We recently received good feedback on our design brief.
The design brief itself wasn’t particularly impressive. The positive feedback was more about we took the time to create a design brief in the first place.
It turns out most people looking for designers don’t do this. They tell designers what they want designed (i.e. a logo), how they want it to look (i.e. ‘like Nike …but better and in orange’) and when they want it by (i.e. ‘next week please’).
This provides a designer with too much scope and too little information. You can expect high communication costs through endless rounds of clarifications and misunderstandings.
Designers love working from design briefs because it answers all their questions in a structure they’re used it. Most importantly, it gives them exactly the information they need at the time they need it and in the format they love.
This should change how we collaborate.
Usually when we want something done, we begin with what we want to say, when we want to say it and use the format most convenient to us.
This is a mistake.
This forces the recipient to transfer the knowledge into a format they understand (mentally or physically). This creates gaps and misunderstandings. It consumes more of your time and produces worse results.
It’s always better to put your information in the recipient’s preferred format yourself than wait for them to do it.
Begin with the recipient’s perspective. How do they want to receive this information? (email, call, memo, report, slides, in-person meeting). If you’re not sure, ask. It differs by person and profession.
When do they want to receive this information? Is there a fixed time they need it or a key decision point they want to get that message (one client once wanted information while in the car on the way to a meeting to brief his boss). You can schedule communications to work with this.
You might be amazed how much time this saves and how much it improves working relationships.