How to Write a Good Creative Brief Template for your Agency [Download]

Think of the final stage of any project, when you send your deliverables to the client.

Be it a translation, an illustration, or even a full-fledged marketing campaign…

The last thing you want to hear is “well, this doesn’t represent our brand at all”. Or worse: “we didn’t want that“.

When a creative project involves an outside client, you need everyone to be on the same page.

This is where creative briefs come in.

They come in many different forms, and they help you and your team deliver a project that the client is guaranteed to like.

In this blog post, we explore the idea of the creative brief: what it is, what kind of agency or projects need them, how to write a good brief, and finally, we offer a couple of basic, starter creative brief templates that you can use and adapt right away for your own agency.

Let’s dive right into it!

What is a creative brief?

A creative brief is a document consisting of a series of simple questions answered by your potential client, that helps agencies be more efficient when developing creative deliverables.

You wouldn’t take on a design project where the client simply tells you, “hey, we need a new logo”, or “we sell soda, please write a funny script for our ads”.

You need to know:

  • What the target audience is;
  • How the product differs from others in the market;
  • What the objective / desired customer behaviour is (is it sales? is it just brand awareness?);
  • And much, much more.

You may have already experienced a form of creative briefing on other websites.

99Designs, for example, does an excellent job at writing a small creative brief for each and every one of their clients:

99designs creative brief

It’s simple: the topic is too subjective to “just know” what you have to do. You need to understand exactly what the client is visualizing.

Yet another example: whenever I have to take on a new translation project for my freelance business, there’s almost always a creative brief attached to the translatable.

Things like tone of voice, banned/preferred words or language, target audience, etc. are all things I need to know before I start working.

Now that you know what a creative brief is, let’s focus on learning how to write a good one.

How to write a good creative brief template?

Remember: the goal of a creative brief is to streamline the agency’s workflow and make it more efficient.

Therefore, your brief template should contain everything you need to get to work in a concise, easily accessible, and digestible format so that you may refer to it at any point in the creative process.

Powerpoints, text editors, and excel sheets are all excellent and allow both the agency and the requestor to collaborate on the brief.

Typically, a creative brief template contains:

  • Company ethos, values, or mission statement
  • Target audience: who is the receiver? What are their beliefs, culture, needs, political views?
  • Objectives: what is the primary desired behaviour? How does your work fit into the company’s overall strategy?
  • Deliverables: in what format will your creative project be delivered? When? How much of it?
  • Budget?
  • Project-specifics details…

Remember that your client will work on the brief with you, so keep it simple and create a form or document that is easy to fill out.

The document should end up concise but precise: one or two pages maximum.

Here is, for example, Paypal’s creative brief:

paypal creative brief

Creative brief templates examples

To finish this post, I’d like to share a couple of templates to inspire you to create your agency’s very own creative brief.

Although all briefs are very similar in design, not all share the same specifics, usually depending on industry and, of course, company.

Here are some creative brief templates for some of the most popular industries out there. However, feel free to adapt them to your business and specific needs!

Creative brief template for logo design

Title and description: A short summary of the intention of your creative brief.
Example: Logo for a brand new SaaS application.

Objectives: Where will your logo be used (website, brochures…) What emotions and feelings should it convey?
Example: The logo will be used on our website and potential marketing brochures at startup fairs. Should relate to our analytics software and convey trust.

Audience: Who is the intended audience for this product, and how should your logo relate to their interests and values?
Example: We sell to small and medium-sized companies with an interest in organic growth/search engine optimization.

Assets and deliverables: What format do you prefer the logo delivered in? Do you need vector files, how many sizes should the logo come in? Do you need any extras (logo with/without company name, favicon…)?

References and inspirations: What style do you prefer? Can you share logos you really like from existing companies? Can you pick a selection of different logos from this moodboard? Should the logo feature a company name, a tagline?

Creative direction: Should the logo be playful, serious? Young or more established? What are the brand’s primary colors?

Budget: What is your budget for this project?

Timeline: When should the different parts of the project be completed?
Example: Week 1 – Brainstorm and initial logo ideas, Week 2 – First version and refining, Week 3 – Delivery

Creative brief template for advertising agency

Title and description: Intention of your creative brief.
Example: Run Google ads to increase our brand awareness on search engines.

Objectives: What is your goal: sales, brand awareness, visits?

Audience: The intended audience for the product, and as many demographics as possible.
Example: Men, 35+, United States, weight loss

Assets and deliverables: How many ad sets will you need? How many and which keywords do you wish to target?

Brand voice, messaging, and tone: What type of tone do you want us to use in your ads?
Example: Understanding and cheerful

Key insight, positioning, and competition: What makes your company different from others? What’s your unique selling proposition? Who are your main competitors?

Budget: What is your budget for this project? For how long should the ads run?

Timeline: When should the different parts of the project be completed?
Example: Week 1 – Ad sets and targeting specifics/keywords, Week 2 – Ad copy, Week 3 – Final deliverables

Creative brief template for video

Title and description: A short summary of the intention of your creative brief.

Objectives: The tangible goals for this video project. What will the campaign accomplish, what is the strategy behind the video?
Example: We want to introduce the company to the general public.

Audience: Who will the video be presented to? Be specific: gender, age, education, ethnicity, income level… How do your users or customers relate to and feel about your brand?

Assets and deliverables: How long should the video be (if restrictions), and in what format do you need it delivered? On which platform(s) will the video be used or published?

Brand voice, messaging, and tone: What is the main message you wish to convey? What should the tone be: funny, more serious, musical even?
Example: The main message should convey that we are the go-to alternative to [Company XYZ]. Serious tone.

Key insight, positioning and competition: What makes your company different from others? What’s your unique selling proposition? Who are your main competitors?

Visuals and inspirations: Do you have a mood board for this project or a collection of images that reflect the look and feel of your idea?

Budget: What is the budget for this project?

Timeline: When should the different phases of this project be completed?
Example: Week 1 – Script, Week 2 – Animation or filming, Week 3 – Final deliverables

Wrapping up…

We hope you found these creative brief templates useful.

Use the list to start designing your own creative brief, or take one of the templates and use it right away for your next project!

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