How To Write A Stellar Design Brief In 10 Easy Steps


You know a project will be a success when you develop a robust design brief for it. A brilliant creative brief can take the task from zero to hero, which is the primary reason why marketers love it so much. 

When you start a project, the design brief is the defining factor. It sets out the path the entire team has to follow, and it provides directions. The design brief is the key to everything from illustrating the idea, defining the budget, enlisting stakeholders, and communicating the project’s timeline and purpose. 


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What Is A Design Brief?

A design brief is a document that contains all the budget, goals, audience demographic, missions, resources, timeline, and much more. It gives a detailed overview of every aspect of the project. It is usually created by the manager of the creative department of a company. The design brief ensures all stakeholders are on the same page and clearly understand the project. 

Any creative project needs a design brief. Numerous agencies can help a company come up with an innovative plan for its project. The document has various sections that give a clear idea about the project to everyone involved. 


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Design Brief Outline:

  • Name of the project: This section contains the name of the project that is being worked on. 
  • Background information about the company: This section provides the designers with all the necessary information about the company and the brand’s message. 
  • The project’s objective: This section details all the creative team’s work for the company. 
  • The target audience for the project: This section gives an overview of the target audience for the project—for example, the age, gender, habits, needs, preferences, etc. 
  • Competition: This section points out what the company’s competitors are doing and which steps you can take to stand out from the rest. 
  • The key message: This section allows you to know the goals and missions of the project and the change it will bring to the industry. 
  • The critical consumer benefit: This section identifies the problems consumers face, which this project will aim to solve. 
  • Budget: This section lets you know the project’s total budget and divide it among various stages and tasks. 
  • Distribution of the project: This section contains information about the steps that need to be taken once the project is complete and ready for distribution. 


The Benefits Of Writing A Design Brief




How To Write A Design Brief

Before you start writing the design brief for any company, you should have detailed conversations with stakeholders. These discussions will allow you to understand better the company’s message and what it is trying to achieve with the project.

Once you have extensive knowledge about what you need to write, you can follow these simple steps to write an excellent design brief. 


1. Name The Project 

The first step might seem relatively straightforward, but it is essential for every campaign. It would help if you decided on a name for the project before working on any other aspect. 

Establishing the project’s name will stop people from calling it various things, and it will provide everyone with a clear idea about what the campaign is about. If people don’t have one name to refer to, it can confuse and take away from the core message. 

It would help if you always went for a name that is simple and creative. It is ideal to use a few words or a brief sentence for the title. You can also decide what the call to action for the audience will be and incorporate it into the name. 


2. Summarize The Company Background And Information 

Having a section in the design brief containing all the company’s vital information is an important step. People who work in creative agencies that write design briefs need to include this section to clarify which company the project is for. 

Even if you are creating the brief for an in-house project, you need to include the company’s background. This step ensures that all the people working on the project know the brand and its message. 

The company background and information should not include generic information you can find on the company’s website. You need to tailor the information according to the project and provide details that people can keep in mind when working on the design.  Some questions you can consider when writing this section include:

  • Why has the company decided to launch this project?
  • What is happening in the market that has led the company to come up with this project?
  • Has the company worked on a similar project before? 


3. Highlight The Objective Of The Project 

The next step is more specific to the campaign than the previous ones. This part is where you need to clearly state the goals of the campaign, the target audience, and the timeline of the project. This section allows you to explain what the campaign is aiming to achieve and how. 

Highlighting the project’s objective will enable all the stakeholders to know the expectations and how they need to meet them. You can write this section in a few lines or come up with subheadings for all the goals. 

This section should explain the critical factors for success and how this campaign will follow these key steps to ensure success. It is unnecessary to include challenges for the project in this section, but if the company wants you to have them, you should. 


4. Define The Target Audience 

Everyone involved with the project must be aware of who the project is for. You must define the target audience for the campaign and let everyone know which people will benefit from the product or service the company is launching. 

You can come up with the primary and secondary audience for the project. Doing this will give the creative team more space to explore and develop innovative ideas for the campaign. 

It would help define the audience by their age demographic, buying behaviors and trends, how they think and feel about the product or service, where they are from, and much more. Creating a buyer persona can help summarize everything and allow all team members to understand who they are targeting with the project. 


5. Describe The Competitors 

Being aware of what the competitors are doing can be beneficial for the entire team. Once you know what the bar is, you have a better chance of crossing it. This section can provide the company and creative team with the motivation they need to exceed expectations. 

