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The Perfect Design Brief

We've, unfortunately, been on many projects that skipped over creating a design brief in an attempt to "get started right away" and "move quickly." This had the complete opposite effect; opening a can of worms, leading to delays and missteps.

The difference between the projects that began with a design brief and those that didn't was night and day.

You get out what you put in.

Whether working with your in-house team or a design firm like ours, projects don't just naturally play out in your favor. You need to do a few things in order to set your project up for success.

In essence, you should give your design team everything you know before the project begins and then meet regularly to provide more info as the project rolls out. The perfect vehicle for all of this information is a design brief. Design briefs create clarity and get everyone on the same page.


Let's look at our outline for The Perfect Design Brief:

What to include in your design brief is contained within two important chunks of information: context and criteria. To set your project up for success, you need to share as much context as possible. You also need to set guiding parameters in order to create a focus for your design team. You do so by sharing criteria.


1. Overview of your business

  • What does your company do?

  • What makes your company and product different?

2. Objective

  • What are you wanting to achieve by doing this project?

3. Target audience

  • Who specifically is your product to be purchased and used by?

4. Problem

  • What problem is your product setting out to solve for your target audience?

5. Reference material

  • Share a description and images of your current product(s)

  • Share images of the competitor products and explain what gap your product will fill in this competitive landscape

  • Share any brand, design, research, and marketing guides you have available


6. Do's

  • What are the design's must-haves?

7. Don'ts

  • What must the design avoid?

8. Requirements

(This section will vary greatly based on the specifics of your product and project but a few examples of what should be included are min/max spaceclaim, internal components to package, price point, and production volume)

  • What constraints must your product satisfy?


That's it! Provide your design team with the answers to these 8 prompts and you'll give them everything they need to get started.

It's ok if you do not have all of the information to build a complete design brief. The design team can work with you to fill in the blanks. What's important is that you understand that a proper foundation needs to be laid for success.

One more (important) thing... after walking your design team through the brief, be available and eager to answer their follow up questions.

It's a good sign when your design team comes to you with additional questions. It means they're diving in and know what additional information they need from you in order to develop successful solutions.

Want to use this design brief to jumpstart your next project?


For those of you who have experience creating design briefs, do you have anything to add? How do you set your projects up for success?


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