The Creative Brief


What is it?

A creative brief is a discussion document developed by the client and guided by the designers and other decision-makers. It is a plan for the project that includes the information necessary for designers to understand exactly what they are being asked to do. Its most important feature is clarity so everyone is on the same page. They know who they are talking to and what they are saying to them.

How is a Creative Brief Structured?

A Creative Brief Includes:

Market Information
-Information on the marketplace, the product, the competitors, the target-market, and the budget

Problem Identification

-What problem are we trying to resolve?
-What is the overall goal of the campaign?

Advertising Objectives

-Based on the goal, what are we trying to achieve?

Positioning-Strategy Statement

-Statement of brand’s benefits, personality, or desired image
-Selling concept or message

Creative Objectives

-What is the message?
-What are the key benefits?
-What claims are we making to the consumer?
-What is the support for the message?

Creative Strategy

-How will we communicate the message?
-What is the central theme or “big idea”?
-What tone and style will be developed?
-What appeal techniques will be used?

Creative Execution

-What tactics will be used to present the message to generate maximum impact on the audience?
-What production strategy will be used? (5)

Why Is It Important?

A creative brief is the first step and foundation of any project. A strong, clean, organized creative brief will make all of the following steps easier. (4)
It is important because:
-It increases communication.
*The client identifies exactly what he/she wants.
*The designers understand exactly what is expected.
-It forces structured thinking and discipline upon the team. (2)
-The client and designers clearly understand the simplest, most basic goals of the project.
-Clearly defined goals allow designers the freedom to produce focused, creative work.
-The more thorough the brief, the easier the design stage goes.
*more focused and concise
*reduces revisions
*saves time/money
*decreases stress/frustration
*client feels more involved (3)
-The better the brief, the better the result. (1)

Tips for Writing a Creative Brief

  1. Think the project through.
  2. Establish clear goals.
  3. Anticipate and identify problems.
  4. Be clear, concise, and focused.
  5. Include crucial details.
  6. Identify what must be included and what must be avoided.
  7. Understand your audience.
  8. Identify benefits of the product.
  9. Choose the tone and style you want to create.
  10. Be perfectly clear on the message.


1.Crombie, Catriona and Roger Hart, “Building a Better Brief”, Sept 17, 2009.
2. Eklund, Andy, “A Brief on Creative Briefs”.
3.Quinn, Aaron, “Why the Creative Brief is So Important”, July 29, 2008.
4.Swenson, Laurel, “How to Write a Creative Brief (a guide for clients)”.
5. Tuckwell, Keith J. 2009. Canadian Advertising in Action, Eighth Edition.
Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.