There are countless data available everywhere. You can use the competition’s data to come up with better strategies and learn from their mistakes. You can also choose a method they have used in the past and succeeded. Of course, you will have to take it a step further and produce better results than they did. 

You can include a list of competitors and all the similar services or products they have to offer. It is crucial that you mention the similarities you have with the competitors, and more importantly, the factors about your company that set you apart. You can also talk about how this project will help you cement these differences and enable the company to stand out. 


6. Develop The Key Message 

Defining the critical message for the campaign can be one of the trickiest parts of writing the design brief. Each stakeholder can have a different opinion about the key message and how you should define it. It is crucial that you come up with an impressive answer and satisfies everyone on the team.  

When defining the critical message for the project, you need to ask yourself,

“The company is launching this product or service, so what?”

The so what in this question is the key message you want to present to the audience. You have to let people know why this campaign is essential and needs their attention. 

The key message you develop should inform the audience that the company is aware of its problem, how the product or service solves it, and why they need it. Having this approach makes the customer the main character in the journey of this project. 


7. State The Key Benefit For The Consumer 

When launching a campaign or a project, a company has countless benefits to offer to the consumers. However, it can make the campaign seem directionless if it focuses on all of the advantages of any product or service. 

You must determine the primary benefit the campaign will provide for the consumers and develop the project around this benefit. This would mean that you’d have to constantly develop the critical consumer benefit (KCB) to streamline the development process. 

Also, it would be wise to discuss the benefit with all the stakeholders and consider their opinions. You should also study consumer data and reports to determine the advantage they want. 


8. Give Your Project An Attitude 

You must develop a tone and voice that you use throughout the project. Doing this will give your project an attitude. Having a definitive attitude can help the content team develop the copywriting for the product or service. 

It will also help the graphic designers to use designs and color palettes that go along with the voice and tone of the campaign. It would help if you always defined the attitude with a few adjectives so that everyone on the team understands the brand’s tone. 

When deciding the tone and voice, you must keep the target audience in mind. If you are trying to appeal to a mature audience, you need to use a formal tone. Similarly, if you are going to appeal to a younger audience, you should use a casual tone that they can relate to. 


9. Choose A Call To Action

Of course, you need to provide the audience with information about what they need to do once your campaign has been launched. You must have a call to action (CTA) that enables your customers to take the necessary action. 

The audience doesn’t have to take any physical action regarding the campaign. You can select a CTA that prompts people to change their perspective regarding the brand or spend time thinking about the product or services and the benefits they provide. 

The campaign can have more than one CTAs. If you have defined a primary and secondary audience earlier, you can have a different CTA for both. However, you should focus on the primary CTA and incorporate the campaign’s key message in the CTA. 


10. Develop The Distribution Plan

Once the project is complete, you have to decide how the audience will learn about it.

You can do the following to make that happen:

  • Include the various channels you will be using for the launch and distribution of the campaign and how these channels can help reach a wide audience. 
  • Discuss the type of content created to promote the campaign and gain attention from consumers.
  • You have to keep the target audience in mind and come up with strategies to reach them. 

For example, if the target audience is gen z, you should avoid wasting money and time on newspaper ads and billboards and focus on social media marketing. Having a clear distribution plan can help you save time and resources and ensure the project is successful.

Design Brief Templates And Examples For Inspiration

1. Website Design Brief 


Image Source:


2. Ad Design Brief


Image Source: Nike


3. Logo Design Brief


Image Source: Pinterest


4. Branding Design Brief

Image Source: Pinterest


Review and Get Feedback On Your Design Briefs With GoVisually!

Once you have drafted the design brief, it is time to share it with the company to get feedback before you finalize it.

Now, this step can either take ages or minutes, depending on what framework you choose.

If you’re wise and updated with the latest technology, you’d choose GoVisually – the #1 online proofing and review tool. Otherwise, you can quickly find yourself trapped in endless email threads or feedback meetings that don’t end.

With GoVisually, you can invite all stakeholders to one place, leave comments, accept suggestions, compare versions, and finalize the design brief.

The best part? You can access it from anywhere in the world!

Alina Zahid Khan

Alina Zahid Khan

Alina Zahid Khan is a storyteller, brand strategist, and growth manager at GoVisually. She loves creating value-driven content for creative professionals.
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