Top tips on how to brief a designer

As communicators we often have to work with designers to help us produce visually appealing or arresting materials. In fact, with greater reliance on visual communications today, we are increasingly dependent on the ‘creatives’ in our midst. We therefore thought it would be a good idea to interview our designer, Mark Terry of Etcx3, to get his advice on the best way to brief a designer to ensure your vision is realised.

Here are Mark’s top tips…

  1. Be clear on your objectives. What are you trying to achieve? Who is the target audience? What timeline are you working to? As communicators you’ll appreciate that if you aren’t clear on your objectives you can end up a long way from where you wanted to be.
  1. Detail is good. You might think the briefer the brief the better, but in my experience the more information a designer has about a project the more likely it is that they will be able to answer your needs. So provide your designer with the context of the project if you can. Is it part of a bigger piece of work or series of projects? Have similar pieces been produced and were they successful? Does or will the creative work need to work across mediums and platforms? Sharing examples of design and materials that you like and dislike, and why, is often a great starting point.
  1. Be prepared to collaborate with your designer. While having a clear objective is a good thing, try not to start out with a rigid idea of how to achieve it. Leave room for your designer to be, well, creative. They might be able to suggest a better way of achieving the results you desire. Seek ideas and remain open to them, particularly when a designer tells you that the ‘white space’ is good!
  1. Ensure you allow enough time for the creative process. While great things can be produced under pressure, there are limits. The finishing touches, that silver foil finish or spot varnish that will make all the difference to the result, will take as long as it takes to dry. The best advice is always to start from the delivery date and to work back through the process, allowing time for drying and effects, printing, sign off, corrections, layout, idea development and the briefing of course. While you don’t have to worry about drying when it comes to digital design, you do have similar considerations with regards to development work and testing.
  1. Be realistic. This doesn’t just apply to the time you have to complete a project but your budget too. A good cost saving tip with regards to printed materials is to print the upper limit of what you think you will need in one hit. Never print twice – or pay the price!

Thank you, Mark!

Do you have any more tips for getting great creative work? If so, share them with us below…… And if you like the sound of working with Mark, contact info is on his website here.



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