The ultimate guide in writing an effective design brief

Ever wondered about the outcome of a lousy design brief?

This right here! This is what happens when your design brief falls flat.

James Fridman on Twitter (@fjamie013) Photoshop requests for fun
James Fridman on Twitter (@fjamie013) photoshops pictures for fun

You might’ve come across James Fridman on Twitter (@fjamie013) – this guy who takes on Photoshop requests just for kicks.

His edits aren’t just good, they’re also super funny. It’s a blast, and you might end up lost in the Twitter universe for quite a few hours.

Thing is, the design requests there come in short one-liners, leaving tons of room for interpretation. A single sentence instruction really can’t give a designer the full picture of what you’re looking for.

Having a well-crafted design brief is like a must-have for any design request.

In this piece, you’ll:

  • Get why a nicely written design brief is a big deal
  • Catch some tips on how to whip up a good brief
  • Even snag a FREE design brief template if you’re up for it

What is a design brief?

Think of a design brief like team paperwork. Imagine a single page that everyone in your crew needs to be on the same page about. It lays out goals, stuff that needs to get done, and what’s expected.

Basically, it helps you see where things might be falling short and lets you give the designers solid input on their work.

And when it comes to services that offer unlimited designs, a brief is like a treasure map. It’s how you make sure both the writer and designer are totally on track and know what’s up.

Designer meeting blueprint chart
A Design Brief is like a blueprint

Purpose of a design brief

Just like you, folks from brands and creative teams who really think through their campaigns need something solid to share their ideas with the folks actually creating their designs.

Making a good brief has perks for everyone involved – the client and the designer.

With this document in hand, there’s no more guessing, and the designer can see a clear path to whip up the designs you want, all top-notch and speedy, without tons of back and forth.

But hey, Deer Designer offers Unlimited Revisions, so why sweat making a design brief when I can just keep asking for changes?

Fair point. We’re here to tweak your designs as many times as needed. But think about it – do you really want to dive into a never-ending revision saga? 😨 We’re cool with it, sure, but it’s your time and hard-earned money we’re talking about.

Without a design brief, a designer might go into a spin, get a bit teary-eyed (figuratively), make some wild guesses (not the best), and the worst – totally miss YOUR goal.

If you’re part of the Deer Designer gang, you’re in luck. But what if you’re working with a freelancer who bills you by the hour and only pops in when they feel like it? 


A good design brief saves you time down the line. Plus, you won’t need to keep tossing the designs back and forth like a hot potato. 

And if you put some brainpower into that initial brief, guess what? You can use it again for your other design needs, just tweaking a bit here and there.

Design Brief puzzle pieces
A Design Brief ensures business owners and designers are in the same page


Get it right in the first go without countless revisions.


What does a design brief looks like?

To make sure your design brief isn’t a snooze-fest, it’s gotta do one thing first: clear up what you need. And by “you,” I mean you! Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), here are some questions to sort out your thoughts:

  • What’s the point of this design?
  • What’s the goal for the ad or campaign?
  • Who’s the lucky audience?
  • What colors, fonts, and styles are we talking?
  • Where’s the inspiration coming from?

Once you’ve got those answers jotted down, and your head’s spinning with a clear vision, go ahead and grab the template.

What to write in a design brief?

The Design Brief Template isn’t just a piece of paper (or a digital doc). To give it some oomph, you’ve gotta be the writer. If you want to whip up a useful design brief, you’ll need the following:

  1. Project Vision: Don’t worry, you don’t have to come up with some genius idea all by yourself. Just need to wrap your head around it.
  2. Project Background: Knowing where the project stands helps. Share any branding or marketing hiccups from before, so the next designer doesn’t redo the same stuff.
  3. Audience Insights: To click with your audience, you gotta know ’em. What they like, what they don’t, how they talk – all that jazz.

Now that you’re all set, head over to the Design Brief Template. We’re gonna tackle each section one by one:




With Deer Designer, you're able to request designs for your own brand or for your clients'.

This is where you let your designer know about it.

Project name

A clear and specific title is helpful so you and your team can easily track and search your tickets for future reference.

Good Examples:

- Christmas banners for ACME Limited

- Stark Industries

- Homepage design for 21/08

- Banners (Facebook/Instagram) for Coca-Cola

Bad Examples:

- New request (not clear or distinct enough)

- New order for Monday (not clear and the deadline is vague)

Background Story

A short story about the "Why" of the project. A 4-5 sentence paragraph is enough to remind everyone "why" this design should be done.

Designer struggling to think of ideas cloud crumpled paper laptop
A clear design brief clears clouds of doubt and creative blocks

Making it easy for you

Check out this pre-filled Design Brief Template to see how it works:

One of the end designs will look like this:


Alrighty, now that you’re practically an expert on how a design brief should roll, let’s wrap it up by laying out what a design brief definitely isn’t:

👉 A design brief isn’t… Short and sweet. These things can be pretty loaded with info, all squished into one doc. Might seem like a word fest, but each piece counts.

👉 A design brief isn’t… Simple as pie. This doc can make or break a design. Whoever cooked it up has chewed on lots of thoughts and considered a bunch of angles before making it.

👉 A design brief isn’t… Carved in stone. The cool thing about a design brief? It keeps some space for creativity, especially for designers.

The client lays down their needs, and the designer does their thing. Key is, they’re both gunning for the same bullseye.

Alright, time to dive in and cut those revisions with a side of time-saving. Just trot over to the Design Brief Template to spill your vision to your crew. Best of luck!

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