Design success can be a very hit and miss process, with miscommunication and misunderstandings resulting in costly time wasting that is frustrating for everyone concerned. In the digital world that most of us now occupy, however, design work has become a necessity and whether it is being undertaken internally or externally, the ability to write a concise and accurate brief can be the difference between success and spending days going over and over the same thing. Below we list a few of the key points for writing an effective design brief to help you achieve it first time around.

1. Identify your target audience. This is absolutely key if you want to make sure the designer understands the market you’re aiming for. It will make a big impact on the final design too, as there’s a vast difference between design that will appeal to 60+ women and the right approach for a teen market. Identify the age and sex of the audience, as well as what they are looking for that would lead them to your product or service.

2. Define your business and your brand. This will impact the entire message so take a small paragraph to set out who you are and what you’re trying to achieve.

3. Colours and images. This might seem simplistic but will form the basis of the design so it’s a good idea to be clear about these from the start. Provide images you like from sites like Pinterest – you don’t usually need to worry about copyright as they’re just for information, not to be published – and set out the specific colours, or shades/tones that you want incorporated.

4. Getting your values across. Dedicate a part of the design brief to focusing on the feelings and messages that you want to communicate – keep this simple and short but make each one communicative and powerful.

5. Style is key. Make sure your designer understands the style you’re going for as there’s an enormous gulf between ‘traditional’ and ‘pop,’ for example. Minimalist, decorative, artistic, contemporary and chic are a few of the terms you might want to consider for your style briefing.

Writing a good design brief is the key to getting a great service from your designer, whether they’re within your organisation or external. Not only will this foster better working relations but it will save time and money too.