Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Design Briefs

A design brief is a written document that details the designers ideas and goals for how to face the challenges they are presented with when given the project. I works in a similar fashion to a Thumbnail sketch, in that it relates the basic ideas and the concept for what needs to happen to make the design work effectively. It is something to refer back to and to keep the ideas consistent throughout the process. A design brief is like a written contract relating the expectations placed on the designer and the assurance of the designers ability to execute and complete the project as it is laid out in the brief.

To give someone a Design Brief is like to give an oral pitch to sell your design it’s just written down. The object is to get the design concept sold, weather it is to get the job, the design you want to go with, or just to get the idea across to the client. A good Design Brief should not be just a sales pitch written down (though it should work like one) it needs to be tailored specifically for the medium that’s being used.

There are many advantages to writing your pitch in this form as opposed to giving it orally, for one, thing you can sit and think about the best wording to use and change it at any time before actually handing it over to the recipient, second, Spellcheck! There are no blunders in the message that can’t be avoided. You can check over the work as many times as you have time for and change it as many times as you want.

It is necessary that every Design Brief should answer the most relevant questions that need to be covered before the project can advance. There are many templates that provide guidelines in case of not knowing where to start but the truth is that there is no ‘One for All’ question set or order that will work in all situations. The designer has the responsibility to determine the relevant questions and the order in which they should be given.

The common issues that every design brief needs to address are:
   1. What is the core idea (stated as simply, and compellingly, as possible)?
   2. What problem are you trying to solve?
   3. Who are you solving it for?
   4. How will you solve it / How will it work?
   5. Why should I (as the reader) care? Why are you pitching me? What do you want?
   6. How might this go wrong? And what will you do to prevent, respond if that happens?

When these questions are answered the designer and the client have reached a level of understanding necessary for continued collaboration. The relationship a designer shares with the clients and printers and anyone that the designer comes into contact with is an extremely important factor that is all to often overlooked, but it remains a constant part of life in the Graphic Design field. This is an area where the Design Brief’s affect is the most noticeable, it helps keep everyone in line and on the same page.

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