Behind the Scenes of Branding: The Creative Brief

Posted by Megan Seely in Branding & Identity

The Creative Brief


At the Pixel Foundry, we start each communication design or branding project with a creative brief. A creative brief is a (usually internal) document that guides the design process and includes information on the project goals and criteria.

Without a creative brief, a designer may find they’re producing design ideas that looks good visually, but aren’t tailored to the client’s needs or target market.

Our creative brief structure looks a little something like this:

  • A single sentence to describe, in a nutshell, what the project objectives are.
    Is the goal to raise awareness for a cause? Is it to sell more of product X? Is it to convince existing customers/clients to upgrade?
  • Some background on why this project should be able to achieve that objective.
    This can require some research.
  • The target market for the project.
    Is there an age group in mind? Are they existing customers, clients, or members? Do they already know who you are?
  • A list of keywords to guide the visual design aspect.
    Is this a project that’s fun, playful, entertaining, funny? Or is it corporate, professional, slick?
  • A list of keywords to avoid.
  • For a branding or web design project, we usually investigate main competitors, and develop a USP (unique selling proposition).
    What do you do better than anyone else?
  • Deliverables.
    What are the specifications for the final print or digital piece(s)?

As you can imagine, developing a useful creative brief goes beyond a quick phone call. We might want to visit the client’s place of business, talk to employees and customers, demo the product/service, hold discovery sessions (brainstorm), or research.

Here’s a whiteboard illustration to show how the creative brief fits into the creative process for a logo design:

The branding process - Chestnut St. Pixel Foundry

During the judgement phase, we check our concepts against the creative brief before anyone else sees them. Even the cleverest design won’t make it, if it doesn’t meet the project objectives.

We hope this behind-the-scenes look at our process gives some idea of the non-design strategy that goes into developing good work. If you need branding or a logo, and you’re not sure where to start, get in touch. We’re happy to help.