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13 tips for writing a great design brief

Updated: Jan 31

Project managers creating a design brief

Compass. Blueprint. Roadmap. There are lots of words that describe the function of a design brief, just as there are lots of approaches to writing the brief itself. The key, of course, is making your brief as effective as possible. The stakes are too high, and the potential rewards too great, to do anything less. When getting ready to take on any client project, make sure you create a strong backbone with a design brief that gets everyone on the same page.

But first, what is a design brief and why is it so important?

On any project, the design brief is your touchstone for project management. In one compact document, you have a thorough guide to all the key elements of your project—its vision and its function, its scope and its shape.

Here are a few reasons why creating a good design brief will improve your next project:

  • Your client gets a clear idea on what to expect through every step of the process.

  • Your team has an outlook for moving toward a common goal, with workflow and prototype needs carefully laid-out.

  • Your leadership can make early, informed decisions on how to spend time and money, ideally finding ways to make the process smoother and faster.

  • Your various departments can identify challenges and tripwires before they develop into bigger problems.

  • The entire involved unit—agency and client—can use the clearly defined vision as a springboard into other concepts, either related or brand-new.

How to write a great design brief

Every good design brief needs a few standard elements. In this article, we’ll cover 13 tips for writing a great design brief, so you and your clients will be on the same page from start to finish: