HOW TO: brief a designer

If you’ve ever briefed a designer, you’ll know how hard it is to communicate the picture in your head to them. I asked Kate from Sommer Studio, our resident branding guru, to share some tips on briefing a designer so that they ‘get’ what you want. 


1. KNOW YOUR BUSINESS both currently and where you’re heading. This might seem like future telling, but you don’t want to be stuck in a branding rut that won’t let your business grow or stuck on a website platform that won’t be flexible for future growth. Create a wish list and work with your designer to evolve the design to suit your future planning goals.

2. BUILD A LIBRARY. I don’t mean for you to find logos that you’d like to copy, but rather, build a story around your business that shows your client who you are. For example, for Beaches Coworking, finding imagery that’s community based, fresh and light, with colours that evoke focus yet creativity, will show your designer what your business goals are and how to create the brand that therefore draws in your desired clients.

3. DEFINE YOUR IDEAL CLIENT. If your designer knows who your desired clients are, and who will be using the finished product, they’ll design the elements with that in mind.

4. IDENTIFY YOUR PAIN POINTS. I like to think of design as a solution, so knowing upfront the problems you are facing, makes the designers job easier and you’ll get better outcomes from the get go.

5. CLEAR DEADLINES. Be upfront with deadlines, so your designer can give you the right amount of time for the job. If you’re unsure, ask as soon as you can. My rule of thumb is 4-6 weeks for branding, 4-8 weeks for a website and 1 week for smaller jobs (obviously, all depending on each job!). And remember: a deadline too tight may restrict creativity.

6. SET YOUR BUDGET. This is a tough one, as every designer is different, but if you have a budget in mind, let your designer know up front, so they can clearly guide you as to what’s possible.⠀

7. BE OPEN. While I do love having a lot of information, those clients who trust my design process, allow me to flex my creativity. This means I can produce a range of designs for my clients to choose from.

8. THINK ABOUT YOUR COPY. Before heading to the designer, work out what needs to be said, how much copy will be in the design and whether you need a copywriter. While this is a little bit of the “chicken or the egg”, having a guide of what has to be in the artwork vs bonus copy helps the designer lay it out for great communication.

9. KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE. Knowing what you’d like is important, but knowing what’s not going to work for you is just as interesting for the designer. I have a client who just hates orange, which is totally fine – we just work around that in her business, ensuring what we create fulfils the brief and her style. ⠀

10. BE HONEST. When you give feedback, be 100% honest and open. Your designer wants you to be proud of your new brand or artwork, so hearing feedback that’s descriptive (ie: more than “I don’t like it”) and explains why you don’t like something is very useful to build upon and reach the goals. It also makes designing so much easier and enjoyable.

To have a look at some of Kate’s work, check out her portfolio.

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