How do you write a design brief?

Any graphic design project needs a detailed design brief. A couple of reasons:

  • It ensures the client knows exactly what s/he wants to achieve.
  • It acts as a point of reference for everyone involved.

This means less time (and money) is spent on the result. The more information a client provides from the outset, the more value for money s/he will receive from the graphic designer.

Project preserver

Potential topics for inclusion:

Corporate profile

A summary of the business and a brief history will help.

Market position

A realistic evaluation of the company’s service/product relative to what competitors are doing.

Current situation

An explanation of what’s happening to bring about the need for this project e.g., a new product launch.

Communication background

Previous and present communication activity, such as research, advertising, direct mail, graphic design, public relations, etc.

Communication task — “the message”

What’s the context of the specific message in relation to the business plan? Where possible, include information to be shown in the designed item e.g. taglines, body text, imagery, etc.

Target market

Demographics — age, gender, income, employment, geography, the lifestyle of those the client wants to reach.


What does the client want to achieve? Where possible, make the objectives specific and the results measurable.

Schedule and deadline

The designer should have a detailed and realistic schedule of how the client wants the project to advance, considering these pointers:

  • Consultation (research, strategy)
  • Creation (concept and design development)
  • Production (artwork and prototyping)
  • Delivery (handover)

If, as a designer, you’re dealing with a client who hasn’t produced a design brief, it’s important to have your own questionnaire to supply at the outset.