GRAPHIC DESIGNER’S PERSPECTIVE

A creative web design brief will help you create and manage your marketing operations and your efforts to create and develop your brand.

There are many methods to write a brief. Bigger companies usually have a style or format to use. In small business and entrepreneurship, mainly the owner arranges and writes the brief emphasizing the main points of their project. But writing a good brief is becoming rarer as companies try to match the pace of the business world.

In a previous article, I shared thoughts on the crucial role of briefs to graphic designers following the designer’s perspective. Cooperation between the client and the designer is an approach to work in partnership and produce a creative and unique document to represent the objectives of the project having in mind both parties’ goals.

Writing a good brief demands patience, guidance, and information. It is essential to remember that the brief is written to the final user of the project. The company’s objectives and the web designer’s objectives must work together to fit the solution to the final user’s needs.

What Is A Web Design Brief?

A web design brief is a document that conducts the work to the entire web design process. The brief should be clear, comprehensive, and as detailed as possible to become a mutual point of reference to all parties involved. Concerning web design, the brief, as a document that presents what is the required outcome, must convey openly what the company wants to communicate to their target audience.

Saying this, the brief should identify the scope, scale and key details of the forthcoming web design project to have the potential to inform design decisions and guide the work to the final completion.

Consequently, the brief will be a collaborative process between the company and the designer to clarify goals and objectives, notify stakeholders of the sequence of the milestones and hold all parties involved as accountable for the final website project.

An effective brief avoids the undesirable “we didn’t ask for that” during the work process.

Benefits Of A Brief

As per Simon Heaton, the benefits of a brief:

  • Provide the designer with insight and foundation of the website creation
  • Offer the designer a detailed image of the client’s expectations
  • Keep both parties on track and the website creation on time and budget
  • Allow for collaboration in the website’s development to both parties and the proper understanding of the outcome
  • Give the designer all the information before the project starts
  • Allow the designer to understand the client’s taste and avoid the “must not have” as a strategic tool during the creation process.
CREATIVE GRAPHIC DESIGNERS WORK  FROM A BRIEF

Essential Components Of A Web Design Brief

The Client’s Business

Make sure that an overview of the client’s business is included, ensuring that all parties involved are familiar with the company’s work, brand, and internal aspects that will influence the direction and success of the website project.

business meeting with young people to write a web design brief

Answers to questions like these will portray the company’s goals and familiarise all parties with the brand’s vision:

  • What does the company do?
  • What are the products or services?
  • How long the company has been on the market?
  • What is the size and distribution of the business?
  • What are the company’s vision and mission?
  • How is the near future envisioned?
  • What position does the company want to reach in the market?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Who are the company’s competitors?

The Client’s Website

If there is a current website, describe its power and reach. Describe the results obtained. Is there a need for a new website? What does the company see as a successful website?

The company should describe the project overview in detail with context and background. You obtain this information from the company’s knowledge and from the initial meetings between the company and the designer.

Write the reason to build the website. Identify the problem. Describe the scope and scale of the project and the deliverables, what results the company expects at the completion of the website project. Detail features required functions and specifies the ways the company will use to measure the success of the website.

Goals And Objectives

There is a core set of offerings all websites offer, but the company needs to inform clearly the measurable outcomes expected from the project.

Simon Heaton explains the difference between goals and objectives within the graphic design perspective.

Goals mirror the main purpose of the website project.

Objectives point to the milestones in achieving the goals.

It is important to specify the values the company wants to communicate to its audience with the website, the style guidelines the company uses, like colours, fonts, icons, and other specific procedures that are part of the brand.

Other functional requirements, mandatory design assets, design ideas tastes, technology issues like a domain name and hosting details and SEO priorities must be defined.

Aspects like who will write the content or edit old content must be specified along with a list and hierarchy of subject areas and variety of the content. Specific call-to-actions regarding what the company wants people to do when they get to the site and the significant calls-to-actions on the homepage.

The Target Audience

people crossing a road to show target audience

There is a need to consolidate a solid understanding of the users who will interact with the website. The target audience (the ideal customers) defines the design, features and preferred functionality. Answers to questions like who will use the website, and why they will visit the website are essential to the design.

Specify the projected maintenance and updating plan for the website.

THE USER MUST COME FIRST!

