When a client requests a quote, whether it’s a website design or a complete brand identity, a brief is needed before I can give an accurate estimate.
Some designers and agencies offer set pricing on their websites before a brief is given. The reason I don’t do this is that each project needs to be treated individually. Giving set prices on creative work before understanding a clients needs, limits the project to a one size fits all approach, which in turn means less effective and meaningful work.
Writing a simple initial brief shouldn’t be painstaking, it should actually be of great help to understanding what the design work needs to achieve.
Here a some basic tips to consider when writing an initial brief for design work:
Who are you? It may seem obvious, but it’s really important to explain clearly what your business does. The industry it is in, how long it has been established and the number of staff / customers it handles can all be essential to the design proposal.
Who are your customers? How do you see your company’s position in it’s marketplace compared to its competitors? Is the customer base local / national / global? Do you have social media profiles such as Facebook or Twitter?
How do you think your customers / employees perceive your company? Who are your main competitors and how do you differ from them? What personality or characteristics should the design work communicate? Why should people care about your brand? Would anyone notice if your company didn’t exist? What is important to your business other than making money?
Why is the work needed? Does the brand identity need to help change the image of company or build on its existing personality? Does the design of the website need an overhaul, or added functionality such as selling products? Does your website display well on a mobile device? How do people find out about you and how do you foresee this in future?
Like any other business outlay, design work costs money. By giving a budget, the designer can aim work out a solution that will fit within that budget. It does not mean that if the budget is £10,000, that the designer would charge £9,999. It means there is an clear upper limit to time and resources that can be spent on the project, so the best work can be done within those constraints.
Writing a design brief with these things factored in, allows the designer to put a proposal together based on the specific requirements of the project.
On a final note, remember design is not art — unique, effective and memorable work is only created through an efficient design process. A clear and considered brief is vital to this process.
How do you write a design brief? (David Airey)
A Client’s Guide to Design: How to Get the Most Out of the Process (AIGA – PDF file)