Client Guide to: fill the brief for the agency

6 Dec

A creative brief is like a foundation of a skyscraper. In this case "a skyscraper" is all design process steps and the final deliverables.

The brief works as a kind of guide that allows all team members to be on the same wavelength. And it also plays a key role in turning an idea from your dreams into something real. We believe that filling the brief is one of the main points that will ensure the success of the project in the future. 

Let's start with the goals, expectations, clear objectives, and key features

What are you looking for? We understand that at the beginning of the work it is sometimes difficult to see a whole set of tasks. And it's okay, you can't predict everything, and a lot of things going to appear while development.

But it is critical to set clear goals. First, it increases the probability that the deliverables match expectations. Secondly, it makes these deliverables achievable in general. After all, when they are not well formulated, the process of "improvement" can be eternal.

One more important thing is that the agency team chooses certain design solutions depending on the vision of the Client's business goals. Therefore, the number of edits and the speed of the process depend on how well the Client and the agency understand each other. And the brief is the first step in this communication.

"The same tasks can be solved in different ways, depending on the vision and mission of the Client's company. The same features can look different. Therefore, it is very important for us to get the maximum amount of information before starting. We must understand that we will create a truly valuable product" — ANODA Design Team Lead.

Tell us more about yourself

What does your company do? How did the idea of its creation come about? How long have you been on the market? Who are your main competitors? What successful companies inspire you? What do your brand ambassadors look like?

The more the agency team learns about the Client's experience, the better they understand the company's mission and values. Details that may seem insignificant at first sight will actually help you generate great ideas.

Let's talk about a target audience

We always work by the design process. One of its first stages is UX research, during which we conduct user interviews and research the target audience of the future app. Or we try to learn more about the users of an already existing platform, if the Client needs, for example, a redesign. But it is also important to discuss the Client's vision of the portrait of the product's target audience.

We are talking not only about demographic indicators, but also the details of the users' lifestyles. After all, if you guess their interests, the product will resonate with them much better. It is necessary to understand well for whom each message in the app will be written. What are their hobbies, what jobs do they choose, how do they relax, what brands do they like, how do they make important life decisions, etc.

For example, we need to create a new digital wallet from scratch. This could be an app for young people who appreciate stylish and simple interfaces, and truly like it when brands use humor in their tone of voice. Or it is a financial solution for middle-aged people who need to feel the formality of messages because it brings a "security vibe" like a classic bank. Depending on the audience, the team will choose completely different design options.

Examples work better

No matter how detailed you describe something, everyone visualizes it in their own way. This also applies to setting tasks for designers. Therefore, providing examples will be very helpful to find common ground. The Client can provide:

  • a link to a website /app whose design he likes (it is better to indicate what exactly he likes and why);
  • study cases from Behance/ Dribbble;
  • images associated with the product from Pinterest or Google Images;
  • relevant fonts, logos, icons, etc.

Things you don't like and important historical data

This step is no less important than the others because it shows what NOT to do in the design. It can be about the personal Client's wishes, or about things that have not worked well in the history of the company. Of course, everything is individual, but it can help to avoid a few changes in the future. And this significantly speeds up the complicated process.

Usually, each project has its own previous history. You may have worked with this product in the past, but something went wrong. Or have launched a similar project and had some important experience working with it. Please share this information as it can also help prevent a lot of mistakes.

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Strategic planning in the brief

We paid a lot of attention to expectations and the beginning of the story. But it is also important to talk about the future. For example, we should take into account the need to scale to other platforms or localize to other languages in the next years.

Thinking about the product plans for the future will give the agency team an understanding of where to lay the foundation for the next key features. This will give the ability to quickly make changes if necessary, or add other functionality.

Creative brief as a project management tool

A Project manager has many tools to set up all the processes in the team and reach a complete understanding with the Client. A creative brief can also be considered such a tool because it manages the Client's expectations.

It can also reduce the number of meetings between the agency and the Client teams, as it contains answers to a large number of frequently asked questions. It allows you to develop the overall conception of the product and plays an important role throughout the development process.

Believe us, you need to implement a creative brief in your project workflow.

Some tips for fintech startups / financial management software / financial systems

The market for fintech apps has been growing rapidly in recent years. We already have many projects in our portfolio for digital wallets with data visualization, banking apps, mobile payments solutions, etc. While working on these projects, we found several features that are important to consider when filling out the brief.

Banking is a highly regulated sector. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss firstly all legally required checkboxes, important features, and other interface elements, without which it will be impossible to work with the financial information and build trust with customers. This also applies to the amount of personal information that the user must provide in order to use the application.

Legal information should also be discussed before starting the project. Since such apps, open access to money accounts receivable, and other sensitive data, users should always read all the necessary copies before making a decision. Therefore, you should discuss with the agency team where and what should be written in compliance with all the rules of financial language.

Each country has its own unique financial information and banking rules. They should be taken into account at the stage when UX designers create the information architecture of the product. 

Business growth should also be considered. It is always better to create a foundation for future product improvements. If you plan to enter new markets in the next years, there will be no need to make too many design changes and pass time-consuming workflow one more time.

Key Takeaways

Each company develops a creative brief in accordance with its design process and the way they manage the project. It is a measure of the agency's values ​​and approaches to development — whether they want to create a product that exceeds expectations and solves business needs, or simply accomplish a few tasks.

When it comes to the brief, there is never too much information. After all, every detail can help to come up with some very important ideas that will become a key feature and make users happier. So book in your schedule more time to fill out the brief.

Of course, in the process of working on the project, the team may have certain questions. And that's absolutely okay. But the brief will definitely provide answers to most of the questions that the team usually has before the start of cooperation.

  • A creative brief is a document that provides maximum information about a product and its goals. 
  • It should tell more about the company's main activity, mission values, competitors, target audience, pains and problems the product solves, and its business model.
  • This is a very useful tool that helps to improve the whole project workflow.
  • It helps to understand the Client’s taste and provides designers with the necessary details.
  • It is valuable both for the Client and the agency team.

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