Typically a one- or two-page document, a creative brief outlines the approach and scope of a creative project, serving as a map that guides creative teams through the specifications and requirements for a project or campaign from start to finish. While they’re widely used in the advertising industry, creative briefs are also valuable tools for marketing, graphic design, and any project relying on creative assets to achieve campaign objectives.
Creative briefs are essential for ensuring that creative assets are on-brand and in line with the campaign’s objectives. Without one, much time and effort could be wasted retracing steps and recreating assets that were off the mark. After developing a creative brief, make it accessible to every project stakeholder in your digital asset management system, as well as other assets your creative talent needs to get the job done well, such as your brand guide, current iterations of logos, and other brand assets.
Below, you’ll find templates to guide you in developing a creative brief, examples of effective creative briefs, and best practices to ensure you don’t go down the wrong path.
Creative Brief Templates
If you’re new to developing creative briefs, these templates will walk you through the important questions to ask and elements to consider so you can be sure you’re covering all the bases.
- HubSpot: 13 Questions to Help You Write a Compelling Creative Brief – Answer this series of 13 questions when developing a creative brief to avoid missing important elements like the target audience, the problem, positioning, calls to action, language requirements, channels, and more.
- Content Marketing Institute: How to Write a Great Creative Brief – This article includes important tips for writing a creative brief, plus a downloadable checklist you can use to formulate an effective creative brief.
- 99designs: How to write an amazing creative brief (plus free template!) – Packed with useful tips and guidance for developing a functional creative brief, 99designs also includes a downloadable template to make it easy for you to replicate their recommended process.
- TemplateLAB: Creative Brief Templates & Examples – If you want to check out a few different approaches and examples of good creative briefs, TemplateLAB has an impressive collection you can browse.
- Smartsheet: Free Creative Brief Templates – Download Smartsheet’s client creative brief template for Excel to get your client-facing creative briefs underway quickly, or choose from other template options such as creative brief templates for graphic design, advertising, non-profits, and more.
Examples of Effective Creative Briefs
Templates are certainly helpful, but sometimes it’s easier to be inspired by fully functional examples of creative briefs companies are using today. If learn-by-example is more your style, check out these example creative briefs to start developing your own approach.
- AdCracker: Example Creative Brief – While it’s not a single example of a creative brief from one particular company, this guide outlines all the key elements for a creative brief and provides helpful examples of each.
- Workamajig: How to Write the Most Compelling Creative Brief (with Examples) – This helpful guide includes a variety of examples of creative briefs from companies like Hush Puppies, Reebok, Quaker, and more.
- Canva: How to write an effective design brief: examples and a free template to get you started – While this post is focused on design briefs, Canva provides a number of informative case studies comparing design briefs that work with those that don’t.
- NewsCred: How to Write a Creative Brief [With Examples] – NewsCred covers the ins and outs of effective creative briefs and delves into some examples of creative briefs done right from PayPal, Quaker, and everyone’s favorite board game, Monopoly.
Best Practices for Developing Creative Briefs
Ready to get started on your creative brief? Keep these best practices in mind to get all the key points across.
- Provide background relevant to the creative team or designer. If you’re preparing a brief for an outside consultant or agency, for instance, you’ll want to include more background information about the client or company, what they do, and their vision. In-house creatives may already know much of this background info, so you can typically trim to what’s new or essential for this particular project.
- Offer a detailed explanation of the project, why it’s needed, and objectives you want to achieve. When creatives understand your goals and the driving force behind the project, they’ll product better results.
- Don’t forget to provide the target audience. Without knowing who the campaign or project is targeting, creative teams may fall short when it comes to messaging.
- Be clear about the brand voice and tone you’re going for. This is one of the most common ways creative projects miss the mark, but you can avoid retracing steps and reworking projects by providing a clear description of the brand’s voice and desired tone upfront (even better if you provide examples). Any specific colors, fonts, or design elements that must be incorporated? Be sure to include those specifics, too.
- Ensure the creative team has access to all required brand assets. If you have a DAM solution, use metadata tagging to tag and categorize all assets relevant to the project and make sure all members of the creative team who need access have the right permissions. Otherwise, creatives will be emailing to request assets or access to your content hub, slowing the project timeline.
If you don’t have a DAM solution to manage your creative briefs and brand assets, download our white paper, Selecting a DAM – Things to Consider, below to find out what questions you should be asking before choosing a DAM.
If you’re looking for a robust digital asset management solution that offers automated workflows, built-in content distribution tools, versioning and access control, and more, schedule a demo today to learn how MerlinOne can transform your marketing and creative operations.