Each partnership and each project begin with a phase of us getting to know each other. What are your needs, your expectations, your goals? You learn all about our team, our processes and tools. With that said, this phase can be extremely inefficient without a good foundation. Before you even meet us, it’s likely that you will send us a brief. But in order for us to fully understand what you need, it needs to be a carefully crafted brief. So, here’s everything you need to know about a good brief and how to write one.

To Brief Or Not To Brief?

Why should you send a brief? Can’t we just sit down and talk it out? Well, technically, we can. But if you are on a tight deadline, a brief is your best friend. If you send us one, we will be able to estimate the project’s timeline and costs much quicker and more accurately than we would be able to do without one. Our team will also be much more in-sync with your vision and your company’s objectives. This means the results you get will be much more satisfying. And ultimately, all you need is for someone to help you solve a few design or user-related issues, so it’s important that the team behind a solution is familiar with your business and your customers.

A brief brief (pun absolutely intended) that vaguely describes the project will lead to frustration, miscommunication and delays. However, a well-crafted detailed brief provides for a transparent, open partnership with a company that will take your current and future needs and goals into account. But what should a good, comprehensive brief include?

How To Construct A Design Brief

Let’s get something out of the way – I can’t provide you with a perfect form for a good brief, because each situation is different and for one company certain things will be more important than for another. What I can provide you with is an outlook on what we, as design specialists, look for in a brief. What I and my team need to fully understand what you want, need and look to achieve.

1. Basic Information

Before you even get to your specific problem, give us a little background information about your company, your market, your users and your product. Include the data you have about your users along with your unique selling points, users’ pain points and behaviours. It’s also important to include some information about your internal processes, teams and workflows. Additionally, remember to include any requirements specific to your business. Maybe there’s some regulations we need to keep in mind, or a specific culture your users come from, your branding or the technology you use. All this has impact on how we approach your project and the more we know about such things, the better we can tailor the solution to what you need.

2. Problem Description

Now that we know a little bit about your business, let’s get into what you’re actually contacting us about. Describe the problems you’re facing with as much detail and data to back it up as possible. Are you having trouble with your bounce rate? Are people abandoning carts? Are people quickly deleting your app after downloading it? All these things can be solved through design but you need to provide us with a detailed description of all the issues you’re facing.

3. Project Goals

Here’s a tricky one. Too often, we receive briefs that contain possible solutions. We need you to state the objectives, what you want to achieve. By serving us solutions you automatically enclose our minds. Even though, we might be really good at controlling our subconscious, we’re not that good. It’s subconscious, after all. That’s why we need to you clearly describe what you want to achieve, what are your goals for this project without any additional input. Remember, that we’ve done this before and you need to trust us to come up with solutions.

4. Define Success For The Project

On the topic of goals, it is important that you include what you would consider a success. Any specific benchmarks or measurements that will help you and us evaluate what we’ve achieved. If there’s nothing to measure the success with, you’re at risk of getting low quality service. Just completing the project is not success itself, our work needs to carry specific business benefits and help you achieve your objectives. 

5. Project’s Scope

Let’s say that you have an app and a landing page for it. You need to clearly state what the team should be working on. Of course, we will provide recommendations if we think that there’s work to be done outside of the scope, but what you define as the project’s scope is what we base our estimations on. If you want to get an accurate timeline and budget for the project, you need to tell us what is the scope of our work.

6. Budget And Deadlines

We need to know what’s your budget and what deadlines are hanging over you. Our team will prepare solutions based on those two things so that they can be finished on time and without stretching your budget. Based on the scope, we will provide you with an estimate of the time and cost needed to complete the work, but if you have certain deadlines, we will be able to tell you what’s possible in a certain timeframe and what’s not. It is really important that we are aware of your resources before the project begins, because it lets us know how to plan the work and ensures that there’s no disagreements and disappointments along the way.

So, there you have the key components to a brief that will set us up for success. The more work you put in it and the more carefully you craft it, the better our partnership will be. After all, you want us to succeed and deliver specific results for your business. And we really want to do our best. But without a good foundation for our work together, it may not have a satisfying outcome. If you have a brief already that contains all the above information, contact our team to start off your project!