NEW RETAIL DISPLAY PROJECT?
START IT OFF RIGHT WITH
AN AWESOME DESIGN BRIEF!
A design brief is a roadmap to successfully executing a design project (no matter the size, quantity, timeframe or budget) and keeps everyone involved on the same page.
It should be seen as a working document that might change, expand or adjust as the project progresses. Don’t be afraid to set a plan, even if it’s early, just make sure to keep everyone in the loop as changes to the needs and parameters of the project. Communication is critical, both internally and with your potential retail display partner. Also keep in mind that with each change (when it happens along the process) can affect the timeframe of the project.
Are you concerned that it’ll take too long to write. You’re probably juggling multiple projects and don’t have the time to dedicate half a day to writing something that could be easily talked about. But the question is how many conversations will you need to have? Any what key points in the project could be lost or forgotten. As you’re sending out an RFP or vetting new vendors, consistency and clear directives are key. So even 10 minutes to write up a quick design brief or proposal sets the project off on the right path.
How long should it be? Writing a design brief can be as short as a paragraph or as extensive as a novel (we’d be happy to read your novel but let’s make sure it’s worth your time/effort to write it). What’s right for your project depends on the complexity and dedication needed to execute the project successfully.
But the key is to include the right stuff.
A great design brief sparks creativity, accelerates the process, and provides an objective tool for evaluating the work. Here are some general tips to help the designer/design team:
- Be direct
- Clarify purpose
- Inspire the creative process
Not every project demands an extensive brief but the goal is to create a framework that is manageable and consistent. So the next time a retail display project lands on your desk, you’ll have the tools to streamline the process with minimal headaches along the road.
OF WRITING A GREAT DESIGN BRIEF
In our 40+ years of experience, (designing, manufacturing and executing retail display programs), the tell tale sign of a great display program is a great design brief. The brief or proposal can be simple 1-page form, just as long as the following key points, the design team can quickly begin ideation:
This will drive everything about the project.
BUDGET, TIMELINE, QUANTITIES. FUNCTION
Shipping methods can dictate the best design and engineering direction to prevent damage during shipment.
Logos, colors, fonts, marketing images
Product(s) to be displayed or merchandised. Dimension, weight, quantity.
What retailers? Where in the store?
WHAT TO AVOID
Poorly written design briefs doom projects from the beginning. Leading to the wrong creative direction, past-due deadlines, inefficiencies, and at best could be ignored altogether.
Now that we know why design briefs are important (o wait, you are already knew that), here are tips on what to avoid:
Too much information
Slows down the process and can be confusing if not organized in a digestible way
Not enough information
Leave too much room for interpretation with so much ground to explore? Designers work best with clear outlines with room to explore
Could be distracting if not relevant and too time consuming if not summarized.
Say what?!?!? PTQ? GIGs? RDDDDDDDDFD? Do we need google translate for this? I don’t think that’ll help. Keeping it simple is great but also decipherable is even better.
- BE DIRECT
- State clear goals, criteria and timelines to ensure the best work is presented.
- We encourage intangible descriptions that provide an emotive direction. Language helps to inform and inspire. A great way to do this is by stating questions and identifying feelings or impressions.
- Share your most recent branding guidelines or a brief description of the brands story.
- Line out the must-have in the project but leave room for interpretations.
- HOLISTIC LOOK
- For example, what type displays are you using for your overall POP strategy. By providing a holistic view of your entire program, it provides an opportunity to provide systems that work and better yet, enhance your entire program altogether.
WRAPPING IT UP
How to Write a Design Brief for Retail Displays
A design brief is a tool for sourcing an agency and building out your retail design project. It’s a working document meant to be added to and/or modified. And that’s exactly how it should be used! You’ll get ideas as you go, things will change, goals will become easily reachable or be out of reach. Your focus might change altogether.
Your design brief should be used to reach out to agencies, and referred back to at key milestones within the project and built in flexibility. It’s a great initial document to have, but it should grow with your project. What do you think? How did you write your design brief? Let us know in the comments below.
Our how-to guide provides an overview for writing a great design brief for your next display project.
But if you’re not sure on where to get started, contact us to discuss your project.
So, it’s time to get the process started!