…or how to get the best work from your designer at the best price!
Over the years we’ve been asked by many how to get the best design at the best price. The one thing they don’t expect to hear is that in our experience a thorough and clear brief is probably the most crucial element to curtailing unnecessary costs on a project.
Like all designers we love good design briefs. A good design brief ensures that the main parties involved, the client and the designer, are fully focussed and working together towards a defined aim. A good design brief ensures that procedures have been established, objectives set, budgets and time lines agreed and that any foreseeable problem areas have been identified.
For the client, a good design brief allows them the valuable opportunity to clarify the need for the project in the first place. It offers a means of measuring the results against. For the designer, a good brief becomes the key to understanding the problem and the target audience they need to address plus it forms the framework for constructing a creative solution.
All briefs should be written. Even the most basic brief (eg an additional business card for a new employee) should give the details in writing to the designer so as to prevent any misunderstanding or omissions which can not only lead to frustrations and confrontations but can cause delays or incur costs. The time it takes to write a brief can never be too long!
Ideally a client should call in a designer as early as possible in a project. A good designer will have considerable experiences in creative problem solving that the client will not have. They may be able to offer ways of approaching the design problem that the client has not ever considered.
To be truly useful the design brief should be developed by the client with the creative ‘problem’ together with the designer who will execute the ‘solution’. Both are accountable for the results of the project and a good brief will marry creative objectives with business objectives and thus be a point of reference against which concepts can be tested throughout the project.
First a few words about what a design brief is NOT.
A design brief should not indicate how the design be executed. That is the designer’s job and the client is paying to get the best of the designer’s experiences and creative talents. The solution is the designer’s responsibilty but, before the project begins, the brief builds the framework that the designer builds on. Simply dictating a design or look or response is a waste of money and may not obtain the results needed.
Client company information:
Here you give a short, honest account of the client company. Don’t assume the designer knows anything about the company / industry sector. The client is the fountain of knowledge on this. Outline some basics such as when the company was established; what size; the market; how the company fits into the industry sector.
The specific details of the project:
Clearly state the requirements ie:
“We require a brochure….”
“We require a website redesign….”
“We require a 6 page flyer…”
You may find that you have not yet decided on the format of the solution but this must be established before work on the project begins. Identifying the format is a project in itself and your initial idea of a glossy large brochure may well be better replaced by a series of targeted online campaigns. An experienced designer can often offer advice by referring to previous projects of a similar nature.
Already the process of producing a brief has focussed the project and thus ultimately will make sure money is spent where needed.
In the second part of “The Importance of a Good Design Brief” we will focus even more on the brief creation process. In particular we will look the importance of having focussed aims for any project.