Why do you need to put together a creative brief when planning for a website (re)design?
The way the creative mind works, there isn't just one magical pathway to your new design or any single “best practice” that applies to all websites universally.
Website design is a sequence of problem-solving that—through information, context, analysis, and data—leads to your unique creative design solution. The better and more accurate the input, the better and more targeted the output will be.
On the flip side, overloading your designer with more information than she needs can be counterproductive.
So, what does that mean when putting together a brief for your creative team?
Like my Italian grandmother used to say about the thickness of an eggplant for parmesan… not too thick, not too thin. It needs to be just right.
Having worked on both the client-side and the designer side, I’ve learned how to write concise briefs.
What follows is a snapshot of what I’ve found useful to include.
Providing answers to the following questions will help set your design team up for success.
Provide your designer with a half-or one-page summary of your business:
Include a paragraph or two about the intended audience. Be specific if you have more than one audience and if specific products or services apply to each.
It isn't necessary to dive into what type of milk they drink or their favorite band, but do provide standard demographic information and preferences pertinent to your business or industry.
This is where you dig into the whole reason you are redesigning your website. You'll want your designer to know:
Think of it this way... what your site looks like should make the user feel something. What does that mean to you? I recommend writing down:
Branding is a very powerful design tool. So include any information the designer needs in order to ensure they are maintaining the authenticity of the brand you've built.
If you are rebranding, provide a list of things that can’t change (like a company logo and color palette) and the things that can (fonts, graphics, imagery, copy).
In addition to your creative brief, set up a Dropbox so the designer has access to the following items:
I also find it helpful to supply a series of links:
This is a topic all on its own. For the sake of the creative brief, provide detail as to whether you will be providing the sitemap or if your design agency is to prepare this for you.
If you will provide your own sitemap, include a summary of your header and footer elements, such as links, top-level navigation, secondary navigation, calls-to-action in the header area, and the contents of your footer.
Your designer will need to know exactly what pages will be included in your site and how a visitor will get to them. Attach separate documents detailing your sitemap.
Include all existing and new URLs and distinguish between ones you will keep and ones you will need to redirect.
If your design agency is going to prepare your new sitemap for you, provide any suggestions or insight you have to get them started.
Your agency will then be able to pull a current listing of all of your URLs and develop an optimized sitemap strategy for you.
It’s important to outline in your creative brief what you will be providing and what you would like your creative team to do for you.
This may include:
Provide all technical information about your site...
It may seem like a lot of information to gather and compile into a cohesive document, but doing this work upfront will streamline the creative process and enables your designer to not only focus on your unique website solution but also get it up and running faster!
Piecing together a website design creative brief also provides a great opportunity for you to think critically about your website design project and what it means to your company.
Any other tips you have for creating a design brief? Any questions about this process? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Tags: Website & Graphic Design