How To Brief a Graphic Designer

How To Brief a Graphic Designer
5 min read

You might have an idea in your head about exactly what you want, the colours, imagery and design style, but that’s not what a graphic designer needs to know when you’re briefing them on a new project. Every marketing manager, at some point, will need to brief a graphic designer to create a brochure, logo, advertisement, packaging, social media post and much more. Getting the brief right is essential to ensure the output provides your business with precisely what you need. It might sound easy to write a brief, but some considerations are often overlooked. The design brief should be detailed but not instructive; it should provide background but not specific design instructions; it is the designer's job to use their skill to craft the perfect design to fit the brief.

Company background

A design brief should include information about the company's background, what they represent and the company's values. These values should come through in every piece of design work to convey the company's brand in the right light. Don’t try to sell your business to the designer; simply state facts and information that can help them understand who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. 

Target audience

The target audience is an essential part of the design brief; the graphic designer will tailor their design to the target audience you describe in the brief. Try to include detail and an example persona if you have one. This will help the designer get into your target audience's mind and craft a piece of marketing material that will appeal to them and others like them. This is arguably one of the most important elements of the design brief, so take your time and try to add detail to help the designer.


Your designer needs to understand what they will be creating, what size it will be printed or displayed on, and if there are any limitations to the ad format, image type or file size, etc. Include any detail here that you think will help with the design process, for example, the materials the design will be printed on or how the product will be displayed on the shelf. 

Deadline and time allowances

Most graphic designers need to take their time to think and perfect the best piece of creative. However, this is very rarely an option, and many design tasks have short deadlines or limited budgets. This information needs to be available to the designer so they can plan their time accordingly and make sure the job is completed within the required time.

The process

Many Hong Kong graphic design agencies will take a brief verbally. The account managers will do all of the hard work for you, taking your information and putting it into a formal design brief for the graphic designer before presenting you with design ideas. Once you have submitted a brief, the designer will go away and take your information and develop it into a working design. Honest and open feedback is an integral part of the design process. Designers do get things spot-on the first time in some instances, but there are many more occasions where designs need to be tweaked to fit the company's expectations. 

Creating a design brief isn’t easy; it can take time and practice to get all of the information across to the designer so they can understand exactly what is needed. By setting out a comprehensive design brief to the graphic designer at the start of the process, you can avoid too many issues with wasted time or needing to start the project again from scratch. When briefing a graphic designer directly, you should avoid too many design-focused instructions, although this is often hard if you have an idea in mind. The designer's job is to create something unique that will attract your target audience. If you go in with a set idea, you’re not going to benefit from the creative experience and skill of the graphic designer. However, that’s not to say you can’t suggest your idea, simply don’t force the graphic designer to go down that route if they think there are better alternatives worth exploring.


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