How to Write Effective Design Briefs

A design brief outlines all the project requirements and gives a clear picture of what's expected.

Design Brief - What is it?

For a design project to succeed (or anything really), planning is crucial. Designers need to make sure they know what they want to design and build before starting. Many designers find it very useful to have a design brief, which is a document that outlines all the necessary elements to include in a project.

This is part of project management, and it's important whether you're the designer or a business owner looking to hire a designer. It helps everyone involved identifying the challenges early on and make sure you all agree upon the goals, deliverables, and outcomes of the project. Also, a design brief can help you be more organized, stay on budget, manage expectations, and stay on track with your project.

Design Brief - What is it?

As mentioned, a design brief is a document made by a business owner or a designer which outlines the design process, the timelines, and all the project requirements. It aims to give a clear picture of what's expected from both parties and what the outcomes will be when the project is done. It's important that all the main and relevant stakeholders are involved in it's creation. With that being said, the most work should lie on the project owner, the client.

How to Create a Web Design Brief?

A design brief needs to be clear and leave no room for misinterpretations. Here are some things to include in your next design brief.

1. Who is the Client?

To make sure that everyone involved is on the same page, it important that it covers the company profile, including the brand with its values, vision, mission, and voice. It's a good practice to include any future plans of growth, to allow the design team to set the foundations for those changes. Also, including a list of the relevant stakeholders will help the design team to know who does what, which can be very helpful when issues arise later on.

2. What is the Project About?

Next set the success metrics. To do this, you must define the scope of the project and every deliverable. If the final product is clearly detailed, every stakeholder will be aware of what's involved in making it a success. Questions to be answered here include:

  1. Is it a new design or a redesign?
  2. What should be delivered to the client?
  3. What are the challenged you expect to face?
  4. What is not included?

Don't forget to make it clear who's going to provide the content for the project and all the important features the design must have, such as social media integrations and contact forms.

3. What are the Goals of the Project?

After understanding the scope of the project, the next step is understanding what problems the client is trying to solve. If the goals are not clear right at the beginning, the design won't be effective; time and money wasted. Some of the goals the client might have can be:

  1. Increase sales;
  2. Improve brand awareness;
  3. Generate leads;
  4. Generate more traffic, maybe through a blog.

In order to make sure the final product is meeting its goals, your might find it useful to set up some performance trackers such as Google Analytics.

4. Who are you Designing for?

Designers build products to solve people's problems. So it's important that the product is designed with a specific audience in mind. Target audience information can include the demographics, such as age, income, gender, location, values, social media activity, job title, and all the relevant details. Some clients may not have this information. So many designers find it proper to offer User Research as an extra service, or they can leave room for outsourcing this to someone else. Just make sure you're all clear about who you're designing for.

5. Who are the Client Competitors?

Knowing who the client is competing with can be very useful. It can help designers define what could set them apart from competitors. Carefully examine their business and their unique selling points (USP), can help to identify the things they're doing right and wrong. This can certainly give you an opportunity to solve the issues your client's competitors are failing to solve.

6. How Long will the Project Take?

Normally when a client approaches a designer with a particular project, they want it done as soon as possible. It's true that sometimes time might not be such an important factor altogether. The duration can vary greatly depending on the type of design project. A general rule of thumb for designers: its way better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. It wouldn't be a great idea to promise a website in 2 weeks only to deliver a low-quality product.

7. What will the Project Cost?

This can make or break the whole deal. The availability of the budget can affect almost every aspect of the project. A low-end budget can only make it possible to create a more basic design, maybe using some templates, whereas if there's more money available, the designers can build something more complex and high-end. There are lots of ways to bid on projects, and the internet is filled with articles about how to price creative projects. One video that I would suggest is this of the TheFutur CEO Chris Do and Michael Jenda.

Up your Game with Design Briefs

Design brief can help everyone involved in the project to have a clear vision of the expected outcome, keep track of the project and the budget. It also helps foresee what obstacles you might find along the way. For it to be effective, make sure it's clear and unambiguous.

Délcio Pechiço

Product Designer | Webflow Enthusiast | IT Support Technician | Background in Mining, Oil & Gas

behance iconlinkedin iconinstagram iconbribbble-logo