How to Brief a Freelance Designer

Posted on by in Web Design

Are you looking to hire a freelance designer for your business cards or website? Not sure what to ask for? There are a few good resources out there, especially the Australian Government’s own, that detail what you should outline in your project plan. Talking to a designer, as a non-designer, can be complicated for several reasons.

For one, if they are a creative type, they will probably have a good idea of what works, and what they want to do, for your business. Second, most designers have specific ideas on what a modern design looks like, so if you ask specifically for things like a “modern logo” they will be able to show you and run with it. If none of these things match up to your ideas or expectations of a design, you need to make sure this is detailed up front.

The first thing a client should do is map out what it is they actually want in detail, and what they want to get out of the project.

Project information

Who are you, and what are you to the project? The best designers will want to know straight away if they are dealing with the managing director or the marketing manager who reports to the MD. The difference in communication methods can make all the difference.

Background (where are we now)

Any good freelance designer will want to know who you are and your industry. Tell the agency about your product/service what makes you unique. What is the background story to your company? What have you had done so far?

Objectives (where do we want to be?)

Explain what you want to achieve, e.g. increase sales, improve awareness, raise response levels, etc. Try to make your objectives specific and measurable. If you are looking for a logo or a web design, then tell the freelancer specifically what functions your website should have. If you are looking for a way to convert traffic say so.

Strategy (how do we get there?)

If you are looking for a specific strategy to get to your campaign, you should say so. If you want a list rental, or a direct mail campaign that is part of a letter box drop, you should say so. If you are looking to have your website designed in WordPress, then let the freelance designer know. As design2work, freelance web designers london, says, if you are looking for your website to have a contact form, ask for it.

Audience (who are we talking to)

Your objective is to get a response from your audience. Tell the agency who your target audience is. Define your audience(s) as accurately as possible and share any insights you have about them with the agency.

Evaluation (what success will look like)

How will you measure success? When will it be measured? Who will measure it?

Practicalities

Mandatories:

Is there anything that must be included; for example – offer terms and conditions? Are there any corporate identity guidelines? What legal constraints are there?

Timings:

What are the deadlines? What are the media booking dates (if applicable)? By when do you want to see creative concepts? Does the project have to tie in with dates of other campaigns?

Budget:

Specifying a budget up front will help to avoid reworking of solutions. If you are reluctant to do this, then suggest three budgets and ask the agency which they would recommend and why. Alternatively, ask the agency to recommend a budget.

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2 Responses to “How to Brief a Freelance Designer”

  1. Josh 21 September 2011 at 4:54 am #

    I’ve also had some great success running contests for design work for example at 99designs. You can provide all the information you have listed, but can also get designs created by hundreds of designers, not just one, and get a glimpse of each of their perspectives and choose the one that best fits your needs.

    • Robert Steers 21 September 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      99designs is a good way to go, if you are happy with opening up the design to people who will just throw anything they have at it. Professional designers will sit down and work out what it is about your brand that is unique, and marketing consultants will help find the best method of conveying your USP. If you are happy to move past all that, then 99 designs can be great!


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