New clients consistently ask me; why I have a large section in my design proposals devoted to the development of a design brief?
They say things like “I know what I want, just write it down,” or “I have this sketch; can’t you just work from it?”
Once I tell them it provides a dialog to generate ideas, and protects them from unconsciously drifting away from the premise of the design, they have an ‘ah ha’ moment.
Design briefs can be used in many areas of business.
Many marketing creatives think the importance is only within their domain, but it has a significant place within custom machine design as well.
Wikipedia states “A design brief is a written document for a design project developed in concert by a person representing the business need for design and the designer. The document is focused on the desired results of design – not aesthetics.”
Take note of the phrases “developed in concert” and “focused on the desired results.”
When I work with a client, I make every effort to maintain an honest, straightforward dialog because you, as the client, know what the machine must accomplish.
The dialog flushes out all of the current issues, desires, constraints, time line, and budget for the project.
I, as the designer, interpret all of this information to formulate the end results.
The written brief re-states the end results of the dialog to make sure both parties have a base point from which to start.
If any changes come about after the brief is initially agreed upon, they are weighed against the cost in both time and money to implement them.
In the end, the client can make an educated, informed decision on the course of action.
If you are going to work with an independent design consultant, insist on developing a design brief. It will go a long way to make sure the end product is what you, or your customers, need in the time you need it, at the cost you need it to be.
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