How to Brief a Designer

One of the keys to a successful direct mail campaign is a strong creative design. Whether you have an in house design team, use an external creative agency, or are producing the design yourself, a succinct effective design brief helps ensure that the design produced fits the goals of your campaign.

If you would like help, Stannp can put you in touch with a number of designers who are experienced at creating effective Direct Mail campaigns, simply contact your account manager who will be happy to help, or call our friendly team on 012171 344507.

What’s A Design Brief?

A Design Brief is simply a written explanation outlining the aims, objectives and milestones of a design project. Depending on your business sector and organisation, they can vary wildly from the ludicrously brief to the ridiculously verbose!

We recommend you write a succinct brief covering the topics below; not so large that it becomes an overbearing task for your designer to read, but with enough detail that it serves as a useful reference for everyone involved and ensures that the key questions have been answered before the designer starts work.

Design Brief Topics

Company Intro: Don’t assume the designer knows your company or your industry. Describe your business in 1 or 2 paragraphs; what do you do, what is your niche, where do you fit in your sector?

Note, this is useful even if you are producing the design yourself in house. It’s a great way to make you think about the key features of your company, what is your “elevator pitch“?

Competitors: Who are your competitors? How are you similar? How are you different? What do you like or dislike? 

Campaign Goal(s): What are you trying to achieve with the campaign? What problem are you trying to solve? What action do you want the recipients to take? Are there any key details to include? (offer codes etc.).

Audience: Who is the mailing aimed at? Existing customers, prospects, cold customers, top users, a purchased data set, radius search data, consumers, business owners, decision makers, a specific demographic /age group /income bracket etc.

Timescale and Lifespan: How soon do you need it? How long is the ‘design life’? Does it need to be contemporary and current but will only be used for a short time, or a long lived ‘classic’ that will be used repeatedly?

Design Examples: Have you done something similar in the past that went well (or badly)? Has something you’ve seen inspired you? Do you have current marketing materials the design needs to be similar to (or different from)?

Look and Feel: What do you want the mailing to say about you? What is your Brand ‘personality’ (Down to earth, honest, sophisticated, rugged, daring, inspiring, imaginative, cheerful, fun, successful, etc…)? Is there an aesthetic position your brand aspires to (modern, traditional, minimalist, zany,  grungy…)?

Definite Dos (or Do Nots): Anything the designer absolutely must (or definitely must not) do? for example “It must be an A5 portrait postcard“, 

Other Campaign Details: Make sure you include any other details that are important to this specific campaign in particular, for example “its going to eight countries and needs to be translated into German, French and Spanish” or “the images must feel Caribbean not European as its a Jamaican holiday campaign”, or “We are running a split test across 3 groups of recipients so need 3 alternative designs” etc.

Right First Time Design

A great way to help your designer to get it right first time is to make sure you’ve given them links to all all of the resources on our website. In particular we recommend;

Don’t forget you also need to make sure you’ve given the designer your brand resources as well as the design brief.

This might for example include things like your company logo, brand colours, allowable fonts, branding guidelines, product or service images, and of course any details that you need included in the design (website URL(s), phone number(s), company reg. number, address etc.)

We hope you find our How To Guide on Briefing a Designer helpful. For more hints, tips, guides and info you can find us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn, or feel free to speak to your account manager if you have any questions or need any help.

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