Writing a briefing can be considered a challenge in itself, especially if you are a business owner with no marketing experience or someone who's hiring a freelance designer for the first time. Nevertheless, a design briefing is an essential document for the design process, so to help you with this somewhat demanding task I've compiled a list with the top tips you can use when briefing a designer.
Make yourself easy to understand.
There are plenty of information that are easy to understand by you, but it's not obvious to your designer. Don't expect the designer to be a mind reader. If you're using jargons that are particular to your business industry, be sure to explain them to your designer, and if possible, add a glossary section to your briefing.
Remember that your understanding of the meaning of visual concepts is probably going to be a little different than that of the designer you are hiring, so how do you go on explaining your interpretation of traditional, vintage or funky? The best way is by showing your designer sample that have a similar look and feel to the effect that you would like to see on your project. The more visual material you can use to communicate your ideas the better results you'll get from your designer.
If you are hiring a designer, don’t be a designer.
Don't ask your designer to do a job for you and then start doing it yourself. When writing your briefing, focus on the marketing point-of-view of your project and leave the design work to be done by the designer. If you're hiring a professional just to materialize your ideas, you're getting no value for money and misusing your designer potential.
Think about this for a moment, if you were to hire a developer, would you make comments on individual parts of their work? Or would you focus on giving directions and letting them use their experience to build your project?
If the above is not clear enough, the comic below will help you see the point:
When writing your briefing, don't make it so restrictive that there is no room for your designer to be creative. Instead, write a briefing focusing on the results you want to achieve and leave enough space for your designer to present you with ideas. You will be surprised and the results will be great for your business.
Writing is better than talking.
If you normally brief your designer face-to-face or over the phone, make sure to also keep a written version of your briefing, and send it to your designer as a formalization of your conversation. If you realize you left something out fo the briefing after sending it to your designer, avoid the temptation of just calling and telling them of the changes over the phone. Include the changes in your written version and send it again.
The best and easiest way to keep an open channel of communication with your designer is by email. It will save you a lot of time and money if you know where to go to check something that has been discussed before. When you have a written history of your talks, such as in email conversations, you can easily review what has and has not being said so both parts can reach agreements much more easily. You may not realise, but even the perfect relationship between client and designer can be ruined because of misunderstandings.
Plan ahead before briefing a designer.
If you want to have value for money, be sure to schedule the whole project before you brief a designer. Keep in mind that the quicker you need your project finished, the higher the price will be. Even the most simple design project requires multiple stages like production of the first revision, adjustments, corrections, approval and final delivery. Always ask your designer to inform you in advance if the deadlines or set budgets you're proposing are unrealistic.
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