3 Reasons Creative Briefs Are Critical

By vitamin

A creative brief is a simple but important document that agency teams use to jumpstart a major project such as an ad campaign, a video or print design piece. The brief is typically developed by your agency based on previous client communication and it sets the stage for the entire project. The brief includes everything from project goals to target audience to tone of voice to project mandatories. While a creative brief is critical to a successful design process, many people make the mistake of foregoing the brief process altogether.

Here are three reasons you should always use a creative brief before starting any important creative project:

1. Expectation management

A creative brief is the document by which you set all of your expectations for a given project. Without it, how can you ensure that the end product will be what you intended it to be? If all you tell your design team is that you want a 4” x 6” postcard to promote an upcoming event, you’re leaving a lot of room for interpretation. For example, what should the look and feel be: Modern? Dated? Simple? Colorful? How should it sound: Humorous? Serious? Sarcastic? Who is it targeting? Does it need to follow brand standards or is there room to explore something new? What content do you want on the postcard? When does it need to be completed? All of those questions (and more) get answered and solidified in a creative brief. Now you may be thinking, well I could just share all of those details via phone. Why should we waste valuable time writing, reviewing and approving an entire document? That leads us to the second point …

2. Accountability

With a creative brief in place, you always have a solid document by which to measure the quality of your agency’s design ideas. Starting a major creative project solely based on a phone call is never a good idea. Verbal communication leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation, misunderstanding and misremembering. If there is dispute later on about what was said on the call, you have nothing by which to confirm the truth. A creative brief essentially puts those conversations down on paper in a simple, yet compelling way and if written correctly, is not up for interpretation. When your agency is thinking through creative executions they will use the brief to ensure that their ideas are strategic and align with your overall project goals. And when they present those ideas to you, you have a document in place by which you can hold the team accountable.

3. Time efficiency

While a lot of people scoff at the time it takes to develop a strong creative brief and get it approved, it can cost you far more time if your internal or agency design team has to make major design changes halfway into the project. Creative briefs set designers off in the right direction at the offset. Without that document in place, they’re essentially flying blind.

Do you have experience using creative briefs? How have they worked for you? Tell us in the comment section below.

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