Creative briefs are usually written in collaboration with an advertising agency, a design firm, or someone else working on the project.

The creative brief provides information about the work required to create your desired result.

Creative briefs vary in length depending on each specific project they support. The length of the creative brief will depend on how much you have decided on in terms of your goals, objectives, and expected outcome. A one-page document may be sufficient for something simple, like a logo design or brochure. If you are looking for an advertising campaign or website redesign, you will likely need a longer and more detailed creative brief to set up the framework.

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What does a creative brief contain?

A typical creative brief should contain some key elements. These include:

  • A brief description of the project, presenting the client’s name, the need or requirement, and background information. This can be as short as a paragraph or two.
  • A project schedule that details all critical milestones is organized to meet client schedules and timelines while considering audience needs, demographics, and brand needs. It might also include information on budget availability and how long each project phase will take to complete.
  • An outline of the project objectives and expected outcome. This document describes how the project will differ from the client’s current store or website. For example, if you are redesigning a client’s print catalogue, it would be helpful to mention features you hope to include that have not been previously discussed with them.
  • A list of potential creative solutions to meet these objectives. There might also be an explanation as to why each solution is being considered and any possible benefits or drawbacks associated with each option.
  • The budget that you have been given to work with. This part of the document will be helpful if your client has any questions about the amount of revenue they can expect to receive due to your efforts.
  • A budget allocation detailing any budget items that are considered “non-revenue”, such as operating expenses and administrative costs.
  • A list of creative deliverables for all media channels includes creative concepts, creative presentations, and creative concepts.
  • A brief description is attached to the creative proposal detailing what all of the deliverables can be used for, who owns each one and whether this is something that can be licensed or sold.
  • A project timeline using a calendar format. This will detail the steps that must be taken to complete each phase of work, including any milestones and anticipated dates for them. It will also include internal and external communication milestones that must be met.
  • Some creative briefs will include preliminary research and background information about the brand design, including current market data, demographics, and product and/or service information. This may include a description of other brands operating in this field or demographic to help assist with guided brainstorming sessions.
  • A brief note that specifies how the project must be completed. This can include any agreements or legal requirements that must be met before the work can begin.
  • A list of potential budget savings. This will include examples of the cost savings achieved by finishing all work in a single project phase or incorporating different ideas or concepts into one final deliverable.


A good brief results in a strong brand and brand application.

What should a creative brief not contain? The following ideas should be avoided:

  • Don’t include any information you aren’t willing to be accountable for. This could include anything you would be unwilling to defend in a court of law if the client were to question it at a trial.
  • Don’t include any information that is not relevant to the project or creative solutions being considered. This could include unnecessary information such as irrelevant historical data or unrelated company goals or objectives that serve only to scare off the possibilities.
  • Don’t write an entire creative brief without the input of your team or the client. You should have several brainstorming sessions involving both parties to determine what is most important and what should be contained in the creative brief.
  • Don’t risk involving outside writers or designers in your project before you first have all of your thinking, strategy, and communication channels in place. This could include graphic designers, copywriters, artists, or other individuals who need to be involved in the process to complete work effectively.
  • Don’t commit to anything you can’t deliver. If the client is expecting certain things from you and is not willing to wait for them, be sure to clarify their expectations and whether you will be able to meet them.
  • Don’t write your creative brief as a reaction against what the client requests or as a form of retaliation for something that has occurred in the past with this client or another one.

A creative brief template

You might find it helpful to download a creative brief template and review it with your client before you begin the project. You can then use this as a reference when creating your document. This will be particularly helpful if this is not your first time working together or if you have previously worked with the same company. If you have worked on other projects with the client and they like your work, they may request that you use some of your previous work as a reference.

If this is not the case, or if it is your first time working together, be sure to ask your client for any examples of previous work they like to help guide you as you begin creating your document.

Creative Briefs – How to write one

There are several different creative brief templates that you can select from, which will help you to express your ideas clearly.

If you have trouble creating a creative brief or have questions about the format, consider seeking professional branding help. A professional writer is likely to have a better understanding of how to properly express ideas and is more likely to be able to clarify anything that might be confusing.

If your creative brief is turned in several days before the agreed-upon deadline, it is likely that your client will become frustrated and may end up requesting a new one. If this happens, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.

Step 1:

Be sure to start by getting acquainted with the work that you have already done for your client. This will help you better understand what they like and how you can add value to the project before it begins.

Step 2:

If this is not the first time, you have worked with this client, discuss any previous projects they were happy with and any conditions or restrictions they may have regarding what they want their new marketing materials or brand identity materials to include.

