BRIEF : What should be in a brief?

1. Specifications – the facts

The brief should state:
  • the scope of the project. Outline clearly the areas you expect the designer to manage – for instance, will you be supplying copy or will the services of a writer needed?
  • the physical shape of the project. Specify the number of pages (including the cover), the quantity you need, the finished flat size, the number of colours to be printed and the type of paper stock.
  • the budget (even if it is in a range)
  • whether you expect itemised charges (for example additional hourly rates for author’s corrections)
  • any additional work that may be needed  (for example, extensive tables, charts or graphs).
In 2010 the Victorian Government documented specifications for their reports – we don't think it has been updated yet. Download it here.

Your criteria may change once the project is underway, but it is important to start with one set of specifications on which everyone bases their estimate.

Don't know how many pages the report may be?

It is difficult to judge how many pages will be needed to report on your year, but one way to start is to draw a flat plan of the document and allocate information to each page, or each spread. Don't know what a flat plan is? Download a flat plan of an annual report here.

Getting accurate print costs

Some clients handle their own print, others prefer designers to manage the print as part of the design management of a project. Either way it's important clients understand what detail is needed to get accurate print costs because print is often the largest item of the budget, so the more accurate the print cost, the more accurate the budget.
Download a pdf sample print specifications sheet.


Getting the print specs right will make it easier to compare quotes.

Specifications should include:
The size of the report ie. A4, B5.
The orientation ie landscape or portrait.
The number of colours.
The number of pages.
The stock.
The quantity.

Download a specification sheet.


Design Business Council (dbc) workshops

Preparing a design brief and Evaluating a design presentation

The dbc is a professional development body that helps organisations work with designers. dbc workshops will assist you prepare a brief and then evaluate a presentation.

More detail on the workshops...