Writing Creative Briefs

“Just follow the 4 W’s.”​ 

Ever had yourself thinking: “I’m not a creative, I don’t know the first thing about writing creative briefs for my designer!”. That panic is fine. It’s natural. You’re being asked to think about concepts you’re not familiar with, and there can be a lot to understand.

But it can be simpler. Remember, here at E. Studios, we got you! We want to make it easier for you to understand your vision. At the end of the day, it helps us too— the more you can tell us what you’re after in detail, the better we can create that magic for you.

Here’s some soul-searching. Ask yourself who you are: as a brand, as a business, as a product to be marketed. If you can pinpoint this answer, everything else can follow. It’ll help you work out what fonts, what colours, what types of imagery you want to associate with yourself. If you’re up for it, you can even go into emotions like ‘fun’, ‘trendy’, ‘corporate’ or ‘sophisticated’.

Emotions are awesome because they’re what you want your target audience to see and feel when they connect with you. This also leads to the other ‘who’ question— who is your target audience? The most successful brands tailor their fonts, colours and imagery to connect with their target audience. Know who you are, then edit how you present yourself to best wow that audience.

Some common examples:

    • You’re a promoter and the hip-hop scene is your audience. You want impactful, graffiti-like fonts, bold but dark colours, and gritty, street imagery to connect with the urban style of your followers.
    • You might be a sports brand targeted to 30-something female clients who drink coffee and want to regularly go to the gym. You might be thinking middle-class professionals with disposable income. Sporty, but feminine fonts and colours. You want aspirational and sweaty imagery, but still clean.
    • You’re a business consultant. You’ve got qualifications and done hard yards at the office. You don’t want a gritty or artsy look for your corporate clientele. Instead, you’re doing sleek, simple fonts. Charcoal with a touch of silver is your preferred colour scheme. You want to say I’m a professional, I’m streamlined, and I’m authoritative.

Some of our clients will have what’s usually called a ‘Brand Guide’. Like a manual, it details the fonts, colours, and types of imagery used for their brand. If you got this, perfect! Send it to us to save a lot of work.

What do you need the designer to create? It seems like an easy question, but sometimes, you might only have a vague idea. You might be feeling pumped and say “I’m excited to do a marketing campaign”. Yes, that’s awesome! That helps us contextualise what we need to do.

The next step is to decide on what you actually need us to create. This is the ‘What’. Do you need a video or series of short videos to post on social media? Is it a poster, plus a sexy illustration of yourself to headline that poster? Maybe it’s a logo for an upcoming brand launch?

Once you know what you need from us, it’s time to hone in on specifics. We can help you out here because these can get technical, but it’s not a bad idea to be aware for yourself. We’re talking dimensions, resolutions, formats. For example, if it’s a flyer, you might want it in square (1080 x 1080 pixels resolution) or portrait dimensions (1920 x 1080 pixels). If it’s a video, you might want it snappy (15 seconds) or in a longer, explanatory length (e.g. 5 minutes)— and you probably want it in mp4 format.

If you’re tech-savvy and know these “specs”, let us know! But if you’re confused, that’s okay too. Give us a friendly chat, and we’ll help figure out what works best for you.

Some folks think this doesn’t matter, but telling us ‘where’ you’re showing off the work can help us create a better design for you.

As designers, we go through training to learn about how to tailor our designs for different forms of media. Just tell us where, and we’ll do the hard work from there. For example, if you tell us it’s for a newspaper or magazine, we’ll adjust the design so it works best in print. If it’s online, we’ll reduce the file size so it doesn’t load like a sloth when people access your website.

If needed, we may ask follow up questions such as “Who’s you’re printing company?”. You might not know the answer and panic, but the key thing here is you’ve told us the ‘where’. Once you’ve done that, we can guide any follow up conversation.

Finally, when do you need it? Is it ASAP? Yep, we get it. That’s cool. We totally understand this vibe. But if you give us an honest assessment of when you need it, we can better allocate our workloads.

Creative work is mentally taxing, and we have to make sure our designers can create in their best mindset. I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘Writer’s Block’. Maybe you feel something similar after a long day at the office (“Words, what are words!?”).

Designers also suffer from creative fatigue, and if we don’t take care of that, they might suddenly need to holiday (read: run away) on some faraway island in the Philippines for 2 months. Seems like exaggeration, but that’s kind of what our designer did to get her creative juices back.

Note that we can pump out rush jobs, but it’s an extra charge. Designers need a break too, and if they’re working overtime to get your design out immediately, we’d love it if you can support the effort they put in.

Talk to Us!

If you need help with the creative brief, we’re always happy to talk to you. To make sure all the details are right, we also run through the brief with clients before starting work. If you come prepared with the “Who”, “What”, “Where”, and “When” though, it’ll help us get farther when we chat and try to narrow down your designs.

Lanz De Jesus
BArts & AssocDeg (GamesDev), Virtual Assistant

25 February, 2021

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