How to brief a designer for the best marketing results

Posted on Design, Educational, How To

Whether you’re a client or a designer yourself, we’re sure you’ve run into some roadblocks with each other along the way. Designers often feel overwhelmed when they aren’t given enough of the right information to create something they’re proud of. Clients and brands often feel frustrated when it doesn’t seem like their aesthetic is being met. It all comes down to being able to brief a designer well.


We will use this article to attempt to solve this dilemma. We’ll highlight what designers should be doing and asking for to ensure they have what they need to make a strong start, as well as how clients can upskill their own graphic design knowledge to better communicate what they want in their deliverables. 


Provide context


Give the designer absolutely everything they could possibly need to holistically understand your project, product or business, even if it feels like you’re overcommunicating. A graphic design team can use anything and everything from who your audience is and what time of year a project is going live, to which platforms you’re selling on and who your investors are. In order to create work that perfectly captures your look, feel and function, they need to know a lot more than just your colour palette and which fonts you prefer. 


Send them your brand guide


Speaking of colour palettes and fonts, they do obviously need this as well, and they should be able to find them in your brand guide, along with any other visual references and rules you can give them. There is no such thing as too many references. Anything and everything you like and think could be a fit for your visual style, include it! 


It would be helpful here to ask your chosen design team if you can work on a mood board with them. They’d create the mood board based on your brand guide and you’d run through it together to talk about which creative choices are and aren’t working for you. 


You could comment on whether there is too much of one colour, font or type of image being used, or not enough. Are you happy with the ratio of text to imagery? Are there too many people and faces or not enough? Looking at it, do you want to define which fonts should be used for big bold headings and which should be used for smaller items like descriptions and price tags.


We know this seems tedious and like these details may not matter, but it’s more beneficial to iron them out now, rather than when there’s a deadline ahead with no clear vision.


Deliver the right assets


When the designers ask you for assets, make sure you send images that are of good quality. Tiny images don’t work well on digital platforms and are challenging to edit. And while it is always advisable to send more rather than less, never send a massive batch of images without going through them first. This will ensure that designers aren’t working with images of things that are outdated, no longer available or unapproved. Only ever send images and other visual assets that are allowed to be used so that your design team doesn’t have to redo work unnecessarily. 


In the same vein, designers should also be providing you with deliverables in the format and style that you need. You should never receive an asset from a designer that doesn’t fit, crops off when it is uploaded or is rejected upon upload. It could be helpful here for clients to do a bit of research into what the different formats are and what sizes each platform requires, especially when it comes to web images. Know the difference between a jpeg and a png and what gets used where, and what image sizes are needed for each social platform and area on your website. You are more likely to get the right thing if you are empowered to ask for the right thing. 


And yes, a sufficient, defined deadline does count as an asset too. 


More references


If you’re new or you’re working on a rebrand and honestly don’t know what you want, but feel like you will know it, or parts of it, when you see it, show, don’t tell! Graphic designers are visual creatures and this will help them help you find your vibe. 


If this is the case, you won’t be able to give them a tight brief, but you can send them any visual references instead to build up a brief together. Show the team what you like about visuals from your competitors and even just random inspiration from around the web. While it may take more time for a conclusive, cohesive look to come together, it gives your designers the space to flex their creativity. 


And don’t forget to talk about what you all don’t like right up front to ensure nothing unknowingly sneaks in along the line.


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READ MORE: 3 reasons all businesses need a brand mood board


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