Step 3:

If this is not your first time working with this client, highlight any goals that they have and why they are important to them. This will help you to understand and be able to communicate the importance of your work with them.

Step 4:

Discuss your ideas for the project and how you think that you can best express them. You should also discuss any ideas for the project that your client may not have previously considered.

Step 5:

If this is not your first time working with this client, discuss how their current budget will affect your work. Your client may need to increase or decrease the amount of work you are doing this time, or they may be able to do some of it themselves. This will help you to understand if they have any particular areas in which they would like you to focus.

Step 6:

Write down any notes that you have regarding any questions that your client has for you. They may ask you questions about any previous projects they liked, or they may want to know why certain pieces of work were done the way they were. At the end of this phase, be sure to ask them if they have any additional questions for you at this time.

Step 7:

Check with your client to ensure you have correctly understood what they want for this project. Ensure that there are no additional notes, questions or concerns you need to be aware of. If there are, address them at the earliest possible opportunity. At the end of this step, briefly summarize these in your creative brief so that your client can see where you are both in terms of thinking and understanding.

Step 8:

As you begin to write your creative brief, use formal English when you write and always refer to your client as Mr. or Ms Smith rather than by their first name. Be sure to be as clear, concise, and thoughtful in your writing as possible and keep it professional. There should be no debate or confusion within your document. If this is not the case, consider seeking professional help by contacting a reliable freelance writer who understands the industry you are working in.

Once you have finished your creative brief, do not forget to show it to your client for them to review and approve. Once they have approved it, be sure that you take a copy of it with you at all times, as this will help in case any questions need to be answered. This will also remind you of what is expected from the project and how it is going.

The designer or the ad agency usually gives the creative brief to the client to describe the printed marketing materials that will be created and sent out. A creative brief can also be used by a designer or ad agency to pitch a new advertising idea.

Who should write a creative brief?

The designer or the ad agency writes the creative brief. An agency brief is written for a brand, product, or service. In contrast, a design brief is written for a client to help them understand what the designer wants to create and teach them about the design principles, heritage, and background of the designer or agency. It is best to write a creative brief for yourself if you are an illustrator or graphic designer, as it can help you understand your work better and provide you with ideas and examples of projects you have worked on in the past.

The creative brief process:

The basic steps for writing a creative brief are:

  1. The designer or the ad agency should decide what they want to tell the client and what they want to get out of this project.
  2. They should define the objectives and ensure they are clear and specific.
  3. They should set a timetable for how long this project will take so it can be realistic and achievable.
  4. They should set up the target audience and define their needs.
  5. They should specify the competition and what they have done in the past to get success.
  6. They should describe their brand, product, or service to help the client know more about it.
  7. They should write down the expected design elements included in this work, such as photographs and illustrations, typography, colours, and layouts for different media platforms like web, print, packaging, branding, etc.
  8. They should put in a budget estimate and how that budget will be used.
  9. They should mention the preferred media formats they want to use and the timing deadlines they have set up.
  10. They should explain what happens after the creative brief is written so it can be implemented properly.

The creative brief is used for a variety of purposes, including:

  1. Filling in the blanks – A creative brief helps to put everything down on paper, from inspiration to the strategizing and planning of the project.
  2. Communication – A creative brief acts as a written contract between the client and agency, outlining everyone’s expectations for the project. It also serves as a roadmap for everyone involved.
  3. Meetings – A creative brief serves as a key component in meetings with clients and stakeholders, helping to define what everyone wants from a project and how they will get there.
  4. Critiques – A creative brief is an excellent tool for documenting a project and assisting in the assessment of its success or failure.
  5. Foundation – A creative brief helps to form an ongoing foundation for each project, moving it from good to great.

The creative brief is an important element in any design project, whether it is the first time doing so or not. It can help a lot of people in their jobs. The creative brief is now under great influence in the graphic design industry, with many designers and agencies opting to use these briefings. Although you may find some companies using this format, it is mainly used by ad agencies and companies that want their work to be more specialized.

A graphic designer has many responsibilities, one of which is to deliver a creative brief which can be very tricky. A creative brief is a document that helps the designer to define the purpose of the design and how will it be done, for example, what will be the theme, style, colour, and more.


It’s very important that when a graphic designer gets a brief from his client, they must look at it from different perspectives so he could deliver not just what the client wishes but something more. A good creative brief does not let misunderstanding happen between designer and client. A creative brief keeps going even after the project has been delivered to its final stage.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.

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