How to Write a Design Brief (Template Included!)



Read Time

35 min


13 July, 2020

Writing a design brief can be time consuming and frustrating.

The thought of sitting down to create a design brief can scare even the most seasoned of marketing managers because it can be a tricky task! But not with our help.

A design brief is a vital document used to help communication between yourself and your chosen design agency.

It forms the fundamentals of your design project, and keeps everything in check if the wheels start to wobble a little bit.

The Design Brief Template

The Design Brief Template is a free template that will help you get the foundation for your design project right. ...

Even if you’re just scoping out agencies to work with, having a well thought out design brief will make obtaining a quote for your design work easier.

Some design projects you might have in mind could include:

  • Introducing a new brand to the market
  • Rebranding your company
  • Launching a new website
  • Improving your content marketing efforts
  • Launching a new digital marketing campaign
  • Expanding your product range
  • Running a print advertising campaign
  • Designing a new exhibition stand

In any of these cases, a well written design brief will help to keep your project running smoothly. It keeps everyone on the same page, aligning expectations, and making sure both parties understand the goals of the project.

Trying to run a design project without a brief is difficult because you’re relying on telephone calls, email threads, and handwritten notes – a recipe for disaster.

If you’d rather watch us talk about design briefs than read about them, we’ve created a video to help out:

What Is a Design Brief?

A design brief is a written document that tells your chosen agency everything they need to know about your design project.

It doesn’t have to be huge as it’s a top level overview of the project that can be used to help external branding and design agencies understand more about your business.

Typically it’s served up as a Word Document or PDF, but some marketers like to get crazy with Powerpoint too and make their brief that way!

From a practicality point of view, the commenting features in a Word Doc, Google Doc, or PDF make it easiest for your design agency as this way, you can share ideas back and forth.

Remember a design brief is not set in stone. It’s supposed to evolve as you think of new and exciting ways to bring your brand to life.

What Is a Design Brief Used For?

A design brief is used to communicate your requirements with a handful of selected design agencies.

Typically, it’s a Company Director, Marketing Director, Marketing Manager, or Marketing Executive that is tasked with writing the design brief.

But, if you’re a startup founder or small business owner, then you should learn how to write a design brief too.

Here’s an example of when you should write a design brief:

If you’re a Marketing Director working at a business who is looking to launch a new brand, you would send your design brief to agencies that offer branding services that you want to contact about your new launch.

If you contact several agencies about your design project, and don’t attach your brief, you’ll find that more often than not, you’ll get asked for it.

Or failing that, you’ll end up on several different calls asking the same questions, which you could have covered off in one well written design brief.

Design Briefs vs RFPs

If you’re based in North America, it’s quite common for briefs to be classed as an RFP (request for proposal) or an RFQ (request for quotation).

We’ve got an entirely separate post about that. So if that seems more inline with your requirements, go ahead and check out How to Write an RFP or RFQ.

Typically there’s not much difference, but an RFP can be more widely focused than just on design. Have a read anyway and pop back here if you’re looking for a design project!

A man looking at a wall of post-it notes representing a rebranding checklist.

Why Is a Design Brief Important?

By writing a design brief, you’re getting the ideas for your project out of your head, and down on paper. This helps drive a better understanding of your project from all parties involved.

When contacting agencies, you’re hoping for several things:

  1. They know about your industry
  2. They know about your company
  3. They’re excited about your project

But none of these things are a given.

Your design brief serves to make these things a reality.

No agency on earth can know the ins-and-outs of every single industry on earth. Enter your design brief.

The chances are, unless you’re the Marketing Director of a huge company, they won’t have come across you. Enter your design brief.

And how are they going to get excited about your project if they don’t know anything about it Enter your design brief.

Imagine you run a design agency, and this is the email you get:

“Hey, we’re looking to rebrand our company and like your work.”

For all emails like this do pique your interest, it’s always a lot more exciting to receive an email with a brief attached. You don’t want the agency to think this is just a scattergun approach and you’re just reaching out to every agency there is.

You want to include enough information to get the cogs turning.

Let us know why you’re reaching out, and how we can partner with you to solve your problems. It’s always great to get an insight into the project first to think of new ideas.

Photograph of a person working on a laptop

Who Should Write a Design Brief?

If you or your company are looking to partner with a design agency on a project, then you need to write a design brief.

