How to write a creative brief

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Wondering how to write a creative brief for a design agency? You have arrived at the right place!

Writing a creative brief for an agency may seem daunting, especially if it’s a large-scale project. A well-written brief can make a huge difference to the outcome of a project.

But don’t be anxious; it isn’t as scary as it sounds. A creative brief is an outline of the project which outlines the background, objectives, specific requirements and milestones. This seven-step guide should help point you in the right direction.

1. Who are you?

Introducing your brand to your agency is the first step in establishing a fruitful collaboration. Clearly defining who you are as a company, your values, mission, and unique selling propositions (USPs) provides invaluable context for the creative team. By understanding your brand identity, the agency can align their strategies and creative concepts to effectively communicate your message to your target audience.

Additionally, sharing insights into your company’s history, industry position, and competitive landscape helps the agency develop a deeper understanding of your brand’s positioning and challenges. Remember, the more information you provide about your brand, the better equipped your agency will be to deliver compelling and relevant creative solutions.

how to write a creative brief for a design business - an article by dave Holloway, freelance designer in Leeds

2. Who are you trying to reach?

Identifying your target audience is crucial for crafting impactful creative work that resonates with the right people. Clearly defining your target demographic, including demographics such as age, gender, location, interests, and behavior, helps the agency tailor their messaging and creative approach to effectively engage your audience.

Moreover, delving deeper into consumer insights, such as pain points, motivations, and preferences, enables the agency to develop more targeted and personalized campaigns that drive meaningful connections with your audience. By understanding who you’re trying to reach, your agency can develop strategies that cut through the noise and deliver messages that speak directly to your target audience’s needs and aspirations.

how to write a creative brief for a creative agency - an article by dave Holloway, freelance designer in Leeds

3. What is your goal?

Defining clear objectives is the cornerstone of any successful creative project. Clearly articulating what you aim to achieve with your campaign or project provides a roadmap for your agency to develop strategies and creative concepts that align with your goals. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or launching a new product, specifying your objectives allows your agency to tailor their approach and measure success effectively.

Additionally, setting SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound—helps ensure that your objectives are clear, actionable, and attainable. By collaborating with your agency to define your goals, you lay the foundation for a focused and results-driven creative strategy that delivers tangible outcomes for your business.

how to write a creative brief for a marketing agency - an article by dave Holloway, freelance designer in Leeds

4. What is your schedule?

Establishing a clear timeline is essential for ensuring that your creative project stays on track and meets your deadlines. Communicating your schedule requirements to your agency allows them to allocate resources, plan workflows, and set realistic milestones to achieve your objectives effectively. Consider factors such as project complexity, review processes, and external dependencies when setting your schedule.

Providing your agency with a comprehensive timeline enables them to manage expectations, anticipate potential challenges, and ensure timely delivery of deliverables. Remember, effective project management relies on clear communication and collaboration between you and your agency to keep the project on schedule and on target.

how to write a creative brief for a design agency - an article by dave Holloway, freelance designer in Leeds

5. What is your budget?

Determining your budget is a fundamental aspect of any creative project. It not only sets the parameters for what can be accomplished but also helps your agency tailor their strategies to meet your financial constraints effectively. When considering your budget, think about the scale of the project and what resources will be required to achieve your goals.

Communicating a clear budget to your agency allows them to propose solutions that align with your financial expectations while still delivering high-quality results. Remember, transparency regarding your budget ensures a smoother collaboration and helps avoid any unexpected costs down the line.

how to write a creative brief for a design agency - an article by dave Holloway, freelance designer in Leeds

6. What are your creative preferences?

Every brand has its own unique identity. An essential part of how to write a creative brief is communicating your creative preferences to your agency to ensure that your vision is accurately translated into the final product. Whether you prefer minimalist designs, vibrant visuals, or a more traditional approach, sharing your creative preferences provides valuable guidance for the agency’s creative team.

Additionally, discussing elements such as tone of voice, color schemes, and imagery can help refine the creative direction and ensure that it resonates effectively with your target audience. By articulating your creative preferences clearly, you empower your agency to craft a solution that not only meets your objectives but also reflects the essence of your brand.

how to write a creative brief for an agency - an article by dave Holloway, freelance designer in Leeds

How to Write a Creative Brief: Final Thoughts

Crafting a compelling creative brief is essential for guiding your agency towards success in executing your vision. By following the steps outlined in this guide—defining your brand, setting clear goals, identifying your target audience, establishing a realistic schedule, determining your budget, and communicating your creative preferences—you lay the groundwork for a productive collaboration that yields impactful results.

About the author

Dave Holloway is a highly experienced designer strategist based in Leeds (UK). For 16 years, he ran a multi-award-winning creative agency working on a diverse range of projects for world-class clients. He now works in collaboration with creative agencies and directly with clients.
Whether setting the direction through intelligent brand strategy, or tactical execution through digital and offline channels, he helps businesses of all sizes to communicate more effectively. If you have a branding or web design project you’d like to discuss, please get in touch.