Decorative pattern

Tips for what makes the ideal creative brief

May 2021


Creative design is at the heart of marketing. The design of your marketing assets – whether they are digital or printed – is central to the way your brand is perceived.

Creating engaging, memorable and professional collateral is the Holy Grail. And underpinning this is the way your marketing team works with your designers. Whether you have an in-house design team, or you outsource design to an external creative agency, the brief you give them determines the success of your collaboration.

What makes a great brief? Briefing a designer might seem straightforward, but it’s all too easy to miss out the vital details that make the difference between a winning design and one that fails to capture your vision.

Why is it important to create a brief? Because although you may be clear in your mind on what you want to achieve, conveying this to another person can be tricky. This can lead to disappointment, an unnecessary amount of re-work and proofs, and additional cost and time.

Get your creative brief right, on the other hand and you can save work, money and frustration, aligning with your designer to deliver something that accurately reflects your brand and achieves your aims.

Whether you are designing winning pitch documents, web pages, social media assets, brochures, thought leadership materials or your annual report, you need to ensure your marketing collateral is consistent with your brand values and delivers an engaging result for your audience.


There’s huge potential to save your business time and money via best practice briefing. Our 10 tips for creating the ideal brief are as follows:

  1. Follow a brief template. All too often – particularly if you’re working with a designer you know well – briefs go out of the window; marketers assume that the designer will know what they want. But knowing how to create a brief template is important. Writing a full brief ensures that you are consistent and comprehensive, including all the details you may feel are obvious but might make the difference between success and failure.
  2. Be clear. Clarity is vital when briefing a design agency or team. Use the briefing process to focus your mind and ensure you’re asking for what you really want so you accurately convey what you need.
  3. Be concise – there’s a reason a brief is called a brief. Being comprehensive doesn’t mean flowery descriptions and unnecessary detail. Make it easy for your agency to get to the essence of your project.
  4. But ensure you include enough detail. Why does this piece of content matter? What is it intended to achieve? What messages do you want to convey? How is it going to be shared? Who is your audience? A clear briefing template should answer all these questions.
  5. Be inspiring – your brief should excite your agency. If the project is worth doing, your enthusiasm for it should be contagious, encouraging a team effort to create the best result.
  6. Be clear on reviews and approvals. Often, several people need to sign off a piece of marketing collateral – and if you’re a regulated industry, this may compound the complexity of approvals. If several people or teams are involved, will you circulate it to them, or do you want the agency to? Do you expect your agency to deal with comments from a range of people, or will you collate all edits? Being clear about the process helps to manage expectations on all sides.
  7. Get appropriate sign-off for your brief. It shouldn’t be just one person’s vision – work as a team to ensure the brief includes everything necessary. Getting appropriate sign-off reduces potential ambiguity or omissions, so your finished product is more likely to resemble your expectations.
  8. Develop an efficient briefing process. How should you brief a design agency? Via email; online? Does your approach make it easy to include all the detail you need? Do you have a briefing template to ensure consistency? One person’s idea of a comprehensive brief might be very different from another’s.
  9. Double check that your designer has received the brief. It might sound obvious but a quick call or email to make sure they have it and have understood it can save misunderstandings and delays.
  10. Could you harness technology to make briefing quicker and easier? Online briefing, and systems that enable you to share documents online with agencies, enable queries to be addressed ‘live’. Collaborative reviewing can minimise the time taken to turn proofs around, significantly reducing the time it takes to produce marketing materials.


Creative briefing should be a central part of the marketing role, but it’s very easy to let familiarity creep in and to skip some of the elements of the briefing process. These elements, though, can be the very thing that stands between a winning design and one that falls short of expectations.

Get the briefing process wrong and you can incur unnecessary costs, delay getting new products and services to market, increase marketing and design team workloads, and potentially damage your relationships with your creative agencies.

On the other hand, getting it right opens up opportunities to reduce agency fees, improve turnaround times and ultimately get on-brand marketing materials created, approved and published faster.

To find out how Perivan’s design team can work with you to create successful marketing collateral – from innovative digital design to annual reports – read more about our design studio and their capabilities or get in touch with us for a no-obligation chat.


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Decorative pattern