We find with SMEs and larger companies, it’s usually the Marketing Director, Marketing Manager, or someone on the Marketing Team that would be in charge of creating or writing the design brief. Then, Marketing Executives would use it when reaching out to potential design agency partners.

In smaller companies, it’ll usually be the owner/operator of the business. In this situation, they’re usually quite time poor, and the brief will be less comprehensive.

And that’s not a problem either!

Like we said earlier, it doesn’t have to be a huge document. We’re giving a taste of what we think the design project might be and what we might need.

It’s important to keep in mind that your design brief should highlight the problems you’re facing. Not the solutions you need.

You focus on the problem, and let your agency focus on fixing it for you.

A good design agency can help you formalise or build on your design brief, by dissecting it and asking you thoughtful and insightful questions.

Your design brief isn’t a finished article. It’s an overview that can be fleshed out and finalised with your chosen agency.


Good design work comes from good partnerships.

Learning to trust your chosen design agency early on will help deliver better results for your business in the long run.

Design agencies have a poor reputation, because unfortunately, there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there.


If you follow these steps, you should be able to find a great design agency to work with.

Person pointing at post it note on glass window

What Sort of Projects are Design Briefs Used For?

The design brief is a document used across a wide range of industries.

We see design briefs used in a range of different projects, including:

  • Branding and Rebranding
  • Website Design
  • Ecommerce
  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • Fashion Design
  • And more.

Chances are, your design brief will come in useful across most design related industries.

Whether that’s a packaging project, or an ecommerce website project, a design brief gives you something more to work with than a “blank canvas.”

The typical projects we see at Canny that come in accompanied by a brief are:

  • Branding projects (where a range of branding services are typically required)
  • Rebranding projects (when an existing company needs to change)
  • Website projects (be it a standard website or something more complex)

At the end of the day, a well written design brief will make everybody’s life easier.

If you’re finding it difficult to make, then stop right there. Try a different way.

Maybe you can record yourself describing a bit about your business and the problems you’re facing.

It doesn’t always have to be a standard written document!

Do what works, just get your ideas about your project documented so your chosen agency can start to help you out.

Now that we’ve talked about design briefs in general, let’s jump into some frequently asked questions.

Design Brief FAQs

Just a list of the most frequently asked questions on design briefs:

  • What is a Design Brief?

    A design brief is a very important document used to help you communicate with a design agency of your choosing, be it Canny Creative or whomever.

  • Why Do We Need a Design Brief?

    A design brief forms the fundamentals of your design project, and keeps everything in check so that you don’t start to lose track of your original idea.

    In other words, it keeps everything in check to ensure that the work is meets your expectations and requirements.

  • Who Should Write a Design Brief?

    In SMEs and other larger companies, it’s person responsible for writing a design brief is typically the Marketing Director, Marketing Manager, or someone else occupying the Marketing Team.

    In terms of smaller companies, it’ll usually be the owner/operator of the business writing it.

  • People Also Ask: How Long Should a Design Brief Be?

    A design brief should be as long as you need it to be. It’s a cop-out answer, I know, but design tasks vary in size and scale, so to give you an accurate word count would be next to impossible.

Stack of empty packaging on white background

What Should Be Included In Your Design Brief?

Writing a good design brief is no easy task. And if you’ve never done it before, expect to spend a good chunk of time writing and reworking it.

You need to make your brief easy to understand, compact enough to retain interest, but comprehensive enough to give a good overview of your situation.

So, what should be included in your design brief?

As a top level overview, a written design brief should include:

  • An Overview of Your Business
  • The Objectives of Your Design Project
  • Your Target Audience and Market
  • The Problem You’re Facing
  • Project Specific Information
  • More About Your Business
  • Examples of Work You Like
  • Competitor Information
  • Project Timescales
  • Project Deliverables
  • Project Budget
  • Contact Information
  • How the Project will Be Awarded
  • Required Response

And again, depending on whether you’re writing a branding brief, rebranding brief, or web design brief, you might add several sections to the structure of this.

For now, let’s take a look at writing a design brief based on the outline above. This is also the format that our design brief template follows.

So, how do you write a design brief? Let’s dive in.

An overview of your business

The first thing you should explain when writing your design brief, is about your business and the sector you work in.

