5 key elements of writing a great creative brief

A brief is the blueprint for any creative project; a vital piece of communication, whether you need a single page advert or an all-singing all-dancing multi-media campaign. A tight brief can be an investment in time and efficiency. It will also, of course, lead to better, more focused creative work.

At Fluro, we use the brief as a reference for every stage of the design process. So how do you create the most effective brief possible?

1. Don’t assume we know what you do

You might know every tiny nuance about your business, but we won’t. Be sure to include all relevant background information about your organisation and the project, even if you’ve had a discussion with our team prior to briefing.

Writing a project overview will give us a better idea of what we are working on and the best way to attack it. Ask yourself: Why are you undertaking this project? What do you want the outcome to be? Who needs to take action as a result? And when do you need to see the results? All this will give us a better understanding and help us put the project in context.

2. Be brief

It’s in the name, after all. Pages and pages of ‘copy and pasted’ reference information won’t get you extra brownie points. In the previous section we asked you to include all the relevant information, but if it’s not relevant then reams of random background detail will only dilute the message and cloud our thinking.

Creating a short brief is more challenging than writing a long one because it requires you to be decisive about the outcome you’re trying to drive. If you can’t prioritise and summarise key information at briefing stage, are you sure the project is ready to be briefed to your agency?

TOP TIP: Share your brief with all project stakeholders within your business before it reaches us. Involving everyone (especially key internal approvers) at brief-writing stage prevents miscommunication. It may sound taxing, but it could save you time, money and a lot of hassle with re-briefs further down the line.

3. What are the deliverables?

We need to know exactly what we’ll be creating as part of the project. Is it a one-page flyer, or a set of animated web banners? Is it a stand-alone asset, or does it form the first phase of a multi-media, global campaign?

Understanding the deliverables, as well as the context of the campaign, can impact the way we approach the copywriting and design stages. For example, we would know to avoid certain phrases to allow for localisation, and to build graphics in a way that allows them to flow naturally into future assets. Of course, your creative agency should be involved in campaign planning so there should already be consensus on the assets being delivered.

Try to provide all the specs and sizes you need from the start. This includes any print specs, file formats and image sizes. Again, all this information can have a material impact on the design and ensure everything has been fully considered. Remember, a last-minute change to the asset list can completely compromise the creative concepts that we pored over for all those hours, and, you guessed it, it could mean doing things twice and using up more of your precious budget.

4. Have realistic timelines

Sure, we can turnaround work quickly and efficiently, but we’re not miracle workers. Getting the brief to us well in advance of any deadlines will allow us more time to work our magic. Include any key deadlines within the ‘timescales’ part of your brief and work with us to build a plan to deliver each asset. That way, we have a collaborative plan of intent that we can refer back to as the project progresses.

TOP TIP: Be sure to allow yourself enough time to review and provide feedback on the project timelines. Giving yourself 48 hours to review a 72-page brochure probably isn’t realistic, especially if you need to run it by subject matter experts within the organisation. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day; there were lots of man hours and a steady stream of coffee.

5. Be Upfront about Budget

The dreaded ‘B’ word! Don’t be shy – be upfront about the size of your budget from the start.

Understanding your budget helps us scale the project appropriately and enables us to give you a variety of options that will meet it. If we don’t know how much you’re intending to spend, there’s the potential for time to be wasted working up ideas that are not feasible.

Knowing your budget up-front also speeds up the time it takes us to agree quotes with you. And that will leave us more time to get on with creating the game-changing work you’re looking for.

If you need help with your next creative project, come in and speak to one of the team. Or give us a call on 01628 525449, we’d love to help bring your ideas to life.

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