The product design brief is the foundation of any project. It is vital to the kickstart, smooth running, and delivery of your product on time and within budget. It will inform the designer of exactly what is required for the project, guide the workflow from beginning to end, keep communication clear between the client and designer, and serve as a reference point for evaluating design processes against user needs.
Being able to write one, (the goal-oriented one at that), is then a very important skill. So, In this blog, you will be put through what is included in a goal-oriented design brief and how to create the perfect one.
Here are the points which tell what should be included in a goal-oriented brief:
1. Company profile overview
2. Project overview and scope
3. The problem faced
4. Goals and objectives
5. Target audience and market
6. Design requirements
7. Project budget and schedule
Let’s begin with,
- Company profile overview.
The company overview highlights key information about your company such as its purpose, values, and structure. This allows you to accurately create a project goal. Here are some example questions that you can ask yourself to get a clear overview of your company:
- What is the mission of your brand, what are your values, and what is the message you want to deliver to your target audience?
- What are the keywords that describe your company?
- What makes your company unique?
- In which market are you active?
- What is the size of your company?
- What is the market you are focusing on and what are your growth ambitions? (only if they are relevant to the project)
- Project overview and scope.
The project overview outlines what needs to be done and why. Not only is this important for you to know but it also helps the agency develop a detailed understanding of your needs. It defines the depth of your project and describes your expectations:
- Are you looking to make a design from scratch?
- Or do You just want tips and adjustments for an existing design?
A thorough project overview and scope help clarify what the design company’s deliverables will be, although this would be stated, in detail, in a separate paragraph later in the brief.
- The problem faced.
You can only create a goal-oriented solution if you have accurately assessed the problem. Without clearly identifying your problem, the design agency won’t know how to go about things and their results may not meet the goal set for the project. If your problem is, for example: ‘Our current products are overtaken on our market with similar ones and we need to innovate to stay ahead of the market and stay relevant,’ then you could ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the target audience we are focusing on?
- What is the purpose of our product?
- What are the specifications of the copycat?
- How can we improve on the existing ones?
- What would be the perfect product-market combination?
Regardless of the type of problem you’re facing, it is important to state it clearly, so the designers can address it properly.
- Goals and Objectives.
What would success look like for your project?
This section of the brief describes your desired outcome. Your goal defines the overall purpose of the project and should be concrete and measurable. For example, a measurable goal could be something like: ‘Launch the first generation of this product within a year. By making sure your goals and objectives are stated, you can easily monitor the process of your project, ensure the project stays on track, and get everyone working towards a common goal.
- Target audience and market.
Understanding your audience: why should you do this? It is important to get as much information about the target audience as possible to help you make the right decisions when developing your design work.
‘What gender will use the product?’ and ‘What age group is the audience?’ are some example questions that this section could address. It’s important to design for your target audience because they will be the ones buying and using the product. The audience’s opinion is the key to a successful product.
- Design requirements.
This is where all the demands to make the project successful are listed. By including specific design requirements in your brief, you and the design team can reflect on the progress and results.
Setting up a clear list of requirements gives your design team boundaries so that they can focus on the given goals and objectives. Design requirements differ for each project but some examples include the aesthetic, mechanical requirements, hardware, or software.
- Project budget and schedule.
Planning your budget and schedule is often viewed as an afterthought and sometimes disregarded until the end of the project. However, by planning your project’s budget and the time from the start, you’re able to dedicate resources to the project upfront, which can limit your chances of running into difficult obstacles.
Discussing the budget for a project can be awkward, but it is essential to know, both for you and your team. Financial limitations greatly affect design decisions and deter designers from focusing on the most important and relevant aspects of the project.
It is useful to manage your time and ideally work according to a project schedule. Writing out a rough timeline sets realistic expectations for you and your team. An effective timeline includes key milestones with objectives and delivery dates for each.
In drafting this section, you can use earlier projects you’ve done as an example for your budget plan and schedule.
Although all aspects of the project brief are important, including a list of deliverables is absolutely essential. It ensures that you and your agency have a shared understanding of what work is expected. In this paragraph of your brief, you should ask yourself:
‘What deliverables do I expect at the completion of the project or each milestone?’
Some examples of deliverables are prototypes, technical designs, 3D models, or even websites. It is essential to avoid misunderstandings and to be on the same page as your agency from start to finish. This will save you a lot of time.
Writing an effective design project or good design brief is one of the most valuable project management tools. By following the steps given above here, you will have an effective and goal-oriented strategy to guide your design project and design work. You can minimize miscommunications, mitigate risk, and effectively manage your resources.
A thorough one is the best way to ensure the final design solution successfully and efficiently addresses the problems to solve.
If this is your first project and you have no experience with setting up a goal-oriented brief, you could consult a design agency to stand out from the crowd. ;)
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