This is not exactly a designer’s dream of a creative brief:
“I know what I (don’t) want, when I see it”
How to start a job like that?
Here, the possibilities are endless, and so are the chances of failure.
Creativity thrives within frames.
Perhaps that seems counter intuitive (and non-creative) but the fact is that many designers, composers and other creators of expressions that are meant to communicate, get more and better ideas for their work when they can get as near as possible to the goal and the core of the assignment.
In his book “Living the Brand” Nicholas Ind calls this phenomenon
“The Framed Canvas” – the restrictions within which the creativity is to unfold. A designer must, to be able to help you in the best possible way know as much as possible about the assignment.
I have never experienced thinking to myself:
“Oh, NOW I have really had too much information about this job”
Sufficient, correct and detailed information about the job to be done, makes a project easier to handle, both for the client and the creator.
This information is called the “creative brief” in design language.
The creative brief must contain as much information as possible about the wanted design, the WHAT, WHY, HOW and WHEN. The creative brief is the frame within which the ideas will emerge and thrive.
If the first sketches from a designer results in disagreements and argumentation among a group of contracting clients, like a corporate unit, this is a certain sign that the assignment has not been solved among themselves from the beginning. These stakeholders do not in fact agree upon what they have been ordering from the designer. This is very common in corporate environments, and among designers it is known as “design by committee”. Costly habit. The members of the committee has probably each had an idea about HOW a design should help them solve a communication issue, but they have forgotten to check it out between themselves.
To assume that everyone else has the same ideas and interpretations as yourself, can be expensive.
I recommend using enough time at the beginning of a design project (advertisement, brochure, webpage, magazine, birthday-card, book cover, illustration, PowerPoint-illustration or whatever) to work on a certain agreement and shared understanding among the members of the committee and with the designer on how the assignment can be solved to best reach and impact the target group.
A creative brief consist of questions and answers about the assignment.
One thousand dollar questions, literally!
Here is a creative brief to some furniture designers:
“Piece of sitting-furniture for one person”
And here are some possible solutions to that assignment:
None of these designers have missed the assignment, because the creative brief was so loose/broad and unspecified.
It is all chairs, right? Many great results (and A LOT of hours used!)
BUT: It is totally impossible to say if any of these results are successful, if you don’t know WHERE, HOW and by WHOM the chair is going to be used!
If you describe the assignment in detail,
the designer can do a better job for you in a shorter time.
The designer should not have to guess.
Guessing increases the risk of misinterpretations and errors.
The designer creates what he thinks you want.
It is better that you tell him in advance exactly what it is that you want.
People interpret and associate very differently. That is why you want to be sure that your designer and yourself are on the same page, and have a shared perception of the assignment before you start the work.
Finale: Musical apropos
Music is design in audible form – for me.
Music is design that uses time as an important instrument
(no pun intended)
Thanks to my son Arild for this link that shows this among other relevant things, both according to music and design.
Listen carefully to what is being said within the first 45 seconds in this video with Gavin Harrison. Good listening!