Loe and creative briefs

Will Cobb

Valentine’s Day is upon us and love is in the air!  It’s the perfect time of year to strengthen the relationships in our lives - and here at a creative agency, few relationships need as much attention as those between content strategists and graphic designers.

If you want your graphic designer to love you, don’t be like Mick Jagger.  I know what you’re thinking, “Don’t be like Mick Jagger? He’s got the moves, the charisma, everyone loves him!”  Well here’s the thing: he wrote the worst creative brief; maybe ever. Here it is. Give it a read. It won’t take too long.  

One of the most acclaimed artists of the 20th century, Andy Warhol, was given this barebones set of instructions to come up with album art for The Rolling Stones. The phrase “do whatever you want” is literally used.  I like to call that phrase, “How to Get Dumped by Your Graphic Designer.” Any designer worth wooing will tell you there is nowhere near enough information in this brief to make a deliverable the client will approve of.  So that begs the question, what do you need to include when writing a brief? Most importantly, you need balance.

There’s certain details that are considered brief must-haves: dimensions, medium (i.e. Instagram ad, LinkedIn post), a general concept of color scheme or font style (for a pure graphic), the right Shutterstock search (for a photo), and the most refined version of any copy the graphic will have. However, you don’t want to put your designer in a box.  That’s where balance comes in. If you love someone, set them free. Especially the creatives. They need room to spread their wings and show you what they can do when given the freedom to create. “Do whatever you want” gives the designer freedom, but doesn’t show them that you care.

In short, if you want your designers to love you back, give them what they need, but don’t hold them down.  Let them be themselves, but make sure they know you’re there for them.

At the end of the day, despite Mick Jagger’s creative brief shortcomings, here’s what Warhol made: one of the most iconic album covers ever.

Happy Valentine's Day, XOXO liquidfish