Design BriefDesign Brief

Design Brief Template

Identify the competitive landscape and your company’s relation to it.

About the Design Brief template

What is a Design Brief?

A design brief acts as a bridge between a business and a design agency. The document allows businesses to communicate their needs and desires to a design agency or team. When a business decides to hire a design agency, someone on the marketing team will typically write the design brief. A comprehensive design brief helps guide the design process, communicating what the designer needs to do and elaborating on any constraints.

How to use the Design Brief template

Businesses can expect to have numerous interactions with design agencies. Maybe you have hired a design agency to create your website, or build a landing page. Or maybe you have hired them to completely rebrand your site and marketing materials. Regardless of the project’s size, you will need a detailed marketing plan to work effectively with the agency.

Step 1: Start by discussing your goals. What do you want the design agency accomplish? Do you want them to overhaul your website, or design a new logo? Do you know exactly how you want your site to look, or do you want your agency to do some research and present their ideas? Be upfront about all of this information so your agency can start building a foundation for the project.

Step 2: Give your agency a budget and timeline. Design agencies are often juggling many projects at once. To ensure they complete the project on time and according to your preferences, give them a realistic estimate of your resources and time constraints. Are you looking to launch your website before a conference? Are you trying to create a landing page in time for a product launch? Do you have a limited budget to work with? Let your agency know.

This part of the design brief opens a doorway for a conversation with the agency. If your timeline or budget is unrealistic, then they can tell you about it in time for you to make a contingency plan. If your budget is too high or the project is easier than you anticipated, then you can end up saving some time or money. But your agency cannot have these conversations with you if you do not include the information in the brief!

Step 3: Include your target audience. Your design team is going to make different choices depending on the audience you want to reach. For example, a website designed for high schoolers is going to look a lot different from a website designed for CISOs. If you are not sure about your audience, explain who your ideal customer is. It might help to reference your competitors so the agency can do some research.

Step 4: Lay out the scope of the project. To partner with you, the design team needs clear parameters. Do you want a custom logo, or do you want the agency to adapt an existing template or design? Do you want an online store complete with a shopping cart, or do you just want a brochure site with information about your product? 

While you’re defining the scope, think about social networking features and blog integration too. This is your chance to create a holistic experience for your customers, audience, or clients. Draw out this experience in the design brief.

 Step 5: Show them what materials are available to them. Maybe you already have a bank of stock photos you’re using for your online content, or maybe you have a logo, a brochure, or photos of your product. Giving the design agency a glimpse at these materials can help them gain insight into your company’s aesthetic.

Step 6: Create a style guide. The style guide is like your narrative voice -- but instead of text, your medium is visual. It can be useful to give the design agency examples of websites with styles that speak to your audience. Tell them what color palettes you like and what kind of ambiance you want your audience to experience. Describe the adjectives and emotions you want your customers to associate with your brand.

Step 7: Enumerate a list of do-nots. If there are certain features you do not want on your site, colors or fonts you do not like, or layouts that are ill-suited to your product, then put that in the design brief.

Why write a Design Brief?

Writing a design brief will ensure an effective partnership between your business and your design agency. If you or your business is working with a design agency on any project, regardless of size, then you need to write a design brief. The design brief allows you to provide guidance to the agency so they deliver your project quickly, on time, and according to your specifications. In short, a good design brief can save you and the agency time and money.

When to use the Design Brief template

Use the Design Brief template any time you’re creating a design brief for a new project. You can use the template to outline the scope of your project, your budget and time constraints, and your preferred style.

Why the Design Brief is important

The design brief is the foundation of any creative project. A comprehensive design brief can serve as a business plan and source of truth. Throughout the project, your business and the agency can reference the brief to ensure everyone is on track, within budget, and delivering according to your timeline.

Design Brief Template

Get started with this template right now. It’s free

Related Templates
website-flowchart-thumb-webwebsite-flowchart-thumb-web
PreviewMore info

Website Flowchart

A website flowchart, also known as a sitemap, maps out the structure and complexity of any current or future website. The flowchart can also help your team identify knowledge gaps for future content. When you’re building a website, you want to ensure that each piece of content gives users accurate research results based on keywords associated with your web content. Product, UX, and content teams can use flowcharts or sitemaps to understand everything contained in a website, and plan to add or restructure content to improve a website’s user experience.

Website Flowchart
Lean UX Canvas ThumbnailLean UX Canvas Thumbnail
PreviewMore info

Lean UX Canvas

What are you building, why are building it, and who are you building it for? Those are the big pictures questions that guide great companies and teams toward success — and Lean UX helps you find the answers. Especially helpful during project research, design, and planning, this tool lets you quickly make product improvements and solve business problems, leading to a more customer-centric product. This template will let you create a Lean UX canvas structured around eight key elements: Business problem, Business outcome, Users and customers, User benefits, Solution ideas, Hypothesis, Assumptions, Experimentation.

Lean UX Canvas
strategic-planning-thumb-webstrategic-planning-thumb-web
PreviewMore info

Strategic Planning

Whenever you need to define your goals and figure out the steps you’ll need to take to accomplish them, you’ll benefit from a Strategic Planning template. The Strategic Planning template guides you and your team through exercises to help you assess your current situation, determine their goals for the future, and develop a plan to help them get there. Generally, strategy considers the goals or reasons for doing something while planning refers to the specific actions you’ll take in order to achieve a specific goal. But with strategic planning, you’re considering both at the same time.

Strategic Planning
Timeline Workflow ThumbnailTimeline Workflow Thumbnail
PreviewMore info

Timeline Workflow

A timeline is a visual tool that chronologically plots out projects step by step. It’s an ideal tool for your team to tell stories (such as an overview of events in your organization) and visualize your projects or processes. The Timeline Workflow template is perfect for any project that relies on visual content. You may find it beneficial to use with your team and also to share with other stakeholders or clients to keep them in the loop on your progress.

Timeline Workflow
Work Breakdown ThumbnailWork Breakdown Thumbnail
PreviewMore info

Work Breakdown Structure

A work breakdown is a project management tool that lays out everything you must accomplish to complete a project. It organizes these tasks into multiple levels and displays each element graphically. Creating a work breakdown is a deliverable-based approach, meaning you’ll end up with a detailed project plan of the deliverables you must create to finish the job. Create a Work Breakdown Structure when you need to deconstruct your team's work into smaller, well-defined elements to make it more manageable.

Work Breakdown Structure
Website Wireframing ThumbnailWebsite Wireframing Thumbnail
PreviewMore info

Website Wireframing

Wireframing is a method for designing a website at the structural level. A wireframe is a stylized layout of a web page showcasing the interface elements on each page. Use this Wireframe Template to iterate on web pages quickly and cheaply. You can share the wireframe with clients or teammates and collaborate with stakeholders. Wireframes allow teams to get stakeholder buy-in without investing too much time or resources. They help ensure that your website’s structure and flow will meet user needs and expectations.

Website Wireframing