How to Write a Creative Brief

What is a Creative Brief?

Creative briefs–also known as creative strategies or design briefs–are documents used by creative teams and their clients to start a new project together. Often a designer or design team will write up a creative brief for their client in order to establish a clear set of expectations–for both them and the client–and determine the most relevant information that they will need in order to do the project.

Start with Good Interview Questions

When writing a good creative brief, you must first establish the most relevant questions for your client. Your goal is  to understand them, understand the project, understand the competition, and so forth. Some questions you might consider using include the following:

  • What does your company do?
  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What do you perceive as your product’s or service’s strengths? Weaknesses?
  • What are your company’s greatest opportunities and greatest threats?
  • What do you want customers to think when they see your products?
  • What’s the project we can do for you? Why do you want us to do it? What are your goals?
  • Who do you consider your target market? Do you have secondary or tertiary audiences you expect to reach?
  • How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • What’s the tone of your messaging you hope to communicate?
  • If you could describe what you hope people perceive as your brand in three adjectives, what would they be?
  • Do we need to use any current images, fonts, or style guide to match previous design elements?

There are, of course, scores of other similar questions you could ask your client. The goal is that you know fully understand what it is your client does, what they’re hoping to get from you, and areas where you might be able to provide advice or recommendations. You want to develop the most effective product or give the best advice to them–so ask them good questions.

Write a Brief Document

It’s called a creative “brief” for a reason. You should keep these documents to one or two pages, only highlighting the most pertinent information. Organize your document into a few major sections so that it is easily understood by your client. The section headings will be different depending on the purpose of your project, but consider sections such as the following:

  • Client Overview
  • Project Description
  • Competitors
  • Target Audience
  • Creative Strategy
  • Visual Assets
  • Constraints
  • Costs
  • Project Deliverables

Format It Professionally

You’re giving this to your client as a sort of non-binding contract. It’s an agreement about the work you’re about to produce. More importantly, is the first document you provide your client, so it needs to look sharp. Design the document to look professional in all aspects, considering organization, typeface, white space, layout, color, and so forth.

Check Out Some Examples

It’s always a good idea to review what others have done, as long as you be sure not to copy them. See this example from Canva.com, and read their great article on creative briefs as well.