Try to answer the following questions in your business overview:

  • What do you do and how do you make your money?
  • How do customers currently buy from your business?
  • What makes your business unique within the marketplace?

Every design project relies on all parties having a clear understanding of the business they’re working with and the sector they’re working in.

The more you can offer in the first instance here, the better.

For example:

  • At Canny Creative, we create brands, websites, and content plans that get our clients real business results.
  • Currently, most of our clients come through our website, thanks to our content strategy. Because our content appeals globally, we have clients across the world.
  • What makes us unique in the market is our partnership based approach. We treat our clients’ businesses like they’re our own, rather than a quick cash grab.

This sort of simple information is a great way to kick off your design brief and helps frame the information that follows.

The objectives of your design project

Your company doesn’t just decide to rebrand or build a website at random, there’s always a driving factor.

Perhaps your website isn’t mobile friendly, or the brand has moved in a new direction and your identity needs updated to reflect that.

It’s great that a decision has been made, but let your design agency know why.

Then get clear on your goals.

Your goal for a branding project, could simply be something like:

“We need a new brand identity to help us stand out from the noise. The market place we operate in is crowded. Therefore, differentiation matters. Our space is saturated with boring brands, we want to make a difference with the way we look.”

The goal here is differentiation. Simple enough.

A website project goal could be even more basic:

“Our website doesn’t sell enough products. We want to know why, and then make the necessary adjustments to make it convert more of our visitors into paying customers.”

Having a goal not only gives your agency something to work towards, it also gives you something to measure against.

How to measure if your objectives have been met

Another thing to ask yourself here is, “what will make this project a success?”

This links back to the goals and objectives of your project.

If you’re going to judge its success or failure, it’s only fair to let the agency you work with know what the criteria are.

For example, if you’re hoping to 10x your sales, you need to include this in the design brief.


Because it’ll change how the agency approaches your project from the outset.

Rather than spending time on creating pixel perfect website designs, they’ll be running quick tests for conversions and designing around the results.

Having a set of “success factors” can help all parties drive the correct response and results. The more information you can give your agency the better.

It ensures everyone knows what their responsibilities are, and will help to create the project plan.

person holding customer persona worksheet

Your target audience and market

One of the most important things to include when you write your design brief, is a section about your target audience.

Here’s the deal: Design is often used to solve problems for your customers, as well as your business.

The job of a design agency isn’t just to make your brand look pretty. Sure, that might help at times, but at its core, your branding should serve as a problem solving tool.

A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that last, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to chose your product over another – Seth Godin

You need to communicate with your audience about how you fulfil their wants and needs. Crafting your brand is the way to ensure this happens.

Consider the following scenario:

Your website isn’t converting visitors into customers.

And why is that? It’s because your website isn’t working for your customers so they’re bouncing back and finding someone else.

Chances are it’s not communicating your offering properly, or making you look professional. These are both things that will put your customers off and take them back to Google.

More often than not, a design agency is responsible for designing for your customers, to help solve problems for your company.

Therefore, it’s important that they know what your target audience looks like. If you’re struggling to identify your ideal consumer then it sounds like you need our audience persona worksheet.

We’ve also got a great post here about defining your target audience.

person writing on a white piece of paper

Key questions when defining your target market

Essentially, you need to know the demographic traits and psychographic characteristics of your audience.

Think about who your ideal customer is, and build your persona around them.

On top of thinking about demographics and psychographics, I love asking the following questions:

  • What does their family structure look like?
  • What type of car do they drive?
  • Are they a pet owner?
  • What newspaper/magazines do they read?
  • Which websites do they visit? And for what purpose?

I often find simple questions like this help a lot more when creating design work, than just listing demographic information and psychographic traits.

When creating your customer persona or customer profile, try to list out the basic information about your customers, but also:

  • Brands/influencers they buy or follow
  • Their fears
  • Their goals and objectives
  • What challenges they’re facing
  • What objections they have to your business
  • What their hobbies and interests are

Knowing this information will help inform your design project.

By knowing which brands they buy into, you can tell what sort of style they like. By addressing their objections, you can make educated website copy, and so on.

The more you can profile about your demographic, the more well rounded and informed your design brief will be. In turn, when handled by a professional design agency, this will result in a design project that drives real business results. By understanding who you’re trying to target, your chosen agency will ensure your branding is pitched at the right level.

