BRIEF : What should be in a brief?

2. Expectations – roles and responsibilities

It is not industry-practice to ask for free designs (a free-pitch), so designers need to be able to show their creativity as part of a written submission – the brief should give designers enough information to do that well.

State the key message you want communicated: the aim of the report. This will help designers mould their response.

List your expectations – the more clarity at the beginning, the less confusion/conflict during the process. Possible inclusions are:
  • how much design you want to see/approve before proceeding to artwork: for example how many cover concepts? Text designs? Financials?
  • any set criteria you expect the designer to meet: for example do you expect that they have prior experience in annual reports?
  • whether you expect to see previous work as part of the submission
  • if you have any pre-existing relationships with suppliers (for examples printers or writers) that you expect will be included in the production process
  • what – if any – your expectations are in relation to use of photography or illustrations
  • whether after-hours work is expected
  • whether you expect copyright to be assigned.
Also list what the designer can expect from you:
  • when you will supply files
  • roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders (for example, will the finance department check the financial pages directly or through the project manager?)
  • what your approval process includes.
Addressing these expectations at the beginning will be helpful in the longrun.

Download a pdf sample of a briefing document.

Managing expectations

Managing expectations can be one of the most difficult parts of an annual report. One way to avoid surprises it is to get as much information as possible at the beginning.

In print, that means getting printed samples that use the same stock and colour treatment as your project.

Paper companies will supply these as well as make up samples in the exact paper that you specify.

MBd works closely with Bambra Press and Raleigh Paper to help show samples that will match the design brief.