A graphic design brief will be your go-to guide for managing the project right from the start, as it helps to keep you on track and ensure no details are missed.

And writing a brief is crucial. It’s like a map and without it, you’ll get lost.

So, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what should be included in a graphic design brief to make it as effective as possible.

To put simply, a graphic design brief is a document used that details business objectives, processes and desired outcomes.

Essentially, this is your contribution to the project and documenting this information helps you and the designer to get a deeper understanding of what it is you’re trying to achieve.

Generally speaking, the client writes the brief as the designer won’t know too much about their business. And it focuses on the outcomes and results of the project, rather than the actual design itself.

With that in mind, some must-have details include:

  • Who is the audience?
  • Project scope
  • The tone you want to represent
  • Due dates and budgets
  • How the success of the project will be measured
  • Your competition

Basically, the brief needs to give your graphic designer everything they need to hit the ground running.

Now you have a better idea of what a graphic design brief is, here are 5 tips to get you started… 

Highlight All Specifications

This is where you need to hammer out all the details of this project and is the most important part of your graphic design brief.

To begin with, detail any standards in regards to style. If you have a style guide, attach a link to this as well as any access to digital asset libraries.

Also be clear where this design will be used, i.e. which social media platforms, as well as providing details regarding the size of the design.

Also, you’ll want to include the products you want. For example, do you require business cards, brochures, web banners etc?

Sounds like a lot, but there’s no such thing as too much detail here. You would rather share too much information now to save unnecessary conversations over details you forgot to mention.

So try to advise your designer how many pieces of content you need, which file formats and dimensions, and state how you want these delivered to you.

As you start to write the brief, keep in mind this is an important document your designer will rely on to create things with the potential to have a significant impact on your business.

Give a Brand Overview

This is your opportunity to give your designer as many details about your brand as you can.

This includes how long you’ve been in business for, how big the company is, geographical reach, successes, failures and so much more.

Not only that, but state your company’s mission, culture and values so that designers can create visuals that are closely related to your brand.

Remember though, this is not a sales pitch. You’re not selling your business in your design brief. Rather, you want to make sure the designer understands every inch of your business so they can sell it visually to your audience. So it’s important they know the struggles you’ve had to reach them to see how things can be done differently.

Describe Your Audience

The designer you work with will need to understand how to create something that appeals to a specific audience. But this can only be achieved if they know your audience to begin with.

As such, describe in as much detail as possible who your audience is. Once you’ve covered basic demographics, include:

  • Their interests
  • How they make their money
  • Why they would be interested in your product or service
  • What their values are
  • How frequently they engage with your brand

Here, your description should be detailed enough that your designer could draw who your typical customer is.

However, don’t forget about your competitor’s audiences too because if your designer can see what your competitors are doing to attract customers, they can implement design features to benefit your business as well.

Set a Clear Budget

The designer you work with will need to know what your budget is.

In fact, if you don’t include this you risk a designer passing up the work all together, so be clear and give a range of how much you’re willing to spend on the project. Don’t be afraid to mention if you’re working with financial constraints.

Of course, everyone wants to save money. But be mindful that the amount you spend will have an impact on how and when the project is delivered and its overall quality.

If you’re unsure about how much to spend, do a little research beforehand so that you don’t drive away any talented designers; the key is to balance your budget alongside your expectations.

It’s worth noting here, that a carefully thought out design brief can actually save you money, as it can help avoid the cost of additional meetings or redesigns due to poor communication.

Establish Deadlines

It’s always a good idea to set a deadline, otherwise you could be waiting months for a design.

Where possible, give as much time as you can. And always consider the complexity of the project and the deliverables you expect.

Establishing this along with the budget, helps designers get a clearer picture of what they have to work with.

It sounds obvious, but usually the more time a designer has, the better work they can produce, however if you need something urgently, then don’t be shy to say.

The Final Word

It may feel like writing a brief is a waste of time, especially if it’s only a small project.

But proper preparation and effectively communicating design needs is just as important as knowing how to use specific design tools.

The good news is, once you’ve worked with a designer and will continue working with them in the future, a lot of the information, such as your target audience (if this hasn’t changed) can be copied over in new briefs for future projects.

Check out our Graphic Design services in the meantime.