The Design Requirements

Having the specific design requirements in the design brief ensures that the company and the designer can work and professionally meet the preferred results. I have already covered some requirements in the Goals and Objectives subdivision of the brief, but there might be other deliverables the company needs to have in the project’s design. Those could comprise associated copy documents, image assets that need to be included, brand guidelines, mockups, file formats, and anything else that the company believes will assist in the website’s design.

Privacy and Terms of Use will influence inclusion into Google and social media interactions and how the site interrelates with the visitors.

The Company’s Budget And Timeline

Indication of the budget and timelines will help the designer manage to realistically achieve the desired expectations. Mostly the budget will be left to the company and not to the designer, but the project components are as vital for the creative team as to the company.

Specify allocated budget to all stages of the project, such as initial consultations and research, design development, copywriting, testing and review to avoid the harmful “kitchen sink syndrome” (scope creep), when the scope of the project is not properly defined and documented, and affects the operational efficiency of the project work.

The timeline is a must-have for the briefs. In the timeline’s schedule, be realistic and account for potential variations or unforeseen obstacles. Specified timelines also help into the operational efficiencies of the company and put all parties into the same page.

Web Design Case Studies

I recommend that the designers create case studies for the projects they build. Case studies include sequence, problems, successes and systematic information of the work process, the unique personality and style of the client. They offer the irreplaceable inspiration to future web design projects and an archival of the design work.

In the case studies, the designers should write a narrative of their thinking process, iterations and accurate key results. The main items should be:

Overview

It is the executive summary of the project, the abstract of the casework you are writing. The main problem, the outline of the solution and the key results. Mostly this part is the last one to be written as you scan over the key parts of each milestone and their synopsis.  

Content

Refer to the detailed description of the context and challenges the project provided to understand the factors and problems that they hired the designer to solve. The website should approach tangible goals and objectives related to the problem.  The identity of the website function to the company and quantifiable metrics obtained at the beginning of the project along with information the designer obtains from conversations with the client become the basis of the project goals and objectives to reach.

Design Process Detail

Relate the creative concepts and insights that were directed to the decisions and results.  Try to illustrate your walk from the beginning to the solution in a logical flow of information, taking the client’s target audience and business industry. Items like the client’s unique properties, key differentiation from the competition and their audience’s behavioural habits, product tests, research interview and brainstorm key factors are essential pieces of information to the designer’s arsenal.

One of the most difficult aspects for the designer, besides gaining the client’s trust and confidence, is to identify the client’s target audience. If the client has substantial research about their customers, say “high five”, otherwise, you have to rely on your research and the product tests that have been done to help you guide your design decisions.

The Solution

photo of a target game to show a brief

This is the time when you get to show your talent, skill and style as a designer. Include features like videos, landing pages, navigation structure, the content strategy, unique mobile attributes and other features that were created for the project. It is essential to include a written description of the design work. Show detailed explanations of the work you have created to complement the visual assets

The Results

It is crucial to cover the qualitative and quantitative success metrics from the project, such as contextual inquiry and other results you obtained from the test procedures. Each project is a project, with different variations depending on the objectives established between the designer and the client. Ensure that your work had a direct influence on meeting the goals as a way to build trust and confidence.

Include also short testimonials of your process, creative thinking and quality to create and develop a reputable reference of your value to this client and future ones.

Focus On The Company’s Goals

The thinking thought that must run through the whole brief is the focus on the goals. The brief is a starting point to reach them. Be specific, clear, focus on the required outcome, and impeccable communication with the target audience.

Web designers do not work to create a brief; they work from the brief.

In Moss51 Art & Design, we like to work in partnership with clients. We love to chat. Our normal working process covers briefly:

  1. Elaborate on the website design brief in collaboration with the client,
  2. Written agreement on work procedures, requirements, payment terms, project management, content, and other items necessary for the formal request,
  3. Start the design and build the website,
  4. Review and deliver something amazing!

Let’s do something amazing!

Sources:
http://businessknowledgesource.com/smallbusiness/writing_a_business_brief_023513.html
https://www.thinkingjuice.co.uk/blog/how-to-write-a-good-brief/
https://offers.hubspot.com/creative-brief-template?hubs_post-cta=author&_ga=2.199125039.1422052320.1575880892-1553509748.1561707285
https://thedma.com.au/website-design-brief-template/
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/creative-brief
https://www.shopify.com.au/partners/blog/100022086-how-to-write-a-design-brief-to-keep-your-web-design-projects-on-track
https://www.shopify.com.au/partners/blog/87782278-how-to-write-a-web-design-case-study-that-lands-new-clients

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Cidinha Moss