UnderCover: Visual Design Brief

Monday, August 30, 2010

Visual Design Brief

This is a great article by Joe Duffy of Duffy & Partners about visual design briefs—what they are and how to use them.

Joe defines the visual brief as:

"It is quite literally a collage that paints a picture of the world we'd like to design in. After we've agreed with the client on the written brief that outlines all the goals and parameters, we start bringing it to life, visually. Please note, this is not a so called 'mood board,' where planners tear out pictures from People magazine to try to evoke an emotional understanding of the target audience. It's rather a piece of art, made up of the scrap we designers collect, shoot, draw and edit, along with our clients, to make sure of two things: 1) We're on the same page before we start designing and 2) we've created a filter through which design decisions on type, layout, color, photo/illustration style, etc., can be considered and evaluated."

As I start working on the branding of Ultimate Guru Music, I plan to try my first visual brief and see how I can integrate it into my client relations process. It's always good to have more tools to deal with clients during the branding process.

I also like Joe's admonition to use visual briefs to engage the client in the design process, because it eliminates the element of surprise. And according to Joe, surprising clients after much design work has already been done is a bad idea. It's best to get buy-in from the client on the visual and verbal in every way possible except the actual designing. Collaboration with clients, after all, should be welcome not feared.

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