How to Brief a Designer

As a therapist or practitioner, it’s likely you were not taught how to brief a creative in your training.   However, it is a hurdle you are likely to come up against in your business.

I was really impressed by a therapist who had taken the initiative to outsource their designs rather than try to pull something together themselves.   It was great that they recognised their limits and found a professional to do the job.

A challenge arose because the designer had a completely free range on their project with a brief of ‘I want a logo and website’.

Although they were paying a designer to come up with a beautiful design, the lack of a brief costed them dearly.  The designer came up with what they thought was right, but the designs completely missed the spot and that led to a number of revisions which cost time and money.

This is your business and you need to make sure it represents you in the right way.

how to brief a designer

Learning how to brief someone doesn’t have to be complicated, but the benefits speak for themselves:

You will save money

If you give someone a clear outline to work to, you will save money on getting corrections done.  Making changes to a job can cost more than the original job so bear in mind – the more accurate the brief, the cheaper the bill.

You will save time

If you know what you are looking for, it will be much easier for a designer to represent this quickly rather than having lots of designs going backwards and forwards.

You will get good results

You won’t get stuck in the trap of not being satisfied although you can’t identify what you want as you have put a lot of thought into what you require.

9 Simple Steps to Create Your Brief

Step 1: Gather together your current marketing materials if you have any.  Does it all work together or is it a miss-match of styles and colours?

Step 2: Do your research and find examples of what you like: colours, layouts, designs, style of pictures, fonts etc.  Also, make a note of any definite no no’s as this will give the creatives something to steer clear of.

Step 3: Create a mood board (or scrapbook or Pinterest boards) – anything where you can capture all your ideas together.  This is something you can share with your designer so they get a real taste of what you are looking for.

Step 4: Work out what you like best about the examples and make a note of these. Include links to websites.

Step 5: Create a quick overview of your business in terms of what you do and who you work with so that the designer knows who the designs need to appeal to.  This is especially important if you are working with a new designer.

Step 6: Work out what elements need: business cards, leaflets, posters, website, postcards, newsletter template, presentations, car graphics, signage, social media headers – the list is endless.  Start with the minimum that you need and get your foundations in place, you can always build on them later.  For me, this was my logo, business cards and website.

Step 7: Consider the elements that you require one at a time, and work out exactly what you want including on each such as your logo, colours, fonts, pictures (if you have them, supply them or explain what type of picture you want to be included) etc.  If it helps you, sketch it out – remember this is about communicating what you are looking for.

I am pretty visual (probably something to do with being a graphic designer back in the day) and I find that a rough drawing really helps me to work out how I want things put together and what I need to include in the brief.

Step 8: Ask for a quote before your designer starts work so that you can agree on the price.  Make sure you know if there are corrections included or whether they are charged as extras.

Use your brief to get quotes from two or three designers especially if you are trying out someone new.  If they are unknown to you, have a look at their work and see if you like their style before committing to use them.  Also, ask around for recommendations, it’s always a great way to find a new supplier.

Step 9: If you are providing the copy, write it and get it double checked before supplying it – the more correct it is at this stage, the quicker and cheaper the job will be in the long run.  This is especially important if you are printing something, as once it is done, your only option is to re-print if there are mistakes.

If briefing a designer is something you struggle with, contact me to find out how I can help you.