?

You don't want them to start working on your design only to discover that what you thought you outlined and what the designer understood are two entirely different things. Or worse, they thought they knew what you wanted based on the design brief you prepared and submitted, and it wasn't. Not only are you forced to go back to the drawing board, but you may have wasted your resources because you weren’t able to communicate your needs in a way that aligned with the designer’s terminology and understanding.

How To Create The Perfect Design Brief

That's where a detailed design brief could set you up for success. It tells the designer everything they need to know in order to bring your ideas to fruition — and they won't have to follow up with you to ask more questions. It's a defined blueprint for your project that contains a clear set of goals and expectations.

Not creating a clear design brief is like grocery shopping for someone with an ambiguous list. You’ll tell someone what you want: cereal, a loaf of bread, cheese and two bell peppers. You hand your list off to them to prepare for you and they head to the store, only to realize you didn’t tell them what type of cereal or cheese you want.

The individual trying to support your request can guess, feel embarrassed when they’ve made the wrong choice and possibly return to the store for a second attempt. Or they can call you halfway through their shopping trip, but you may be charged additional fees for their time and resources.

When preparing a design brief, imagine everything and anything the designer may need to complete the project. You don't need to answer all of these questions (it may depend on the project), but sometimes providing too much information is better than too little.

When creating a new design brief, start out performing research ahead of your kick-off call or brainstorming session so that you can clearly articulate what you are looking for. Check out a number of online references that you can pass along to your designer in order to give them a more detailed perspective of what you want.

Some design briefs are completed and submitted by the client and then handed off to the designer. But if you are interested in making sure that the designer you’re working completely understands your vision, it’s important to go through the questionnaire with them in order to provide clarity around anything they are unsure of.

Here are ten questions you should ask yourself when creating a new design brief in order to give your designer the information they need to get started:

Who are you and what do you do?

What is your product or service? What is the size of your company and how long have you been in business? How did you get started in this business? How do your clients or customers talk about you? Give plenty of details about your background, target audience, and goals: Discuss your business as if you just met your designer at a party and not at a sales meeting. People get in the habit of selling their business instead of talking about it. Try to describe your company in layman's terms if it's something your designer is unfamiliar with. What do you love about your business and what are your accomplishments?

What is the scope of the project?

What is the project? What materials will your designer need in order to complete the project? Consider this checklist:

  • If you are in need of a logo, tell them if you want an image, a type treatment or both.
  • If it's a web design project, tell them if you have a WordPress theme and ask if they have experience working with this platform.
  • If you want your designer to be responsible for creating new branding or an entire ad campaign, tell them what formats are required for all deliverables
  • If there are print files, tell them what formats and sizes you need.
  • If there are social media files, tell them which platforms your company uses.
  • If they are designing letterheads, tell them if you need editable Word templates.
  • The next important question: What is the deadline? If there's more than one piece, discuss timelines for when each deliverable is due, and give them specific priorities based on the level of importance.
  • If there's an advertising schedule to adhere to, a blog calendar or deadlines for publication, give your designer the schedule so that they

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