Wednesday, 21 May 2014

New On-line Design Brief...

The design brief is one of the essential parts of the design process. Starting a project without one is a bit like building a house without a blueprint. Although it may be possible to do, you may finish the house and then realize that you should have put the front door somewhere else!

So, what is a design brief?

A design brief is a document outlining the business objectives and design strategies for a project. It gets the design wheels rolling and helps us to think strategically about design solutions. It also encourages the client (you) to process and clarify what you need from a project, who the target audience is, and who the key stake-holders are.

How does a design brief relate to a marketing plan?

You could think of a marketing plan as the set of rules that direct your marketing activities. The marketing plan is simply a way to focus on one or more marketing objectives.

A successful design brief will inevitably be informed by your marketing plan. For example, if one of the objectives in your marketing plan is to target a specific age-group, this should be stated in your design brief. We can then use this information to propose design ideas that are coherent with your marketing plan.

Which projects require a design brief?

Ninety five percent of the time, completing a design brief is well worth it. Even if the project is not complex, thinking through some of the tough questions helps bring clarity and focus to it.

Ultimately, a design brief is a shared responsibility. Designs can only be as good as the brief they are derived from, so it’s in all parties interests to work from a well thought out starting point. So, take the time to create a design brief and remember…every minute invested in the brief is equal to several minutes saved in tweaking or re-working things later.

What does our design brief look like?

Design briefs can take on various forms. We will be providing a web-based format that can be used as a tool for creating/submitting a project request.  Here are a few qualities that our on-line brief will contain:

Easy to read – content subdivided into various sections with clearly-defined headings

Easy to complete – intuitively laid out helping you to submit information easily and quickly

Easy to share – created in a way that it can be sent electronically to others collaborating on the project

What content should you include?

There are many valid opinions out there about what should go in a brief and how it should be organised. Below are the components we think are important, and will be included in our on-line brief:

- Your contact details
- Project name with short description
- Project goals and objectives
- Target audience
- Content you are providing the designer with (text, photos, diagrams, logos etc.)
- Project specifications and format
- Deadline

What happens after the design brief is presented?

When you complete your on-line design brief, give us a bit of time to look over the details. We may have questions or suggestions for improvement. Although it is not always possible to work out all the details at the early stage, it is important that we both have a brief that we understand.

How can you make good use of the brief?

So, we’ve received your design brief and read through it…what next? The design brief serves as a guide throughout the course of the project, and work will begin according to the information supplied within it. It’s important that this document can be referred to during the process of initial design, right the way through to the completed print document or published web content. The design brief is the skeleton that we put the flesh on and give life to.

So help us to help you!

Our goal is to provide targeted print/web based design solutions that bring success to the University of Chester. A few minutes of time spent completing an on-line brief will go a long way in helping us gain insight into your marketing strategy, and provide those effective and creative design solutions we’ve talked about.

The on-line briefing template will be available through our Portal pages in the coming weeks, we'll keep you posted.

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