How to write a graphic design brief

The humble design brief


When commissioning any task, communicating your requirements effectively is essential to obtain your desired outcome. This is particularly crucial when conveying your needs in a design brief. Apply these easy-to-follow guidelines to guarantee your design work exceeds expectations every time.



You’ve identified your need to contract a new design project and you’ve picked a design agency to take your concept to fruition. Great! What’s next? 


To help ensure your design endeavour is successful the most crucial element to implement is a clear design brief. Your vision should be conveyed thoroughly but concisely in order to help your graphic designer take your idea from conception to hitting-the-nail-on-the-head completion. Leave the aesthetics part to your designer, that’s what you’re paying them for.


An effective design brief will focus on the results you want to achieve and outline the strategy for the project’s outcome for your business. It should cover your expectations before any work is commenced. Providing you’ve picked the right designer, getting this part right will ensure you get a first-class design that not only meets your needs but helps propel your business to new levels of success. 


Cover these step-by-step parameters and your design brief will be 90% picture-perfect. The remaining 10% will be ascertained by your designer after your brief is submitted.


Goal getting

Establish your goals for the project. What are you trying and to achieve and why? Are you looking for a complete rebrand overhaul or simply looking to update some promotional material? Is your aim to increase sales or improve brand awareness? It can be particularly useful to detail how you differ from your competitors here. Bonus points for including examples of old marketing material.

It’s all about you                                     

Be sure to include a summary of your business; what does your business do and what are your aspirations for the company? Some brief information including your company’s history will allow your design agency to get a feel for your brand and how to best serve you. Try to avoid jargon and technical terms that will require further explanation.

Content is key

Style and substance go hand-in-hand when producing winning marketing material. Dynamic pictures and copy (words) are a priceless tool to utilise in a successful promotional campaign. Supply imagery and copywrite to be included or contact details of those who will be providing them, if applicable. Ask your designer for recommendations for professional photographers and copywriters to level-up your project. Your design agency will have the experience of working with tried-and-tested professionals who deliver and will also have the benefit of an active working relationship to help ensure your vision is executed flawlessly.

Be specific

Supply your specifications. How will your design project be used? Common requirements include in print, for a website, packaging, business cards, stationery, vehicle graphics etc. Provide sizes or dimensions if relevant and any other appropriate information regarding materials, colours etc that may affect the design parameters.

On target

Provide details on your customer avatar to allow your designer to tailor your finished product to appeal to your clientele. Demographic and psychographic detail will be particularly beneficial, think about who you want to reach and be as thorough as possible. Age, gender, income, location, employment, marital status, education, lifestyle, tastes, views, and attitudes are all important demographics to cover. Include any information you feel might be relevant. 

It’s all in the detail

Pick out some examples of work that delivers the image you want to convey. Check out examples from competitors and select samples that you find both successful and suitable in order to provide a benchmark. Be vocal about the elements you like and dislike. If there’s certain styles you wish to steer clear of, be transparent. Communicating what to avoid can be just as important as the components you wish to include and certainly has the potential to save both parties a lot of wasted time.

On a budget

Calculate your budget and convey that to your chosen graphic design studio in the first instance. This may save you both valuable time by making sure the project is viable for both parties. Having an idea of your budget upfront will allow your designer to maximise your money by allocating appropriate time and resources to get you the best possible bang for your buck.


Providing a schedule for your project with a sensible deadline will help ensure your expectations are met efficiently and will let your design agency team consult with any outside service providers like printers, photographers, and copywriters etc if appropriate. Consider the different stages from conception to completion, like initial consultations, conception development, production, and delivery. Try to assist by providing approval or answers to queries promptly to help keep up momentum. Allow for as much time as possible for your project to be completed to avoid rushing but if a quick turnaround is essential, be clear with your timescales to avoid disappointment.

If communicating your brief seems daunting, fear not, because your designer will be more than happy to help shape your vision together and will be well-versed in asking the right type of questions to try to ascertain how best to meet your needs and deliver an outstanding result in a way that represents your company to perfection.

If you have a design project to launch, get in touch with the team at Copperwire Creative, our ethos is to create strong, long-lasting relationships with clients who require assistance with their graphic design requirements.


From concept to finished product:

One of Copperwire Creative’s completed projects illustrating the client’s visual content supplied and the end result.

Centurion Club Nutrition design example from brief to concept

Bringing words alive. From an original Word document to finalised brochure. 

Jigsaw@Work word document brief turned into a 32 page foundation workbook.