Why You Need a Creative Brief

By: Craig Minch  | 01/10/2018

What is a creative brief?

A creative brief is a strategic document that contains information needed for creative- and innovation-focused projects, serving as a framework for establishing an approach. The brief contains a summary of key factors that can impact and inspire efforts and can include really basic, big picture information down to some very specific project particulars. A creative brief should contain a concise summary of the background, target audience, information on competitors, goals, and project-specific details.


An effective creative brief should answer these questions:

  • What is the project?
  • What’s the task at hand?
  • Why are we doing it?
  • What is the true problem or opportunity?
  • Who is it really for and why should they care?
  • Where, when, and how will it be used?
  • How will it be remembered and retold?
  • What needs to be done by whom, and when should it be delivered?


Why use a creative brief?

A creative brief is strategic in nature and can be a useful way to help teams think bigger and to consider client, user and customer perspectives. A creative brief can form a common language between client and project teams and link efforts to business and brand goals. It can summarize client expectations and capture how success will be defined and measured. A good creative brief can guide decision-making, too. It is a useful tool for evaluating the appropriateness of a particular design solution and aids in the approval process.

At Hileman Group, we collaborate with our clients to craft effective creative briefs in the Discovery phase of our projects. We schedule briefing sessions and meetings to gather inputs, uncover insights, and talk at length about the company, brand, product, service and customers. We conduct visual audits of existing materials and design research to experience the brand, product, or service directly. We record and analyze our findings and then pull together thoughts in a structured, useful manner. The creative brief document is reviewed, edited and revised several times and then shared with the client for feedback.

We encourage our clients to spend ample time with the creative brief. Once finalized or approved, the document is shared with everyone on the team, especially those involved in the creative process. A good creative brief should capture the energy and excitement of the project at hand and be used to illuminate and inspire creative thinking for the work that follows.



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