So, you have a great idea for your business, which now requires a design created. Perhaps it’s a new company logo, or a leaflet to distribute at an event to help promote your product/brand. Whatever it is, the starting point to help you get that idea out of your head and into your designer's mind, is a brief. A good design brief details the problem to be solved and gets you and the designer close to the desired goal. It brings the problem into focus and enlightens the designer with information. It acts as both a source of inspiration, fuelling the creative fires and a safety net keeping the designer on point. The brief also identifies the target audience. It challenges both client and designer’s knowledge of the desired demographic and what is important to them. This is imperative as the final product will be used as a medium to best connect with the group. A well thought out design brief benefits both yourself and the designer. This is because it focuses the design on what is important to your brand and your customer. So that being said, what is a design brief? How do you create one?

A design brief, at its core, is a breakdown of a client's thoughts regarding their specific needs. It is based on answers to key questions that help the designer with the design process. The more thorough and expressive a client is with their response, the easier it becomes for a designer to visualize and encapsulate what the client is trying to achieve.

A Bad Brief

You could just tell your designer to create a logo. They are the designer, it’s their job to think it all out for you, right? Well, not exactly; it’s not quite as simple as that. That could be considered a brief, if you are not concerned about the style, colours, and other choices that make up the final design. If a designer does not know that you don't like green, how would he or she know not to use it in the design? This creates a ping-pong situation of going back and forth. The designer is making uneducated guesses about what you want. This can be time-consuming, costly and can cause a strain on the client-designer relationship. As clients, we sometimes forget this is as much about our thoughts as it is about the designer's. It's our product, it's our brand, our company and no one knows it better. The designer is not there to tell you what to do. A designer's role is to guide you to the right solution by using their creative skills and knowledge. To develop your need into a product that promotes your business and brand in a positive light. A solution that prompts your target audience to action; whether it is making a purchase or just remembering your company for later use.

A Good Brief

A brief is an instruction. But even more than that, it is the start to a purposeful conversation between you and your designer. It's a head start to the design process. It helps the designer to remove the irrelevant clutter from the process and focus on the things that are important to you, your company and the target audience. A good design brief maximises the number of positive solutions. It creates a platform where the designer can, if needs be, ask further questions so as to achieve the desired outcome. A good design brief promotes productive, open dialogue between designer and client. Company expertise combines with mastery of design to create the optimum solution, maximizing the desired reaction of your target audience. A good design brief also has the potential to reduce turnaround times and costs.

Creating a Brief

A design brief basically answers the questions Who? What? Where? How? and Why?:


  • Who does the design represent (the company)?
  • Who is your target audience (consumer)?


  • What are you promoting or selling?
  • What is the message you are trying to convey?


  • Where is this promotion taking place and in what environment? (Is it: inside or outside, are people on the move or in one place)


  • How is the design being distributed? (Door drops, hand-outs, mailing, multiple distribution methods)


  • Why this format/medium?
  • Why is the design solution required?

Answering these questions and any others that may surface during this process is a start to a good design brief. Also, ask your designer if they have a brief of questions based on your type of request. Or ​you can use our design briefs​. They’ve been created based on our experience with clients and designers. You can then send it to your designer, or let us have a crack at it. Remember: No matter which route you choose, take the time to make sure you’ve thought about what you need and supply your designer with a detailed design brief. It will give your designer the best chance to produce the best possible result in the quickest possible time.