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The section where we offer you the benefit of our 25+ years' experience in the graphic design and copy writing business.
WRITING YOUR DESIGN BRIEF
SOME FIRST ESSENTIALS
Great creative ideas rarely occur in a vacuum – they are more likely to be a response to a clearly defined situation. So, whether you are dealing with an external agency or handling the job in-house, it pays to start with a comprehensive creative brief.
A design brief is a written explanation – given to a designer – outlining the aims, objectives and milestones of a design project. A critical part of the design process, it is a detailed plan of what it is you want to achieve. It also helps develop trust and understanding between the client and designer, and serves as an essential point of reference for both parties. Above all, it is the chance to consider and question the important design issues before the designer starts work.
So... take your time. Get it right. Cover all aspects of the project, and make the briefing information as complete as you can. This gives the creative team the best possible chance of producing work that gets results.
Start your design brief with a short, honest synopsis of your organisation or company. Don't take this information for granted, and don't assume that the designer will necessarily know anything about your industry sector.
The more clues you give about your design tastes, the more easier it will be for the designer to produce something close to your aims. Expecting your designer to second-guess what you have in mind rarely produces the best results.
Finally, consult with as many people within your organisation as possible before sending the brief. There may be differences in the way people see your aims and objectives, and resolving these now will save time and expense further down the line.
VITAL INFORMATION TO INCLUDE
What is the project?
Project description: [eg new corporate ID including stationery, advertising literature, point-of-sale material, in-house magazine etc].
What does your organisation do?
How long have you been established; how many staff do you employ?
What is your niche market?
How do you fit into your industry sector?
What do you want to achieve with this project? [eg generate sales, encourage enquiries, glean information etc].
If you are struggling here, then the whole exercise has already achieved one purpose – to clarify your thoughts and help find flaws in what you'd thought was a solid idea.
Your target audience
Who are your primary and secondary audience – demographics, age etc?
What do they already believe about your company?
What do you want them to learn about you through this project?
Your budget and timescales
Rough budget expectation; maximum budget available.
Essential timescales to be met [eg dates of trade fairs, publications etc.]
Collect some examples of what you consider to be effective or relevant design – yours or another company's marketing materials, for example. Also what you don't like.
Starting points in terms of:
quantity and quality of text
general 'look and feel'.
WRITING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
It can be uncomfortable writing in glowing and confident terms about your own business. But if you don't blow your own trumpet, you can be sure that no-one else is going to. And if you don't show belief in your abilities, how can you expect others to believe in them?
Never lie or make unsubstantiated claims about your products or services, but do have the courage of your convictions. Write positively and confidently, remembering that your message has to compete with thousands of others.
If in doubt, take a lesson from the big brands – they are never backward in coming forward.
START WITH THE BASICS
How often have you read half-way through a piece of marketing material or a website and thought, 'what do these people actually do?' If your reader is not sure what you are offering by the end of the first paragraph, you have failed.
You may know what it is you do – just make sure your potential customers do too.
Attention spans are short and the more wordy you are, the less likely people are to read what you write. Sentences need to be short and to the point. Breaking your text with subheadings and bulleted lists helps cut up slabs of text into more digestible chunks by:
highlighting the important points
creating white space within the text
making the text less daunting to read.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Try to think as a customer rather than a business owner. What would encourage you to buy? What information would you need to know in order to make a sensible buying decision?
Tell your readers about the features of your product or service by all means. But never leave it at that – put the features in context by explaining their benefits to the customer.
Technical jargon and acronyms which are quite familiar to you may have the effect of excluding or confusing your readers, so explain things simply and in plain language.
You may be good at what you do – the trick is to convince everyone else..!
Bring your shiny new design brief to us at Jaymac Graphics – call us now on 01234 349283