Customer personas should take up quite a chunk of your design brief. Make sure you include 2 or 3 examples!

The problem you’re facing

The objective of your design project is one thing, but the problem you’re facing as a business is something else entirely.

Goals and objectives focus on where you want to be.

The problem you’re facing focuses on the here and now.

Here’s an example:

“Our website isn’t generating enough leads for our business.”

That’s a problem that needs unpicked a little.

  • Is there something wrong with your website design?
  • Are you driving enough traffic to your website in the first place?
  • Do your contact forms work?
  • Are you using enough trust indicators across your website?
  • Is your website copy strong enough?

Although it can seem a little self-deprecating, deep diving into the real world problems you face as a business is the only way to solve them.

Try and get to the heart of the matter, rather than skirting around the edges. If you know there are deep rooted problems, get them noted down. It’s better to pain the fullest picture possible.

You’ve done the hard part, which is realising the problem you’re facing.

Now, steer into it, and with a professional design agency by your side, you’ll be able to overcome it.

A designer taking notes with Mac in background

Project specific information

Project specific information can be tricky to outline in your design brief.

This happens because more often than not, it’s beneficial to have your design agency make recommendations, rather than adding restrictions from the outset.

On top of that, you might not actually know what it is that you need.

However, there are always some things to consider.

Let’s look at website redesign project as an example:

  • What is your current website built with (e.g WordPress)? Are you happy with it?
  • Do you use tools to measure statistics and conversions? Can you share these?
  • Are there any key pages that drive traffic and conversions?
  • Is there a brand guideline that would help with redesigning the site?
  • Where is the website hosted? Will it stay there?

Your project specification doesn’t need to be super technical.

But if you have specific requirements, it’s best to get them listed out now.

Other things to consider in your design brief are:

  • Are you integrating your new website with a CRM system?
  • Do you have a newsletter, and if so, which software do you use to serve it?
  • What does your digital marketing plan look like?


You’re going to your agency for their talent and recommendations. So don’t be completely closed off to changing things!

The more project specific information you can share about your project at this early stage in the process the better.

More about your business

At the start of your design brief, you’ve given an overview into your business and the sector you work in.

But now, you have a chance to share even more about your business.

  • What is your brand strategy?
  • What have you done to arrive at this point?
  • Who makes up the business?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • Why did you get started?
  • Who are your biggest clients?
  • What else is there to know?

Give us the longer version of the elevator pitch.

Noting down the ins-and-outs might make your brief seem long and boring, but from an agency perspective, I can promise you that it’s not.

It’s good to know who you’re going into business with. And, the more your agency knows, the better they can help!

Examples of work you like

Showing your agency examples of work you like gives them an insight into what you’re trying achieve with your own branding.

For instance do you like dark and grunge branding? Or do you prefer a white, minimalistic colour palette?

By giving your agency this information they will be able to visually build a picture of your dream brand. Otherwise they could go totally off track which will delay the project further.

Therefore, make sure you include some examples of work that you like when creating your design brief.

This could could be in the form of links to other websites, screenshots, or a Pinterest board.

Competitor information

You need to decide are you trying to stand out, or fit in? Are you a true disruptor? Take a look at our post on analysing and auditing your competitors brands for help.

There’s not a right or wrong answer here. This should be assessed on a case by case basis.

If you’re working on a branding project, knowing about your competitors can help your design agency to get an understanding of what they’re all about, and how you fit into their landscape.

Knowing your competitors is great.

Helping your agency to know your competitors not only eases their workload, but allows discussions about them to take place at an earlier stage in the process.

This can then throw up some interesting points to think about and consider.

It also means they don’t stray too close to what your competitors are doing when creating your new brand identity or website design.

You shouldn’t be scared of your competitors. You should know and respect them.

They can help you feed ideas for your business, whether that be positive or negative. Competitors can also become partners and trusted allies, so don’t overlook that approach.

  • Can you partner with them to offer a new service?
  • Are there learnings you can take from their marketing?
  • Do you want to be like them, or completely different?

By noting them down in your design brief, these are the sorts of discussions you can with your design agency, who can then help position you for success. Maybe there’s some gaps or opportunities that your competitors are taking advantage of that you’re not?

These are things which your chosen agency can tap into.

silver clock on a wooden surface

Project timescales

This question often helps design agencies to decide whether they can be involved with your project or not.

