A design brief is a written explanation, given to the design team, that outlines the aims, objectives and milestones of a design project.
With the brief the challenge provider gives the designers the insight and background needed for their design. The brief is a powerful tool at the beginning of the design process, and warrants considered attention.
For the design team it is important to know the expectations and ambitions of the organisation it is working for. The challenge provider should try to describe all these aspects, as well as the aims of the new design, in as much detail as possible It may turn out then that those aims are not yet fully clear, or that thoughts on what the design should deliver have not reached culmination.. This is not a problem since design challenges are often of a complex nature and thus not easily definable and, when this is the case, the brief serves to identify this clearly. The brief helps to consider important issues before work begins.
The brief is thus a tool of communication between the organisation and the design team. Not only does it provide as much detailed background information as possible but it also clarifies the constraints within which the team needs to work and promotes mutual understanding and trust. A good brief can give the challenge provider a sense of involvement in the design process while showing the design team the strategy of the organisation. Communication between organisation and team is pivotal for successful design and the brief is a decisive first step. It is worth the effort to be detailed and to-the-point.
Cover the following topics in the brief, following up in writing when a representative of the organisation discusses these topics with colleagues, or gets feedback on the initial drafts of the brief.
Start the brief with a short synopsis of what your organisation does, for how long it has been providing services or products, and in which segments these are being offered …
What does your organisation strive for, what value does it deliver, what does it seek to achieve…?
Who is the organisation trying to reach? For whom is it delivering products or services?
What is the challenge that you want the design team to work on? Give a short description of this ‘problem’ and its context/background
Aims of the design work
What does your organisation seek to achieve with the design work on this specific challenge? What goals, ambitions, values, and perspectives do you share?
Do not describe here what you want the design team to develop, but the added value that you hope to achieve
Give a brief description of the history of the challenge/‘problem’ and – if there have been any – previous attempts/‘solutions’ to deal with it
Include information about your current use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ if they are important for your organisation to reach your target audiences..
Provide name, function, phone number, and e-mail address of the contact person so that the team can easily reach them.