Writing a design brief: a guide for non-designers

Learning how to write a design brief can be tricky, even for the most seasoned designers.

A design brief is an important document to support communication between you and the design agency or a freelance designer of your choice.

Even if you are a freelancer or design agency, a well-written design brief makes the cost of your design work easier than ever.

A good design brief puts everything on one page, adjusts expectations, and ensures that both parties understand the goals of the design project.

It’s hard to experiment with a design project without a brief description because you depend on phone calls, email threads, and handwritten notes to follow. And that’s not the right way to do a design project!

Before we start talking about How to write a design brief, one more important question will be answered.

What is the design brief used for

A design brief is a written document that companies use to communicate their needs with several selected design firms.

If you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you need to learn how to write a brief.

How to write a design brief?

It can take many forms and follow many different patterns. Every design project is different, so there is no formula for an exact description. It can be a very standard, long, and detailed document or a simple and short one-page document. However, many important elements make a very good brief.

What should be included in your design brief?

An overview of your company

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

Try to answer the following questions in your business review:

  • What do you do and how do you get money?
  • How do customers shop in your business now?
  • What makes your company unique in the market?

Every design project is based on all sides with a clear understanding of business and industry.

Goal and Objectives of the new design

One of the most important steps in planning a design project and writing a design brief is to find the balance between what you (or your client) want to achieve with the new design.

Distinguish between goals and objectives. Goal define the overall aim of the project and the objectives are concrete steps in moving forward so as to achieve the goals.

The clearer and more unambiguous the project brief is, the clearer the path to work. Here are some questions to help you understand your project goals.

  • What is the ideal outcome of this project?
  • Are you rebuilding your existing heritage? why?
  • Are you trying to solve this problem for the first time?

Your target audience and market

Target audience is one of the most important things to consider when planning events. This is the deal planning is often used to solve problems for both customers and your business.

The job of a designer is not just to make things beautiful. Sure, this can sometimes help, but essentially designing is a troubleshooting tool.

Think about it: Your site does not turn visitors into customers.

This is obviously a problem for you, but your site doesn’t really work for your customers. In most cases, the designer is responsible for designing your clients and helping you solve your business problems.

That's why it's important to know what your target audience looks like.

Here's some good news about creating customer personalities.

  • Basically, you want to list their demographic and psychological characteristics.
  • You do this by asking questions that are relevant to your existing customers.
  • Take the ideal client and build your personality around him.

Competitor’s information

It’s funny, the potential impact of competition on your business and design brief.

If you are working on a marketing project, knowing your competitors can help the design firm understand everything and how it fits into their environment. It’s good to know your competitors.

It helps the office get to know competitors, not only to lighten their workload but also to be able to talk about them earlier in the process. It brings interesting ideas.

You don't have to worry about your competitors. You have to know and respect them. Both positive and negative can help you bring ideas to your business. Competitors can also be partners and reliable partners, so don't forget this approach.

  • Can you offer a new service together with a partner?
  • Are there lessons you can learn from their purchases?
  • Do you want to be like them or be completely different?

Include them in your proposal. These are the sorts of discussions you can have with your design agency, which can then help position you for success.

Project deliveries

Aligning on project deliverables is one of the main goals of a design brief. Even the slightest misunderstanding can cause serious problems if left unchecked. Here are some questions to help explain your delivery needs.

  • What do you or your client expect at the end of the project?
  • Which file formats should be provided
  • What measures and decisions are needed?

Project budget and planning

Understanding the budget and agreeing on a schedule are important steps in a short process. Clarification of these limitations and assumptions is necessary to continue the project and to avoid conflicts and large-scale obstacles. The timetable and budget must be sufficiently realistic and flexible to take account of possible changes or unforeseen obstacles.

Ask these questions to find the information you need.

  • What are the budget constraints for this project? How flexible are they?
  • What internal deadlines does this project require?
  • What are the main events of the project?

Conclusion: How do you write a great design brief?

Your design brief is a tool used to tell design on how to create your design project. Quite often, it’ll be added or improved. And that’s exactly how it should be used. This is the starting point.

Gradually, you will get ideas, things will change, and goals will be easily achieved. The focus may change completely.

Your design brief should be used to communicate with agencies and should be mentioned back to at key milestones within. But it is not written in stone. the more we, wet sand.

It’s a great initial documentary, but it has to grow with the project.

what do you think? How did you write the design information? Let us know in the comments below.

Design brief template

As I promised that I will be sharing a free template that you can use when creating your design brief, so I have got you covered already. However, having a template that you can use as your starting point for each project you work on can certainly save you a lot of time and ensure you don’ miss anything important.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to design briefs. The exact format needs to be defined by your own internal design workflow.

Here is a sample template you can use for inspiration when creating your own. Get it here



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


I'm a multidisciplinary Designer that help to share the world with pleased and comfortable product design.