How to write a design brief

When writing a design brief, the most important thing to consider is your objectives for this specific piece of work. What is the purpose of it and how do you anticipate it being used? More importantly, what do you want the outcome of this specific piece of creative to be?

Consider the direction you would like the artwork to go in. It’s not your job to spell it out to the designer exactly how the artwork should look, that is ultimately why you employ the services of a designer, but without getting inside your head, the designer may stray far from your brand or what you have in mind if sufficient information is not supplied.

Having a clear understanding of the points above will set you on the path to success when it comes to creating a design brief.

What exactly is a design brief?

Essentially, the design brief is the stepping-stone between your brain and the designer’s. It allows you to communicate your wants and needs clearly, and when written effectively, it can save you lots of time clarifying things in backwards and forwards emails.

A design brief doesn’t need to be a huge document, but setting out some key points will help you, and the designer focus their mind.

Implementing design briefs into your projects

We’d recommend creating a specific template document, especially if more than one person in your team is responsible for creating design briefs. That way you can be more confident that marketing materials will be consistent.

Our experience is good quality design briefs result in best possible outcomes all round, from the speed of service, to quality of the creative, right through to achieving your organisations objectives.

If you would like some artwork creating but still don’t feel comfortable tackling a design brief, please do get in touch as we will be more than willing to help you with putting one together. Alternatively, you can download a version of ours here.

To discuss your next creative project and how we can help, please call Hollingwood Design & Print on 01422 646720 or email

What should I include?

  • An overview of the business
    Relevant information including the sector and any services or products on offer. You should also include the brand mission and values that you want to be echoed in the design, and a list of competitors.
  • What you aim to achieve by developing the artwork
    What is the purpose of creating the artwork? Is it to generate sales, attract new students to your school, or to get more sign-ups to your events?
  • Your target audience
    If you have a specific target audience, the designer needs to know this in order to ensure they have the best chance at targeting the right market.
  • Project timescale
    How fast do you need this turning around? Here, it is worth factoring in time needed to send the artwork to print if necessary.
  • Copy
    What content needs to be included. Is there anything in particular that should be included on the artwork? E.g. statistics or calls to action. Most importantly, don’t forget the contact information! What should your audience do once they have read your content?
  • Colour and typeface palette
    This is essential to ensure the piece is on brand. Include company colours, logos and any specific typefaces. If you have a brand guidelines document that you can share, even better.
  • High quality images (if necessary)
    Images can sometimes be the finishing touch to an effective design. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the designer will have access to a pool of stock images if required. In this case, make sure this is stated and describe the types of images you wish to have included.
  • Key points of contact
    Who is the key point of contact for the project for sign off and who else is involved in the decision making?
  • Do’s and Don’ts

Is there anything specific that needs to be included? What are the absolute no no’s e.g. use of certain colours, layout in a certain way?

  • Examples of other work

If you have examples of previous work you have done, or you’ve seen examples of work by other companies share this and make sure you indicate what you like. On the other hand, you might also want to share what you don’t like.