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How to write a good brief

A brief is a short set of instructions meant for someone to carry out a task as desired by the person who is writing the brief. When clients approach a digital or mainline agency for a project regarding their advertisement, website design, logo and identity design or any other marketing design, they usually kick start things with a brief. There is nothing that can make or break the project like a good brief. Believe us, a brief is the first and the most important step of any project that needs to be done well.

Imagine you want your sister to get you a bag of soft red candies from the market. What would you do?

Scenario one:

You tell her, ‘I want something sweet.’

Scenario two:

You tell her, ‘I want candies. Preferably a whole bag.’

Scenario three:

You tell her, ‘I want a bag of soft red candies.’

Now, in scenario one and two, you will be delivered a lot of different things with a slight chance of a bag of soft red candies like you wanted. After two-three rounds of feedback, you might get close to the desired thing you wanted but by then both of you will be so exhausted and frustrated that neither of you would want to reach the perfect situation which is a bag of soft red candies. You would rather settle on a compromise. Whereas, in scenario three, you get what you want in the very first round with the possibility of feedback like ‘These are good. I would like some pink ones as well.’


A brief account of how to write a good brief:

  1. Say what you want as clearly and as detailed as possible. Also, don’t go writing 4 pages about it. That is not a brief. That is a blog post.
  2. When you can’t paint a good picture of what you want, give references. References are lifesavers.
  3. Give feedback that is clear. The ideal way is to take the draft and point out with an arrow where and what you want to change. This is why people draw out their bank robbery plans on maps rather than a word document.

The last but not the least piece of advice which is also a fact is that a brief does not just help the designer create the best-desired output. It also helps the client get closer to what he wants quickly. Would you prefer the designer to spend his energies on figuring out a vague brief or would you prefer him to spend his energies on creating the best bag of candies that you have ever seen? At, we prefer the latter, the rest is up to you.