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Compendium of Design

A Body of Knowledge
Learn from those who designed before you.

The Design Brief


The Design Brief

A Design Brief is a vital document within the design process. Considered a legal document between the designer and client or user, the design brief outlines the scope and specifications of the design process. A typical design brief includes the following details:

A Titlepage

A presentation page that clearly outline the content of the document. This should include the title of the design project, the designer's details, the date, and a simple synopsis or abstract about the contents of the brief.


This is the main body of the document which details the parameters of the design project. Each part of the content should be clearly indicated with concise and well formatted titles. It should additionally be well formatted with appropriate headers and footers.

The content typically includes;

The Designer's details

The designer should typically include their professional information including their company name, lead designer, address, phone number, email, website etc.

The Client's details

The Client's details should typically include the client's company name, the primary contact, address, phone number, email, website etc.


It is common practice to provide a detailed profile of the client. If the client is a company, then a detailed outline of the company would be appropriate. This information can typically come from the company themselves or summarised by the designer. If the client is also the user / audience then it is appropriate to provide information about age, soci-economical background, general interests and other information relevant to the design problem and / or need.

The User / Audience's Profile

If the design need is in response to the needs of a target user / audience it is appropriate to provide information about person / group. Typically this includes information that is relevant to the design needs and so designer can target the initial research in order to gain a clear understanding of the target audience and circumstances or context of the design need.

Outline of the design problem

This part of the design brief concisely outlines the design problem. It should outline why the problem is a problem, that is, under what circumstances did the client or user realise that a better solution was needed.

Outline of the design proposal

In this section, a potential design solution should be proposed. An effective design proposal should outline a proposed design solution but not be so specific that it narrows the design process down to a limited range of directions. To do this, a little word smithing is required. Design proposals should use descriptive yet abstract terms. For example, if a the design need requires a bookshelf no taller than people it is being design for, then the proposal could be worded; 'I / We propose to design a book storage system that is ergonomically proportional to the intended audience.' Product Design Specifications This section of the design brief should list and detail the relevant Product Design Factors associated with the design proposal.

Design Considerations & Constraints

This part of the design brief should detail the design considerations and constraints that need to be addressed in the design and development of the design proposal. These should address both the needs of the client and / or end user/audience and the product design factors.

Designer & Client Sign-off

Being a legal document, it is wise to have the designer and client sign and date the design brief. This ensures that both parties are clear about what is being designed, the delivery date and any relevant costs involved.





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