Managing Your Projects with the Design Brief

When effectively written, a design brief (also known as a creative brief) will not only allow you to identify and address roadblocks early, but also speed up your development process.

Four keys to managing your design brief process

Communicate changes up-front and regularly - while we all strive to avoid too many surprises, it's inevitable that sometimes new information will emerge. By keeping your designer in the loop, they can adapt to those changes as early as possible.

Identify your budget and resources up-front - clients that define up-front the budget and resource constraints for a project will see better results because a designer or agency will be able to complete their work with those constraints in mind.

Unknown constraints - sometimes designers can create something wonderful but inconsistent with what the client wants. It could be a layout problem or a way they plan to use the creative in the future. Identify those constraints up front and define boundaries to avoid changes.

Inconsistent branding - many companies have a set of established brand guidelines, and as projects proliferate the brand's style can get distorted or lost. Provide this information or establish a conversation early to set expectations early

In his short film, “Briefly,” Tom Bassett, the founder of Bassett & Partners, showcases top creative designers and their take on what a creative brief is and the dynamic, changing nature of the conversation throughout the design process. It includes fascinating anecdotes from brands like Samsung, Jawbone, and more, and highlights some of the common challenges designers face.

Design Brief vs. Creative Brief, is there a difference?

A design brief and a creative brief are the same thing and often used interchangeably. They address the design or creative aspect of the project. There is however a difference between these briefs and a project brief. A project brief is like a bird's eye view of a project and explains how project components (which often exceed the scope of just the design) fit in to the broader objectives of the organization.

Ready to get started on your own brief?

Great! Read our guide on how to write an effective creative brief.