How to write an effective Design Brief

Design briefs are the most evolved form of creative briefs where the most intelligent of men (mostly MBAs) brief the most creative folks to help create the inconceivable and the indescribable. While there are a lot of basic tips for beginners on how to brief, seasoned professionals have always known that there is much more to the brief than just that. What you think of yourself, what you think of the designers, your professional and personal goals are all material inputs to the way you brief. The rules below would help you cut the crap and get down to the real way to brief so that your objectives are met.

Pay Homage to Competition: If you are frankly quite overawed by your competition, and you want a design that atleast appears exactly like your competition, keep heaping eulogies on them and praise them so much so that nobody in your organization has any illusions of being better than them every and hence don’t try something very different.

Don’t allow the designers to Create: If you think that your design team is highly over-rated and that your designers are actually as bad as other uber-rational beings like MBAs, then make the design brief designer-prrof. Mandate the design to such a microscopic level that the designers work like the Engineers they deserve to be rather than entertain any illusions about their craft.

Elevate the deliverables to the level of Fine art: If your aim is to use the product launch to get yourself into the invitation list of those cool creative folk you have always wanted to hang out with, then pay some cool socialites to join an ideation session with you where they help embellish the brief with a generous dose of over the top aesthetic considerations, that indicate to the world your desire to see design as high art.

Force the product to communicate like a live animal: If you still believe in the power of mass-media advertising that targets bored housewives and crazed sports fans, whatever be the nature of brand or business, then ask your advertising agency to create an appropriately high-on-hormones ad which can then be used as the design brief that forces otherwise tame products to jump, jive and acts as a loveable jackass.

Break the sales team befor you design anythin new: If your intention is to delay any new designs that would force you to up your investment in new plant capacities, then create a design brief that heavily draws from the latest trends in technology and ask for the moon at the price of peanuts, that would force the design team to near death by despair and ensure that they don’t come up with anything fancy before the pressure of selling your existing outdated products reduces your sales team to tears.

Wear down and defeat the Design Team: If your intention is to sack the existing design team before you start creating something really exciting with the new designer you met on the aircraft last month, then go ahead and make any brief as your whim of the day dictates. Then when the design team comes back with a soluition, change the brief, insult them for not already understanding your brief and send them back after offering to enroll them in a 2 month correspondence course on basic design before they come back. Depending on the thickness of the design team’s skin, this might entail more repetitions or more drastic measures.

Use the Design brief as parlour talk: If the real purpose of the activity is to engage in intelligent conversations on design and the power of design to change the world, then operate from a position of strength and share the entire business situation in its multifarious glory that can throw up  infinite ways for design to tackle them. Whenever any semblance of a solution comes up, present more confusing aspects of the situation that can then spin off the discuissions into ever more engaging directions.

I’m sure there are even more ways that I haven’t come acoss or managed to even think of.

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