In Brief: A Roadmap to Remarkable Results

I said before I’d say it again, and guess what? Here we are already!

I want to talk a little more about collaboration in today’s blog. Specifically, about how we forge the client-designer relationship on a creative project. 

Design is communication, so it’s not surprising that a strong relationship starts with a conversation. The initial consultations between client and designer do more than brainstorm ideas and agree deliverables. They provide us with the background, motivation, and aspirations for the project. 

This information is distilled into a design brief, also referred to as a creative or project brief. Or simply, the brief – a detailed specification agreed by both parties before work commences. 

Early in my career, I learned the benefits of a project discovery phase. In addition to understanding a client’s objectives, we go further into other influencing factors, such as their business strategy, audience, and competitors in the market space. 

The deliverable is a well-researched brief designed to produce remarkable results. It gives both client and the Ditto! Design! team clear outlines of where we are at the start, where we want to be at the end of the project, and all the important details in between.

I often refer to this as a strategic blueprint in client discussions, although we could also call it a roadmap – an analogy that makes sense if we see the design process as a journey. 

It’s common for a design to evolve over the course of a project, because the path from initial concept to final product can be influenced by any number of factors, like timescales, budgets, or a client’s personal taste. 

And much like a GPS system, an experienced designer will account for these route changes and roadblocks and work around them, if possible (and so as not to scare you, limitations often work in favor of the design). 

This is where a clear, detailed brief shows its strength. At any point on the journey, we can refer back to our original agreement and base any course corrections from a place of common understanding.

If the process of creating a brief sounds a little intimidating, don’t worry. We don’t always need to go into explicit detail on every project. But when we find the right balance of understanding, this facilitates greater collaboration throughout the project.

It’s always exciting to explore ideas and possibilities you present, but it’s equally as important that we get to know you. A properly researched design brief reflects our understanding of who you are as a business. Because the better we know you and what you hope to achieve, the stronger the outcome will be. 

Just like the old public service announcements on TV would say, “the more you know…”

This is Rick, signing off.


Howdy! I’m Rick, a brand expert and seasoned graphic designer in NY’s Hudson Valley. For more than 40 years I’ve been creating remarkable brand solutions for individuals, companies and nonprofits here and beyond.

I want people to understand why brand is essential to their business, share a few personal experiences, and explore what goes into a good (or bad) design.