briefing process » A successful creative project starts with a solid briefing process, and one word: ‘Why?’.

A successful creative project starts with a solid briefing process, and one word: ‘Why?’.

Simon Sinek’s renowned TEDx Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is resurging.

Simon has this incredibly candid way of sharing wisdom and intelligence in a simple way. And this is why this TEDx Talk is the basis of the Brand Nirvana briefing process.


I’m a firm believer in fleshing out all of the intuitive and pragmatic ideas you have percolating in your consciousness. 

You are the knowledge holder of your brand, and I’m the change agent teasing out the ideas and asking “Why?”.

When we collaborate, I often challenge you to dig deep, explore all options and really look at why you do what you do.


This is why I’m a stickler for a good, solid brief.

Seems that Seth is too, because this post popped into my inbox just now. Synchronicity at it’s best. If there are gaping holes in a creative brief, it will show later on in the creative process and cause headaches for both the client and the designer. This is a zone I rarely encounter, because intuition is the key in these situations. If a client breezes over any answers in a brief, I will tease these questions out to ensure unmistakable clarity is present when the design process commences.


A Master Seaman takes the seas with a solid crew to help guide the ship. When you collaborate with a designer, the briefing process is your crew.

Here’s five ways we can ensure smooth sailing, and avoid scurvy! Ahhhh me hearties!



Every project has a purpose. And every brand has a reason they exist.

When your intentions align with your purpose, this is where congruence is born. And when you are empathic to your client’s needs, this is where the place of authenticity and empathy collides with your brand’s journey.

What is your brand purpose? This is one question worth pondering with an open heart.



The people that buy your goods or services are the heart of your brand’s success. Mattering to your ideal client is essential. Be the brand that your people feel comfortable connecting with.

Here’s something to ponder…

Do you have a favourite restaurant that you will happily drive an hour one-way for? You love the ambience, you are treated like a long lost friend by the maître d’, the extensive wine list always ticks the boxes and the food is sublime. 

How can you emulate that magic in your own business? 

Other key insights you may discover during the briefing process:

  • Who is your project talking to? 
  • Who is your ideal client?
  • Do you have a detailed identity for your ideal client?
  • How do your words, actions and intentions make your customers feel?
  • Are your actions congruent with your brand values? If not, why?

Nailing the way your brand is visually represented, and perceived by your ideal client, is an essential element of the briefing process!



An open brief is a potential recipe for disaster. Most clients I have worked with have a sense of what they like and dislike. If a client is a Pinterest user, I will set up a shared board and we start collaborating. Mood boards help a designer connect with the felt sense of a creative outcome. 

There are two questions I ask a client at our first meeting, and their response gives me a good insight into their visual preferences:

  • What is your favourite font?
  • What is your favourite colour?

And if a client replies with the spine shuddering Comic Sans, I openly discuss my disdain for fonts found in Word and suggest they be open to alternatives!

Other elements a designer might quiz you on:

    • Paper stock preferences: coated vs uncoated, matte cellosheen vs gloss coating, Spot UV varnish vs letterpress. Are you enviro-conscious? How about 100% post-consumer recycled paper? So many options to choose from! This is the most tactile part of the briefing phase, and stationery addicts will love it!


    • Collateral sizes: A5 flyer vs an A6 postcard? 90x55mm vs 55x55mm business cards? Remember, interruptive marketing is out. Value laden marketing is in. Flyers for a letterbox drop are a waste of money, but a gorgeous, luxurious business card will leave a lasting impression when you network.


  • Printing method: Offset or digital print? Would you like a proof with that?



If we have a clear idea about your budget, we can give an accurate quote and specify the right products for your project. Simple really.



The most critical element of a project is knowing when it needs to be delivered. Communicating the deadline at the briefing phase will alleviate a lot of headaches during the creative process. And it’s respectful to the designer to give a deadline.