How to brief a designer so you get the look you want

Posted on June 12, 2015 by Nikki Lane

Whether you are setting up a new company or overhauling your website learning how to brief a designer on the thoughts in your head and about the look you want is a vital part of the process.

Designers aren’t mind readers and they don’t have any pre-existing knowledge of your business so how can you brief them in the best way possible?

You need to describe what you have in mind in as much detail as possible.

This briefing part of the process will be smoother if you have some ideas about what you want before your first meeting. Whether it is a colour, logos/brochures/websites that you love, some key words that describe your business or an even a photo or image you like, the more information (both verbal and visual) you can provide to the designer the better.

If there are things that you are absolutely sure you do or don’t want in your design communicate that from the start too. For example you might hate pink, be determined to have a long and narrow logo or want use an image of a horse on every single piece of marketing you produce. All those choices are up to you (never forget whose design this is) and there is no point in not making them clear from the first meeting.

One of thing that can be very helpful is to think about your business’ core values (link) and share them with the designer so they know what kind of message you want to get across and the feeling you want to create for your clients. I once asked a designer to do a web button for me. I gave her the text and told her the colour but when she sent back a sample web button it was completely wrong for my business. That was when I realised I had forgotten to communicate to her the ‘feeling’ I wanted the people to have prior to clicking on the button. As soon as I did that, she came back to me with a second design that was perfect.

Before you brief a designer here are some things you might like to think about…

  • What you are trying to achieve
  • What designs you need – a logo, a website, letterhead and so on
  • Your budget
  • Your deadline
  • Who are your clients, who do you want to appeal to
  • Any materials you already have
  • Any decisions you have already made about the design
  • Strong likes or dislikes
  • Samples of things you like

What message are you trying to communicate to your clients though your designs?

What Others Are Saying

  1. Carole Gridley June 23, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    This is great, thank you. Oh, the arguments with designers about “medium” taking over from “message”!

    • Nikki White June 26, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Hi Carole, yes… conversations with designers can get very convoluted if you don’t have a really clear idea of what you want. Glad the article helped you.

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