De-constructing the creative brief to encourage design that works for your business

Christian Tait
Creative Director / Founder | Creative Cadence
28th November 2013

What is a creative brief?

A creative brief clearly outlines the scope and instructions for a job between creative supplier and client. It should include a simple overview of the project, the main business objective and any relevant background information, either relating to the job or the client/brand involved.

Creative briefs should also give insight into the target audience the final output is to be directed at, be it advertising, direct mail, a website, or even a video.

Why does anyone need a creative brief?

A creative brief acts as a platform between client and creative agency/creative supplier where the direction of the job can be agreed.

It’s a good idea if the brief is written after an initial scoping meeting between creative and client and then run past the client again for sign-off. This means that both parties are (hopefully!) in agreement about the job to be undertaken, before it’s started.

Doing this can help save precious time and budget further down the line that a verbal brief might end up causing, when neither party can remember what was said.

What’s the most important part?

The most important part of a creative brief (and often the hardest to write) is the ‘single-minded proposition‘. This should be one sentence detailing the single most important thing that the piece of creative work should convey to its intended audience. The creative brief should always be ‘brief’, that’s why it’s called what it is. However, it can often run to two or three pages. If a creative needs to refer back to anything within the brief, then the ‘single-minded proposition’ is the one thing they’ll look at, to make sure their creative is on target. Make the proposition short, almost like a line that might appear on a billboard:

'When I drive the new x-car from x-company I feel free!'

Being single-minded makes it powerful and effective. We don’t want to see the word ‘and’ or use of brackets here!

Not just the 'fluffy stuff'!

The creative brief also details the basics of budget and timings on a job and clearly sets out everyone’s contact details.


Put energy into a good creative brief and you’ll get creative energy out the other side! Use the below infographic as reference for your next creative brief.  


About the author

Christian Tait is the Creative Director at Creative Cadence Limited. Creative Cadence provides small to medium businesses with the full suite of creative services it takes to start up, grow and stay front of mind. Creative thinking, considered design and practical advice to help shape your brand and your business.


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