Perhaps “brief” is the wrong word…

Ok, so you have a project. A website, a brochure or a more comprehensive campaign. We can’t wait to help you but before we do – we need to know what it is you need from us and the hard part is all that information resides in your head.

So how do you get that out and into some sort of comprehensible set of instructions?

I sometimes wonder if the word brief is the right word perhaps it should be called a “detailed client requirements document” – but then it all sounds a bit …well – long, doesn’t it?

A brief is the document that guides the entire process, and tells us exactly what you, the client, want us to do – and any constraints we need to consider.

Here are the main elements that make up a solid brief:

  1. Objectives and Goals
  2. Budget and Timeline
  3. Target Audience
  4. Scope of Work
  5. Mandatory Elements
  6. Assets Supplied (by client)
  1. Objectives and Goals

Now this is a big question for some and much smaller for others.

  • If your project, for example a website, is part of a broader strategic vision and is to integrate with marketing initiatives or other platforms – WE NEED TO KNOW THIS!
  • Or if the project is to play a broader role in you sales process – WE NEED TO KNOW THIS!

For smaller projects it may be a simple, as “I want a redesign or reworking of an existing site”. But if it is broader then we need you to make sure you spell that out.

If you have solid ideas for what they want your site to do – tell us. Or if you have ideas that are a little more vague, just do your best to communicate that.

Nailing down what your site goals are is important and sets the stage for the success or failure of the entire project.

We often recommend our “Blueprint” process to help define your goals if you are unsure.

  1. Budget and Timeline

Budget can be a touchy subject for some clients. A lot feel like if they share their budget before we quote – we’ll charge up to that regardless of the scope of work….

We can’t speak for everyone, but we don’t work this way. It’s very beneficial for because getting a solid understanding of your budget means we can better tailor our recommendations and solutions to maximize your investment.

Your timeline is just as important because time as much as money has a dramatic impact on what is achievable – good design takes time, and building your website (or other) – is rarely as simple as it may appear.

We make it look simple because we have years of experience – but great outcomes take time. So be honest and we will work with you to find the best possible approach given your deadlines.

  1. Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach? No matter what your project, it should have a clear and distinct aim. Be it a website designed for car lovers or parents with kids needing reading lessons – the target audience is determine the look and feel, and functional requirements of the solution we provide so be as clear as you can right from the beginning.

If you are unsure again we recommend the “Blueprint” process to help define your audience and who your ideal customer is.

  1. Scope of Work

Very few projects are exactly the same. It may seem that your web project is the same as a million others, but think about it. Your brand, your approach and your unique attributes are different and so is your project.

It is so important to work on locking down the scope of work because ensuring both your expectations and ours are on the same page is vital. There is a vast difference for example adapting an existing template to a bespoke solution. Some clients will want a complex e-commerce solutions, whilst others will simply want an enquiry form… and the list goes on – blog integration or social networking features, data capture and reporting.

Defining your project is key and should align to your broader business and marketing strategy. We can help you if you need to ensure these align.

  1. Mandatory Elements

Do you have a logo, a style guide or mandatory legal notices… if you do – WE NEED TO KNOW THIS!

Customers often don’t think of what is important to their brand, so carefully consider the ‘must haves’ in terms of how you present your brand, products and services.

  1. Assets Supplied

Ok, so we can help with almost all aspects of your project. But hey, you might already have mountains of collateral, content and stuff ready to go. If so, that’s fantastic, lets us know what it is, how you would like us to use it and, when the time comes, send it through.

On the other end of the scale you might have no content, no worries we can provide content for you or we will work with you to formulate a content delivery plan that is appropriate to your project, resources, timeline and budget.


If you need help, we are ready to support you in whatever ways you need it.




Written By: Michael Menzies