How to brief a graphic designer effectively

Have you ever heard the phrase, 'garbage in, garbage out'?

It usually refers to computer programmes, but it's actually a useful adage to remember when it comes to briefing graphic designers.

That's because designers, and indeed any creative professions, rely on high quality briefs to create high quality work.

Read on to find out how to brief a graphic designer effectively.

What's the goal of a graphic design brief?

You might be able to sum up what you want a graphic designer to create in a single sentence, but there's so much more information needed in order to produce an asset that's going to be effective.

A graphic design brief should feature all of the technical details, including:

  • Who is the target audience of the asset?
  • What is the purpose of the asset and what problems should it solve?
  • What colours, fonts and other aesthetic style requirements are there? The brief should also include a link to brand guidelines.
  • What's the budget for creating the asset?
  • What's the deadline for creating the asset?
  • What are the required deliverables? For example, do you need a JPEG or PNG? Do you also want the design files in order to make future tweaks?

The scope of each graphic design brief will vary, and some of these points might not need to be covered, but this initial work is essential in order to get a clear picture of what's required from the project.

6 steps for briefing a graphic designer effectively

In order to brief a graphic designer effectively, follow these six steps.

1. Have clear brand guidelines in place

Lots of different elements go into a digital asset including colours, imagery, fonts and logos.

These different elements need to be considered for every single brief you create, but by creating set brand guidelines you won't need to repeat your company's font choice every time.

2. Create a brand overview

Each design brief should start with a brief overview of your company and brand, including your existing visual identity, as well as the company's mission and culture. This is a great place to link to your brand guidelines.

3. Define the project's target market

Creating a document that clearly defines your target market is essential for your marketing strategy, but it's not limited to the big picture, and even graphic designers should know who they're creating content for.

Ask yourselves what the demographics are of your target market (age, gender etc.), what their interests are, lifestyle and professional info, and what part of the world they're from. Location might not sound important, but cultural differences can inform what imagery will resonate with people.

4. Specify the deliverables

Let's say you need a graphic designer to create a series of featured images for your company blog. You've provided brand guidelines and explained the themes that should be represented by the images. Now you just have to wait for the designer to send back the images, right?

Wrong. Not being specific about the deliverables you want to get back is one of the biggest mistakes companies make when briefing designers.

You need to be clear about the different image dimensions you want, the file format (JPEG or PNG, for example) and whether you want the design files included.

READ MORE: Different image file formats explained

5. Outline the budget and timeline

Make it clear from the start how much money you have to spend on the project, and agree on a price before the designer gets to work. Ideally, this price will include at least one round of basic amends. This will avoid a potential awkward conversation with the designer once the project is completed and they send an invoice for more than you expected.

You also need to set out clear milestones - and this should be more than the one final deadline.

Think about the different stages of the project and when you'll need to approve things. Do you want to see some initial concepts before the designer works on the first draft?

There'll also be deadlines you should set for yourself as the client. For example, you might have to share access to your CMS and Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform, examples of what you're looking for or brand assets. If you miss your deadlines for sending these items over, the designer is going to miss their deadline, so it's essential you keep yourselves on track.

6. Set out expectations for managing the relationship

Define the communication channels between you and the designer for the duration of the project. If it's someone you work with frequently, maybe it's worth adding them to your internal comms platform. Do you want to discuss design edits over email or by collaborating on a live document of Adobe XD?

You also need to decide how assets should be shared between the two parties. ResourceSpace makes it easy to manage this process, allowing you to set specific permissions and securely share assets.

READ MORE: Problems ResourceSpace solves: Sharing resources

Ready to find out more about how ResourceSpace will benefit your organisation? Launch your free DAM system today.