HOW TO CREATE A PROJECT BRIEF WITH A DESIGN AGENCY
Adequate preparation is key to avoiding false starts
When was the last time you had to make decisions with others, without knowing what you wanted? If you’re working with a design agency, a loss of focus can lead to false starts, or work that doesn’t perform as intended.
We always take the initiative to provide direction or a complete briefing for a project when you need us to, with the goal of helping you align your internal team with the overall intention for each specific project. This lends itself to a better outcome and a positive experience working together.
ALL STAKEHOLDERS NEED TO AGREE ON THE OVERALL INTENTION FOR THE USER JOURNEY
Imagine you are looking at a product you want or need from a short distance. On your approach you begin to build expectations determined by what you see, and then you try it out. The experience is disappointing; it didn’t match the expectations you had. It’s obvious to you that its design was less considered and therefore it is worth less investment (or none at all). This can be the result of weakened intent at the decision-making stage due to inability to reach agreement. Different stakeholders have different goals so making sure the overall intention for the user journey is agreed, you’re setting up the best situation to foster good decisions and outcomes.
DESIGN IS A PROCESS OF INTENTION TO REACH GOALS
In a better scenario, the product would have been more likely to match your expectations if its design had considered who would be using it, how it would benefit the person using it, what they might be doing, what it should allow them to do, how it would make them feel before, during and after using it, and anything else relevant to its function and form, including things like colour, shape and size. Neglecting to think about and agree on these goals almost guarantees the end result will be a badly designed one. ‘Design is the rendering of intent’ – Jared Spool.
‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe’ – Anon
Working alongside our structured approach to projects allows us all to have clarity in the process, and allocate our time and energy to tasks that are more useful and less wasteful. The process of creating a brief is separate from creating design concepts and is a role we will take into our own hands if you don’t have the resources or direction internally. There is some to and fro during this stage and ultimately you would instruct your approval before design time is allocated.
DESIRED DISCIPLINES & DELIVERABLES
Form needs to communicate function. Expectation needs to match experience. These four elements provide a solid basis for the questions you need to answer and agree on before the project begins. In terms of wider business goals, including company, industry, stakeholder, unique selling point, messaging and competitor details can be useful. You then need to consider what your design agency will actually deliver. For the purpose of energising the project and achieving clarity, project deliverables may include wireframes, mood boards and prototypes, but the ultimate materials that will form the building blocks of the campaign are what should be determined at the briefing stage, where possible. This could mean the deliverables required might include disciplines from logo design, animation, video production, photography to materials such as print, digital applications, websites, or product designs.
We’ve kept it simple by creating a template that covers the basic foundations for almost any project you could think of. You may find it more useful using this as your starting point and building on it, adding in anything else relevant to your concept. If you need some faster advice, reach out to us. We’d love to get things moving for you!
- Excerpt from You’re My Favourite Client, Chapter 1: Why You Need Design, Mike Monteiro
- Why False Starts Hurt Your Project http://codesqueeze.com/why-false-starts-hurt-your-project/
- Design is the Rendering of Intent https://articles.uie.com/design_rendering_intent/