Briefing a designer

To brief a designer effectively, you must put together your ideas on: the business strategy behind the project; the project’s business objectives; the expectations of the project; and what you expect the project to involve. You can then produce a detailed document covering all elements of your design project.

This should contain sufficient information about what the project aims to achieve to make the proposals effective and relevant. This process will also clarify the process in your own mind.


Thoroughly does it

This brief can then be developed with the designer to help form a common understanding of objectives throughout the project, between your organisation and the designer. Prepare your brief as thoroughly as possible to minimise the chance of omitting something that might prove costly further down the line. Going through the process of writing your brief will help you to clarify the project in your own mind. Remember that everyone in the business can contribute.


Your brief should include:

Business Objectives

These are the goals of the project – what do you want to achieve? These should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related.


Project Outcomes

What will the results of the work be? How will you measure your success? What are the deliverables at each stage of the project?



What is the history and current standing of the market/product/service? Who/what is the competition? What is your marketing? Who is/are the target audience/s? What knowledge is available about the market?

Include all technical requirements, manufacturing and distribution details, and environmental issues. Are there any constraints to consider?


Project Management

What is the timescale? What is your budget? Has your project team been identified? Establish who owns the Intellectual Property Rights of the material being produced by the designer? Build formal reviews into your timetable.

You can use design to improve your business through the products and services you offer, and you can increase its effectiveness by planning for and using design strategically. By thinking about the ‘big design picture’, rather than focussing on one single product/service, you can link all of the parts of your organisation that benefit from design.