If you’re looking for a rapid turnaround time, and the agencies you reach out to have a lot of work on, they might decline the offer to work together.

And that’s fine.

“ASAP” is not an acceptable answer when talking about timescales either. There needs to be a reasonable level of understanding here, things don’t just happen overnight.

As a rough guide, here’s what I tell people at Canny:

Branding Project Timescales

Branding projects can take anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks. It really depends on their complexity.

If you’re looking at a brand identity project, with limited visual assets to be created, you’ll be down nearer the 6 week mark.

However, if you’re looking to completely rebrand your business, create new visual assets, brand guidelines, and roll it out into a large organisation, you’ll be looking towards the top end of that timescale.

Website Project Timescales

With website design projects, things do tend to take a little longer. 6 weeks as a minimum, up to 16 or even 24 weeks for large eCommerce projects.

Timescales should really be put in place by your design agency when you decide to move forward.

One thing I always ask our new clients is:

“Is there an event/product launch/something else we can work towards with the project?”

And that always immediately helps get some initial plans in place.

Try to avoid reaching out to design agencies at the last minute. The earlier you can bring them in on your plans the better!

Nobody likes rush jobs and it doesn’t lead to the most creative output. It’s pressure for pressure’s sake. Try and avoid them at all costs!

person using a calculator

Project budget

We have a whole article about project budgets, and why it’s important to share your budget with your design agency.

Think about this: Design agencies get approached for work on a regular basis.

Amongst the requests for work, there’s often a lot of rubbish, some half-decent leads, and sometimes, a real diamond in the rough.

You want to be that diamond!

Now, telling an agency your project budget isn’t the only way to do this. But it’s another thing that you can do to build trust and transparency from the outset.

Nobody wants their time wasted.

Imagine that you have a 1 hour call with a design agency. And then you send the brief. With no budget information.

Your design agency reads through it, and comes back with a proposal.

It’s 5 times over what you thought you’d be paying. You’ve lost an hour of your time, the agency has also lost a significant chunk of time by writing out the proposal.

By being clear with your budget early on, you can make sure everyone is on the same page right from the get go. And, that’s the fairest way of doing business.

Now, you don’t need to list the budget to the penny. But just giving some indication of what you’re working with goes a long way!

If you’re really unsure on how much certain things cost, we have some great posts about pricing that are listed out below.

Keep in mind that we’re a growing design agency based in the North East of England. If you’re in London, or New York City, the investment you’re going to be making is going to a lot more.

But don’t let that dissuade you. Good work costs good money. But, it also gets you real results!

Project deliverables

You need to consider the different elements that you require to complete your design project.

For example, you need to consider:

  • What you expect to receive at the end of the project?
  • What file formats should work be supplied in?
  • What sizes and resolutions are needed?

This ensures that you are equipped with all of the right assets at the end of the project. You don’t want to be left resizing things because you haven’t given your agency the specifics.

Contact Information

There’s nothing more frustrating than “design by committee.” However, it does happen, and it can be managed.

But there always needs to be a lead point of contact in every design project.

One voice of reason that can be used to add balance to the discussions, and go between both the agency and the company.

This person should know the project inside and out. From goals and objectives through to audience personas and competitor information.

Clearly listing out the contact details of the project contact, and the best time and way to get hold of them, will make things run a lot smoother.

The design agency should also do their part here and once the project kicks off, they’ll assign a member of staff (usually an Account Manager) to handle their side of the communication.

How your design project will be awarded

If you’re considering working with a number of agencies, or firing out your design brief to several choices, then you need to make sure they know how the project will be awarded.

For the record:

We don’t believe in distributing your brief to a huge number of agencies. It’s not respectful of their time.

That said, we appreciate you’ll want to collect several proposals and opinions. 3 to 5 agencies is a fair number to approach.

Not sure how to choose an agency to work with?

Now, how will your project be awarded?

Typically, there are several elements at play:

  • Cost/Value for Money
  • Quality of Work
  • Previous Experience
  • Alignment to the Design Brief
  • Suitability of the Agency

There are any number of factors you could use to judge the responses.

It’s normal to write into your design brief, the percentage and weighting of each of the awarding criteria.

This helps to show your design agency what’s most important in your decision making process and allows them to tailor their responses accordingly.

