Briefing a graphic designer

When I first started working with graphic designers, I didn’t know how to brief them so over the years I have learnt the hard way at times with not being clear on what it is that I am looking for.

Being on the other side and now doing graphic design work for my clients, it has further reinforced how important the briefing process is to get the right end result.

When working with a graphic designer it is crucial to give them a good brief, no matter what project it is.

Here are my tips from working on both sides of the fence:

  • Define your target audience – who do you want to reach with this design project. Think about who they are, what they are into, where they spend their time and how they make decisions around their purchasing.
  • Think about what emotions you want to evoke in your target audience – do you want your target audience to be inspired, feel happy or feel loved. Think about how your want this design job to make your audience feel or do.
  • List any key messages – if you have key messages for the project you are working on, list them. This will be a great help for the designer to understand what the key messages that you want to get across to your target audience are.
  • Include your objectives – what are you looking to have produced, what are the deliverables, what do you want to achieve and what specifications are their for various items being designed.
  • Include background information – any background information including any past design projects that are relevant to show the style that you have used in the past.
  • Send examples of styles that would suit the project you are working on – create a mood board to guide the designer when preparing concepts for you.
  • Include any logos that need to be included – ensure these are in high res files.
  • Include key information such as deadline and other timeframes, budget, list of deliverables, tone and manner.

If you are not sure what it is that you are looking for exactly, I would suggest that you look at other logos, collateral, stationery or whatever it is you want designed and start making a folder on ‘style inspiration’ that you can give to your graphic designer.

Not only does a detailed brief states what the client is looking for and hoping to achieve. It also provides a reference point for both sides, it also helps a designer provide a quote on the work to be done.

When working with clients, I send them a template to fill out that will give me the information that I need before giving them a quote for the work. It is crucial to have open communication and ask questions of each other to ensure that the end product turns out as per the brief.


If you have a design project that you would like to work with Sarah on, please contact her using the form below. You can view her portfolio here.

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