How to Write a Design Brief in 10 Steps

Design Brief 101

A design brief is a document, completed by an individual or organisation looking to reach out for creative services. A design brief, in essence, is a not-so-brief document that outlines the objectives and expectations of the project and covers an array of information relating to your organisation and message you wish to convey. Without having a solid brief to back your project, you won't get the results as quickly and efficiently as you can with an amazing brief. DesignCrowd's design order form captures the type of information listed here.

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Here are 10 key questions and sections of information your need to include in your design brief:

Overview of Organisation

  1. What does your organisation do? A business that deals in finance will have different design features than one that works in law. You should know what your business does already, so stick it in the brief.
  2. Who is your target market? This should co-exist with what your organisation does. Are you targeting males in their teenage/young adult years? Females in a younger age bracket?
  3. Who are the main competitors to your organisation. This gives the designers something to look at as well as this is what they have to compete with graphics wise. The more info on this, the better. URL to their website, examples of their marketing material etc.
  4. How does your organisation differ to your competitors? There has to be a point of difference, if not you are just copying their idea. Tell the designer, and try to make that a feature of the design.
  5. The history of your organisation. What have you done before in the realm of graphic design? Knowing what you liked or disliked before will give the designer a better view of what you want as a client.

Project Goals

Knowing exactly what you want from you project will help the designer immensely. If they know what you want done, they can figure out exactly what you need. These are the questions that you need to ask yourself:

  1. Why are you seeking design services? Is it a rebrand, or a new company? If it's a rebrand, why are you seeking to rebrand?
  2. What message do you wish to communicate about your business? Why?
  3. What are your goals? Increase sales, increase awareness etc.

Project Requirements

Do you require the designer uses any specific text, colours or images? If so, supply these details to the designer. When providing colours for a print job, provide CMYK percentages, or better yet pantone colour swatches. If a web design, send them RGB hex colour codes. This will make it easier for the designer and will make the project run smoother.

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Project Budget and Deadline

  1. Tell the designer how much money you are willing to spend! At DesignCrowd we try and make working out a budget easy by creating packages around particular price points. If you're choosing to hire a freelancer directly then be direct about giving this detail to the designer as it will allow them to understand how much time they should spend on the project.
  2. Set a realistic deadline for the project that both yourself and the designer agree upon. Remember, there are many stages to the design process, each taking time and resources away from the designer and yourself to dedicate to each phrase of the design process (Brief, Research, Concepts, Feedback etc.).


If you address everything within this post, you should have a 'designer-ready' design brief ready and raring to go. Take your time in filling the sections out, the more information that you put into the document, the quickest the end result will come. For further reading, I suggest looking at imjustcreative's blog posts found here and here. This blog post is designed to help you think through your requirements so that designers can interpret the brief and quickly create relevant designs for your project.

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Written by DesignCrowd on Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DesignCrowd is an online marketplace providing logo, website, print and graphic design services by providing access to freelance graphic designers and design studios around the world.