Design Tips

What is a Creative Brief for Designers? Simply Explained

By Iveta Pavlova

1 year ago

5 min

What is a creative brief, at all?

We get it. You are a designer and not much into writing. So, here you are – looking for a solution to how to go through this challenge called “a creative brief”.

Here’s the plan. In the following paragraphs, we’ll go through the main points of what a creative brief is from a designer’s point of view, and why it is so important to write before you move on to the actual work. Simply explained – no long texts of dull theory.

This post will cost you about 5-6 minutes to read, so you fully understand the concept and purpose of the creative brief. By the end, you will know how to prepare one yourself and finally get the work going.

Wait a sec… We just wrote a quick, improvised creative brief!

Kind of. It was creative, it was brief, and it included some key points a brief should cover:

Project NAME
What is a creative brief for designers?
Teaching you what a creative brief is, in a fast and easy-to-understand way.
5-6 minutes
You as the designer who’s not into writing
Client’s PROBLEM
You are not sure what a creative brief is and it’s hard for you to write one
The innovative way we present this information to you; explaining what a creative brief is in a short and easily comprehensive manner.
You won’t waste time reading long texts of hard-to-understand theory.
After reading, you – the designer, will know what a creative brief is and how to write one yourself.
Okay, the case is different (obviously) but the idea is pretty much the same. To put it into fancy words:

What is a creative brief?

The creative brief is a written document that outlines all major points in a particular creative project/campaign, which at this point, is still an idea and about to come to a realization. The creative brief’s job is to synchronize everyone involved in terms of what the project/campaign is about, what the objectives are, what needs to be done in order to achieve the objectives, and how to get it done. 

We promised to keep theory to a minimum, so let’s follow the expectations we set in our creative brief at the beginning of this post, and move on with the practical part.

Let us say, you are a designer (of course), who…

…is hired to create a website and social media banners for a newly opened high-class hair salon in order to present the brand digitally and help attract new customers. You will probably need the help of content marketers and content writers to deliver a finished product. In this train of thought, the creative brief helps in two ways:

First off, it represents the meeting point between your client’s vision of what they want to be achieved with your know-how, resources, and ideas of how you can achieve it.

Secondly, it puts everyone on the executive side – designers, marketers, content writers, etc. – on the same page and working towards the same objective.

With that said, the creative brief must contain all essential KEY points in terms of a creative approach, which you and your client agree on, that will act as a guide and reasoning for all work you are going to do and deliver later.

What does this mean for our particular example with the salon project?

You may need to add more key parameters like budget, brand tone, must-have brand elements, and deliverables to be included in the brief.

Let’s go through the key points and fill in the gaps simultaneously.

Project’s NAME
(Specific and clear, representing the intentions of the campaign.)
Creating the digital presence for “Princess” Hair Salon
(Who is your client? Short info and essential insights.)
A newly open hair salon setting an innovative approach to each client – a relax zone with free beverages, high-class hair products, free parking, and more. 
Project’s OBJECTIVE:
(Only one objective that is clear, straightforward, and focused.)
Position “Princess” Hair Salon as a high-class service. 
Project’s SCOPE
(A description of what needs to be done in order to achieve the objective.)
Creating a website design; creating banners for social media profiles.
Project’s TIME FRAME
(The time needed to accomplish all tasks related to the project’s objective.)
November 1 – December 18, 2022
Project’s BUDGET
(How much budget is allocated?)
$7 500
(Who is your target client? How do they think? What do they believe in?)
Women, 35-40, with high demands for their style, who don’t mind traveling a few miles in order to receive a high-class hair salon service.
Client’s PROBLEM
(What is your target client’s pain or strongest desire?)
The ideal client does not only want an excellent haircut and styling service but wants to feel special and pampered.
(What solution do you offer?)
In “Princess” Hair Salon, the client feels like a princess.
(What makes you different from your best competitor?)
Relax zone with free beverages; free parking.
(One focus feature that is most prominent to your potential client.)
You make your client feels special and cared for.
Design’s TONE, LOOK & FEEL
(How should the brand sound to potential clients?)
Sophisticated, respectful, caring, high-class.
(What design elements are mandatory for this project?)
Logo, tagline, specific colors.
(What do you want your audience to do after seeing your project?)
Book an appointment.
(The actual works you will create in order to achieve the objective.)
A website design; banners for social media profiles.
Alright! These key points pretty much cover all the needed information for creating a brief for a design project. You can add more parameters if there’s additional information that has to be well-documented before starting the actual work.

To sum up,

Making a creative brief will help you tailor your design to the actual needs of your client’s target audience. Even more, if you have to involve more people later on, this short document is the perfect tool to get them into the vibe and needs of this particular project.

Just follow these simple guidelines described above and fill in the gaps with the key information of your particular project. You will be able to write a creative brief for your next design fast and effectively.

We hope that this article “What is a creative brief?” shed some light on the subject for you. Here is some more useful and inspirational content that you may enjoy: