Creative Briefs

January 29, 2007 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Management | Leave a comment

A project starts with someone uncovering a need he or she thinks a project can satisfy. In most projects the person uncovering the need doesn’t have the resources or skills to satisfy the need. In web development terms this is when the client approaches the webdeveloper to build him a new website.

When iniating a new project with a client it’s important to understand the clients needs. If you don’t understand his needs you might end up developing a site that doesn’t meet the true need or you could end up creating a project that ends up costing more then it saves.

For these reasons before starting a project you need to fully understand the scope and needs of the client. This is best captured in a Creative Brief.

The creative brief is a document which is created by the development team outlining the visual and conceptual goals. Use a client questionnaire to help determine adjectives which describe the site in tone and style. The brief can be a simple one page document or can be a multiple page document outlining specific marketing goals and strategy along with the standard visual direction. The purpose of this document is to state in verbal terms the way the audience/user will perceive the site. Additional information (target audience, communication strategy, tone, etc.) helps the visual designer and information architect set the proper tone for the site.

A decent creative brief might take a few hours to complete but by planning a new project properly in the begging it might saves your many more hours in development time. It took me quite a while to understand this concept which seems so simple now. Having things like a sitemap, colour schematic and competitive analysis close at hand means that the developers have a lot less to work out. A good creative brief is formulated by asking the client the correct questions. The system I developed for the company I work for include questions like :

  • How will you measure the success of the newly designed website? For example: Unique hits, feedback, brand recognition, sales, ecommerce sales
  • What is a typical task the user might perform on the new site? For example: register, log-on, search for information, buy a specific product, send their email address, call for more information, etc.
  • Who are your competitors and what do you think about their websites?
  • List competitive URLs if possible:
  • Name a few website URLs you like:

The best is to think of what information you need to make your job easier and what questions would supply you with that information.

The point is that the more information you have to reference from while designing and coding the site the less errors there are. A major time waster is the when you take a proof design to a client and he rejects it. That means that a lot of time has been wasted creating a proof that was not wanted. If you can get as close as possible to the clients needs on the first proof you will waste less time on the next one, if there even is a next one.

A good creative brief will also give you a scope on what type of personnel you will need to work on the project and how to organise your budget accordingly.


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