Required response

The required response section of a design brief is pretty straightforward to write.

You need to let your agency know what you’re expecting back, by when, and how to submit it.

It’s simply a case of listing out what you expect to receive back.

Perhaps this is as simple as:

  • A written response to the brief
  • Examples of relevant work
  • Testimonials from happy clients

Tell the agency how to submit their proposal, what to include, by when, and you’re off to the races.

But before you go firing your design brief off to every agency you can find, let’s have a look at…
woman looking through file

Review Your Design Brief

We’ve talked about what a design brief is, why you need one, and what should be included.

But before you use your design brief to start reaching out to agencies you need to review it and gather feedback.

This helps ensure you’ve included all of the necessary points and gives you a change to make amends if needed.

As part of the review and feedback round, follow the below points:

Share the design brief with the client or stakeholders

  • Distribute the design brief to all relevant parties involved in the project
  • Ensure that the design brief reaches the key decision-makers and individuals who can provide valuable insights and feedback

Seek feedback and address any clarifications or revisions needed

  • Encourage stakeholders to review the design brief thoroughly
  • Request specific feedback regarding the clarity, completeness, and alignment with project requirements
  • Address any questions or concerns raised by stakeholders promptly and provide necessary clarifications

Make necessary adjustments based on the feedback received

  • Analyse the feedback received from stakeholders and evaluate its relevance and impact on the design brief
  • Identify areas that require clarification, additional information, or revisions to ensure the design brief accurately reflects the project’s goals and requirements
  • Incorporate the feedback into the design brief, making necessary adjustments to improve its overall quality and effectiveness

Design Brief Tips

You want your design brief to be as understandable as possible so that your chosen design agency can take it and get to work.

They should know exactly what you’re trying to achieve and the desired outcome.

Make sure you follow the tips below when crafting your own design brief.

Use clear and concise language

You should avoid using technical jargon and industry-specific terms that might confuse your chosen agency as they need to understand your business to be able to help.

Make sure you use clear and straightforward language to convey your ideas effectively as this will help the whole project run smoother.

Keep sentences and paragraphs concise to maintain clarity and this will also make your design brief easier to read.

Be specific and provide detailed information

You must clearly articulate the project requirements, objectives, and goals so that your chosen agency know what the desired outcome is.

Provide specific details about what you want to achieve and the deliverables you’re expecting from the project.

Include any relevant specifications too, such as dimensions, colour preferences, or technical requirements.

Include visual references or examples where possible

If possible, don’t just include lots of text in your design brief.

Whilst getting all of the key information included is key, you want to make it as easy as possible for your chosen agency to understand your requirements.

As well as being detailed, another way of making your design brief more understandable is by incorporating visual aids such as sketches, diagrams, or mood boards.

These can be used to help illustrate your desired look and feel so that your chosen agency can better understand your vision.

Ensure consistency throughout your design brief

Maintain a consistent tone and style throughout your design brief and make sure that all sections of the brief align with each other.

You want to convey a coherent message throughout so everything needs to support a unified direction for the project.

Use consistent formatting, such as headings, bullet points, or numbered lists, to make the brief easier to read.

Proofread it

Before sending your design brief to your chosen agency you need to read back through it.

This helps you make sure that you’ve not made any obvious mistakes or typos, and ultimately that everything you’ve written makes sense!

If you can’t understand what you’re trying to say then an external design agency definitely won’t be able to.

Putting 5-10 minutes to one side to read through your design brief and check it is a valuable use of time and helps you get this document right before you share it.
person holding pen and writing a list

The “Do Nots” of Writing a Design Brief

Now that we’ve covered the ins-and-outs of writing a good design brief, let’s look at three things that you should avoid with your design brief.

Do not send your design brief to everyone

There are thousands of design agencies out there, but you don’t need to send you brief to every single one of them.

Find four or five that you like the look of, research them thoroughly, and if they look like a good fit for your project, send the brief to them.

One large email with twenty agencies copied in just isn’t acceptable. It’s not respectful of their time or their work, and you’re going to end up looking a bit silly when nobody replies.

Also keep in mind that if you send your design brief out to twenty agencies, you’re likely going to have to field twenty phone calls.

Be picky! It’ll help everyone in the long run.

Do not skip over the budget section

Design budgets are important. They help to align expectations between your agency and your business.

