The Thriving Projects Series: 1 A well-written brief

The Thriving Projects Series

Hello and welcome to our Thriving Projects series. At Haycraft Creative our point of difference is ‘We craft projects that thrive’, it underpins everything we do and inspires how we do it. We also use it to measure whether we’ve done our job!

With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to talk about what makes a project thrive and how we can ensure it has the best opportunity to succeed. We’ll be covering all kinds of topics such as concepts, messaging, brand building, relationships, sustainability, and more but we thought a good place to start would be at the very beginning, the brief.

1. A well-written brief

An informed design brief is instrumental in ensuring that your project gets off to a flying start. It lays the foundations and sets the expectations of everyone involved. For this reason, we like to get our clients as involved as possible during this stage of the project life-cycle.

The contents of a good brief can vary depending on the specifications of the project, but in general, we find it can be helpful to include information about:

The Business
What is the size and stage of the company and which industry are you in? Details on the project team members and their contact info would also be useful to include in this section. Unique selling points, brand identity, and values would be great to hear about at this point as well. 

The Project
Tell us about the project and why it exists?

The Scope
What work is needed? Maybe you require a new brand identity or an updated logo? Perhaps you have an upcoming campaign that you need some creative ideas for? Is it a website, an advert, or marketing materials for an existing product or service? Where will it be used and what are the project aims?

If illustrations or photographs are likely to be needed, mention this. Are you likely to require any copywriting support? If it only requires web content but not print, be sure to include those types of details so everyone is on the same page and there’s no uncertainty or wasted effort. 

The Specifications
Unless you’re commissioning concepts, the print/digital specifications are essential before the project can begin. If it’s printed materials that you need, do you know the size, format, paper stock, and weight? Maybe you’re unsure and you need your designer to suggest a suitable format for you? If it’s an advert, the publishers should be able to send over their requirements. If digital assets are needed, what size do they need to be and will there be any variations to work across multiple devices? 

The Audience
We believe that who we’re designing for is just as important as what we’re designing. We like to know as much as possible about who you are trying to appeal to. This includes basic information like age and gender followed by relevant details about the audience, such as the shops they visit, the films they like, how they spend their spare time, and where are they are most likely to interact with the message you’re sending out?

What are the key personas? Someone in the company might already have drafted these for your target audience. If not, consider building some that use your existing customer information.

The Competition
As businesses, we all pay attention to what our competitors are doing, it gives us an idea of what our customer’s expectations are, as well as helping us identify what makes us unique.

This valuable knowledge can help us decide on the angle of the design project and deliver something that authentically represents your business and communicates your message effectively.

When we as designers understand what makes you different, we can make sure we create new, unique work that sets you apart from the competition.

The Project Goals
What’s the problem that needs solving? Good design solves problems. When you commission a design agency for your project, chances are you’re doing it to solve an existing problem. Maybe you’d like to get more leads or provide a new product offering or service to your customers. No matter the case, there’s a specific reason for hiring professional designers, and that needs to be described in the design brief.

We assess the success of the project based on whether the goals have been met or not, so the more specific you can be, the better.

Existing Materials
In most cases, businesses will have some assets that designers will be required to use in the project; typefaces, brand colour pallets, and brand guidelines. Unless you’re having a complete rebrand of course! 

These items have a direct impact on the design project, so make sure you take inventory of all relevant information and include it in the creative brief.

Existing creative assets can also  help improve efficiency by making sure we don’t redesign something we don’t need to.  

Timeline
Having a schedule will help you set the right expectations and keep the project on track. By laying out a detailed timeline for each part of the project and giving deadlines for all deliverables, everyone will be in the loop, no one is in the dark and it gives us the best chance of delivering a successful project.

The Budget
This section should include the estimated budget for each task in the project. Both parties must agree to it from the start because it dictates the work that will be done. In the brief, it’s important to give a breakdown of the amount for each service provided.

We might also sometimes recommend adding in some additional money as a contingency cushion for unforeseen issues. If it doesn’t get used by the end of the project, we would subtract it from the total.

In Summary
It’s good to have an outline that includes all essential information mentioned throughout the brief. This allows for easy review and sign-off on the project.

That’s it!
In a nutshell, the more informed the brief is, the more we designers know about the desired effect and the higher the chance there is of creating a thriving project. 

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