The Essence of an Effective Creative Brief

They say that communication is the key to success, and in an advertising/marketing agency, that success is often contingent upon relaying accurate and complete information about the client’s brand, the competitive market, and the project’s objective from the account services team to the creative team. To do this effectively, a creative brief is used as a key tool to bring the necessary information together. Most advertising agencies use them, but many account executives and project managers do not understand or fully utilize their ability to help accurately communicate information across channels in the design process.

The effective use of a creative brief and its ability to communicate valuable information, build consensus, align expectations, and set clear objectives to all members of the team, as well as with the client. When this work is done up-front, it sets both agency account handler and the creative team up for a successful end result.

Throwing together general project information into a document and calling it a creative brief is not good enough. While each should be customized depending on the unique client and project, there are a few key questions you can answer that will satisfy your creative team’s need for sufficient guidelines to work within, while also giving them creative flexibility. A well-put together creative brief will also aid as a confirmation of understanding between the agency and client. Your design can only be good as the brief you worked from.

Always FORMALIZE design briefing. A clear well written brief also acts as a reference for the creative team and guides them through the whole creative process.  Always, it is advisable for the account executives to avoid the temptation that the project is so urgent and should be executed immediately even without putting the clients’ ideas together in to a brief.  When the brief is clear from the client and in written form, it helps saves time spent by the creative team and overlapping creative ideas from clients or account handlers.

DON’T prescribe solutions. Be clear about what the item needs to achieve, so the designer can explore ideas through their creative expertise. Just communicate your expectations and objectives clearly. If you have some samples that you consider effective or of relevant design you can give out to set a benchmark for your design.  Set and allow a realistic deadline for completion of the work, taking into account various stages of design project and if there are other projects with a closer deadline. Mocked-up designs layout usually diminishes the designers’ room for creativity and flexibility.

MAKE sure that your brief is COMPLETE to avoid unnecessary and time-consuming revisions that would have been effected in the original brief.

Unfortunately, clients who aren’t familiar with design process don’t see carefully written briefs as a high priority.

Lastly, carefully word your brief in an email, presentation or as a front page of your copy and use this as reference point when you meet.

Absolom Irungu – Creative Designer, 2020 Marketing.

Creative Brief