Editor’s note: Design keeps increasing in importance as a competitive differentiator — but executives (nondesigners) struggle to lead design projects. The following article, excerpted from @Issue magazine, maps out a critical first step: Creating the design brief.
Whether the project is an annual report, product design, packaging, website, marketing brochure, corporate identity program, or environmental graphics, companies can save time and misunderstanding by putting together a design brief before interviewing prospective design firms. Unfortunately, too few corporate managers take the time to prepare a brief, thinking that “talking it through” in a meeting will suffice.
A written brief offers two important advantages, however. 1. It demands that in-house managers clarify the project’s business objectives at the start, and 2. it gives designers a summary of key corporate points to refer to later on. But keep the design brief short, and recognize that its purpose is to provide enough information to assess the proposed assignment realistically without discouraging creative exploration. The brief should include the elements above.
Don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to design in business? For an oddly provocative glimpse of the field’s breadth, check out a post by Ryan Jacoby, an IDEO business designer, titled “Business Design: The Curriculum of 2012,” on his Do_matic blog.