Design clients definitely should read this
Most people confuse art with design. While both require a good amount of creativity, there are a lot more details to get right (and potentially go wrong) when it comes to design.
So you hired a graphic designer to create several things. You prepared a simple brief, expecting an outcome that meets your expectation. Day after day, you receive results that are not quite there. Mildly frustrated, you settle for less than satisfactory, or find the process dragging for weeks –or even months– behind schedule. What went wrong?
There are a number of possibilities, but here's what you can do on your part: make sure to give away enough information during briefing.
Preparing a brief in detail leads to best results. You may have other important tasks to do, but this should also be up there in your priority list. Just enough time is all it takes.
A more detailed brief can give designers a clearer view on the tasks given so they can deliver the final product as requested AND expected. They surely will (and SHOULD) ask about these things during briefing, so use this checklist to make sure no important detail is missed.
Now let’s take a look at 7 pieces of information that a brief needs to have.
Mention the highlights of your company as well as relevant products or services. These will provide the designer with a clear context of the project.
Next, go into details: what items are to be made, where and when they will be used, size requirements, or simply ask the agency for suggestions.
Have someone compile all relevant photo or text contents and a reference of previous materials that you have developed in the past to give them something to start with.
After knowing the facts, a designer should also know the feel: the personality and character of your brand/company that they should capture.
Explain what feeling you need the audience to get, or get into the look that you want: what shape or color you want to use, which font you prefer, etc.
If you have any, a technical guidance such as a GSM (Graphic Standard Manual) should save you the time and trouble of explaining these in detail.
This might be one of the most important things to you. Time. You can start by prioritizing which items you need done first so the designer can start with those.
Next, give each item/project a reasonable deadline, both for the designer to work on and improve the design and for you to review and give your feedback.
In most cases design cannot be separated from copywriting, but they are still two separate things. Do you need to develop a copy to go with the design? You can either do it yourself, hire a copywriter to do it, or have the agency provide it for you.
The same thing goes for photos. The designer needs to know whether a photo shoot is needed or if they should look for stock photos that match your need.
As mentioned above, a reasonable timeline needs to be set up for those additional services so that the designer can include them into their schedule and/or task list.
Not only that, a designer can recommend a printing company or a web programmer to take over after their work is done. Contact them immediately to start discussing cost, timeline and feasibility. Some designers may also be willing to supervise those vendors for you.
Good communication leads to satisfying results. It’d be better if you include a decision maker and a liaison in the correspondence between the company and the designer so there won’t be any miscommunication in the future.
A preferred communication tool can be discussed as well to smooth out the talks between both parties. Although most would prefer chat applications such as WhatsApp, e-mail has all the advantages of being written, organized and easier to track.
When devising the timeline, spare some time to do some final checking and quality control before launching or applying the design into mass production. You can also ask your production/programming vendor which file format they need or prefer.
Information regarding your or the vendor's address can also be provided so that the designer knows where to send the final artwork that you already approved to.
Some would not go into briefing until the amount of compensation for the design services is agreed on by both parties. If you fall in the other category, keep in mind that bargain is inevitable and time is valuable.
The more information you give out about your budget or expected spending, the earlier you can agree to start the project or move on to another designer.
Another thing to be agreed on up front is the terms of payment: the number of installments and when each one is to be made. You should also inform them if you need Value Added Tax (VAT) to be included in the quotation.
Furthermore, let the designer know where and how they should send any physical materials such as dummy or CD containing the artwork file.
For nothing is perfect in this world, the results of a well-prepared brief might still need some improvements, adjustments or fine-tuning. All those are perfectly fine and acceptable as long as progress are made according to the timeline.
But what if the project starts derailing and you’re stuck in an endless loop of revisions?
Save the checklist below for your future reference regarding design briefing. Subscribe and stay tuned to our blog because we’ll give away some tips on how to avoid endless revisions.