What to expect from a design brief


Hey hey hey! I’m dropping in today to talk with you about design briefs. Some of you may know what they are and some of you may not. That’s totally okay! I often have clients ask me what a design brief is, and what to expect from it. It’s not as crazy as you think, but it is indeed very detailed.

So, what is a design brief? It’s a document passed to the client by the designer that helps both parties gain a clear sense of what their biz is about, their target market, brand values, and styles they align with. It can be a discovery process for some brands because not everyone has these things narrowed down. Regardless, it’s an exciting process that leads to beautiful and purposeful design.

A brief is used for a few different things:

  • To gain an in-depth vision on who the client is and to get to know their brand

  • To outline who their audience + ideal client is, what problems they have and they solve them.

  • To get a sense of their style, pros and cons about their existing branding (if applicable), things to stay away from, and their vision.

Things you can do as a client for an effective design brief:

  • Be honest. This is 100% key in communicating with a designer.

  • Ask questions. This is equally as important. Even if you don’t know who your target market is, ask your designer about it and chances are you two can explore it together.

  • Be open minded. Although you should listen to your intuition, be open to new ideas and explore all of the possibilities. The sky is the limit.

  • Be clear and organize your thoughts as well as you can.

Things you can do as a designer for an effective design brief:

  • Be the client’s guiding light through this process

  • Answer any questions as best as possible

  • Make sure to be clear and organize the questions in categories

  • Provide examples of tougher questions so clients know how to answer them

Here’s an example of my client brief that I hand off to clients once we begin working together. After they look through the questions, we pull this up during our discovery call and discuss it and how it plays into their branding vision.

I hand off my client brief in google docs. I love this platform because it allows collaboration at an entirely different level than others that I’ve used. I like the features where the client can add comments to certain questions or areas if needed and you can resolve those questions inside one box on the side. I also love that it gives the client the ability to write as much as they’d like. The more information for the designer, the better! One last feature I’d like to mention is that this is automatically saved and referred back to if needed at anytime for the designer & client. This is extremely helpful during the design process.

If you’re a designer, what are things you love to include in your brief? Leave a comment down below. I’d also love to know if anyone would be interested in a free template of a client brief. I’d love to share!