Briefing designers – what we need to know

Mockup of one of Patton'd Studios' project briefs.
Briefing designers is a huge determining factor in how fast and how smoothly a project goes. A good brief tells everybody what's going on, and sets a project up for success. A bad brief…well let's just say that chaos ensues. Here we've listed a few things that we need to know before we put the proverbial pencil to paper.
What the project is

Obviously, we need to know what you would like us to produce. The more specific you can be, the better! Because for us, there is a big difference between an infographic, a diagram, and an illustration. The “what” impacts everything from our timelines, right through to the team that will work with you on your design. 

The purpose

Good designs not only look great, they also bring about a certain result. Sometimes what we are asked to create is not necessarily the best solution for communicating that piece of research. The more we know, the more we can help you reach your research and outreach goals. The purpose can also influence the style we choose. Especially for journal covers where certain journals prefer a particular style of artwork.

A good brief let’s everybody know exactly what’s going on, and sets an entire project up for success. A bad brief…well let’s just say that chaos ensues.


From covers to figures and diagrams, scientific journals can be particularly adamant about their graphics having specific dimensions – and yes, they differ across journals! By the same extension, font sizes are often very important for funding proposals (usually size 12pt). These details are crucial to our document set-up and may impact the overall composition so the more you can tell us, the fewer changes we have to make down the track. 

Print or Digital?

Or both, we can certainly accommodate both. Knowing where and how a design will be used greatly determines how we compose a design. In the case of a printed proposal or report, we can design across a double-page spread. However, on a digital platform, most people view PDFs as single-page spreads. This can make a print-based design look disjointed and it may distract from the content. 


If you are working on behalf of an organisation, chances are they will have specific rules about colours, fonts and logo use. These are typically set out in a style or brand guide that is very useful to us if you are able to provide it. It may seem small but a font swap can alter an entire layout so knowing this information in advance can save us a lot of backtracking (and costs) later on.

Yfoundations style guide booklet, laying open and showing the new Yfoundations logo and colours.

The all-important deadline. This determines the pace of the entire project. From the deadline, we backtrack to determine when we need to submit drafts, and which team members have availabilities to work on your project. Because of this, it’s vital you give us an accurate entire workflow. The more specific you can be, the less chaotic it is for us and the better our designs will be. 

Short on time? Try Quick Graphics!

We get it, you’re busy and writing a brief is another thing to do. That’s why we’ve created our Quick Graphics form containing everything we need to know for a graphic design brief. Simply answer our questions, hit submit and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours with our reverse brief full of work examples and ideas, ready for you to approve.

Want to work with us?​

Check out some of the testimonials on our homepage to see what other organisations have to say about our work. 

If you’re interested in us becoming your forever creative collaborator, we welcome you to book a free 30-minute consult with Molly to help you get the ball rolling on your next project – we can’t wait to work with you!


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