You don’t need to list every single detail out, but having a rough idea of what you could possibly invest, is better than no idea at all.

Also, don’t be closed off to being at least a little flexible. There might be much better solutions available at a higher investment level.

Do not forget to include a timescale around your decision

Nothing is worse for a design agency owner, than projects stuck in the “possibly / possibly not” pile indefinitely.

In a design agency, you’re trading time for money, so being able to plan your workload is key.

Make sure you’re clear around when decisions will be made, and stick to the timescale you set.

Design Brief Example

When it comes to writing your design brief it can be very tricky.

After all, what level of information do you include and how do you effectively communicate your wants and needs?

Take a look at the below example as we walk you through the process step-by-step.

FYI, for the purpose of demonstrating this process we have created a fake company called ‘Glow Skincare’. Still, this shows you the level of detailed that is required to help your chosen design agency understand the full scope of your project.

Canny design brief example
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Remember a design brief is not a one-size fits all.

This is simply an example to show you what kind of information your design agency will require. When it comes to measures of success for instance, simply stating ‘we want more traffic’ is not good enough. How much do you want to increase your website and by when?

This level of detail will save time later on.

Reach Out to Design Agencies

Now that you’ve learned how to write a design brief, and created your shortlist of design agencies, it’s time to start reaching out.

If you’re still not sure on how to find a design agency, you should contact us to discuss your design project.

Now, it’s time to get the whole process started.

How to Write a Design Brief (Template Included!)

Your design brief is a tool to be used when sourcing an agency and building out your design project.

Quite often, it’ll be added to or modified. And that’s exactly how it should be used. It’s a starting point.

Naturally you’ll get ideas as you go, things will change, goals will become easily reachable or be out of reach. Your focus might change altogether and things you thought would work at first, might not work in practice. It’s a creative process and your design brief will grow with you.

Your design brief should be used to reach out to agencies, and referred back to at key milestones within the project. Regardless of what sector you work in, whether you’re building a healthcare brand or you work in tech and IT, this important document will drive your project in the right direction.

Other Design Brief Templates in the Series

As well as The Design Brief Template we’ve also created a whole range of other brief templates that you download and use completely free.

So, no matter what sort of creative project you need to write a brief for, we’ve got you covered. Check them out below:

The Branding Brief Template

The Branding Brief Template will help you get the brief for your company branding project right.

From straight up branding projects for small businesses, to the full scale branding of larger companies – The Branding Brief Template has all types of branding projects covered.

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The Rebranding Brief Template

The Rebranding Brief Template will help you get the brief for your rebranding project right.

From smaller rebranding projects, to full scale enterprise rebranding – The Rebranding Brief Template has all sizes of rebranding projects covered.

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The Web Design Brief Template

The Web Design Brief Template will help you get the brief for your web design project right.

Whether you’re creating a new website for your business, or redesigning your existing website – then The Web Design Brief Template is going to be useful.

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The Video Brief Template

The Video Brief Template will help you get the foundation for your video project right.

Whether you’re embarking on a corporate video, documentary, explainer, or any other type of video project – then The Video Brief Template is sure to help you out.

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The Marketing Brief Template

The Marketing Brief will help you get the brief for any of your marketing projects right.

Whether you’re looking to grow traffic to your website, or increase conversions from existing traffic – then The Marketing Brief Template is here to help.

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The Content Brief Template

The Content Brief Template will help you to generate interest in your brand/business in no time!

This brief is perfect for marketers out there looking to work with an agency to strategise, create, and market their content. With content marketing becoming a must in business – The Content Brief Template is designed to help you progress your own content marketing strategy.

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The Packaging Brief Template

The Packaging Design Brief template will help you communicate the needs of your packaging project.

From cartons and bottles to boxes and envelopes, knowing what to include in your brief can be confusing – that’s why we designed The Packaging Design Brief template, to help you make sense of the packaging madness.

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The RFP / RFQ Template

The RFP / RFQ Template will help you to create an easy to understand document that communicates the needs of your project.

Whether you’re embarking on a branding, web design, brochure design, packaging design, or any other type of design project – then The RFP / RFQ Template can help.

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The Advertising Brief Template

The Advertising Brief tells your chosen agency everything about your advertisement or campaign.

From understanding your project goals, to detailing examples of work you like – The Advertising Brief Template is sure to help you out.

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Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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