From logos and landing pages to social media updates and eBook covers, there is a massive amount of design work involved in running a successful business. For most entrepreneurs, it makes more financial sense to hire freelancers to create these designs than to get full-time employees.
What kind of results you get from your hiring efforts will depend a great deal on the quality of your creative brief.
A creative brief is a document that explains the creative demands of the project. From the choice of font to the overall theme and tone of the campaign, everything is detailed and documented in this brief.
Designers and creative firms are used to working off creative briefs. Create one sparse on detail and you’ll find that the final product isn’t close to your vision.
In this short guide, I’ll share my best tips for writing a creative brief when you’re hiring freelance designers.
- Share insight into your business brand
A fundamental mistake I see entrepreneurs make in creative briefs is to focus too much on their product, and not enough on the business. The product is only one aspect of your business’ identity. There are other facets to it that can’t be captured by the product description alone.
Product and business identities can, and often are, distinct. Your customers might have one perception of your business brand, and another of your product range. For example, a customer might see the Ford brand as “unreliable,” but still see its product, the F150, as “competent” and “reliable”.
Therefore, before you discuss your product and the campaign, share insight into your business brand. Cover the following:
- A brief history of your business
- Your core business values
- The relationship between the business and the product you’re marketing
- Your business existing brand perception among your target customers
- Discuss the story of your product
The product is the single most important part of the creative brief. After all, this is what you’re creating design assets for. Even if the campaign fails to capture the essence of your business, it should at least relay your product’s brand in-detail.
The best way to approach this problem is through storytelling. Think of how your product came into being. What were the catalysts that led to its creation? What challenges did you face while creating it? What sort of results do you expect to see with the campaign?
Far too many creative briefs focus too heavily on the practical aspects of the product (what category it belongs to, its target market, etc.). While these are admittedly important, it is equally crucial to convey the heart of the product – its story.
- Give market context
The “market” defines the context of the product. It tells designers about your product’s chief competitors, customers, and any social, technological, and political factors affecting it.
For example, if you were marketing a social media startup 15 years ago, you would first have to explain what social media exactly is to your target market. This would mean expanding the scope of the campaign and including additional messaging.
Today, however, the market context has changed. Nearly everyone understands what social media is. If you run the same campaign today, you can dive headfirst into the heart of your message without stopping to explain social media.
It’s also a good idea at this point to share insight into your competitors. Freelancers will often learn about your product by looking at what your competitors are doing. If there are clear market leaders in the space, include a few brief details about them, including their brand positioning and market share.
- Place yourself into your customers’ shoes
The last, but crucial, element of any creative brief is the customers.
Your customers buy the product. What they think, where they hang out, their age and education all affect the campaign.
Your goal should be to place yourself into your customers’ shoes. Don’t just rattle off a list of statistics about them; share what they think and feel about the product, the brand, and even the entire category. The less you leave this to ambiguity, the better results you’ll get from the final finished work.
After all, who knows your customers better than you do?
Over to You
The creative brief is the single most important element in any creative work. Whether you’re contracting a designer for a one-off task or hiring an agency for an expansive ad campaign, you’ll need a compelling creative brief to capture your vision.
Follow these four tips to give your designers a better understanding of your business, product, customers, and market. The better your creative brief, the better the finished outcome.