To Be Perfectly Brief: Use This Free Creative Brief Template for Project Success
Anyone who has ever set out to manage a creative project understands the incredible benefits of having a clear, succinct, creative brief on hand.
As we communicate about a project, either verbally or through strings of emails, the language we use to describe what needs to be done, and how to achieve it, can change from one person’s iteration to the next.
A solid creative brief can keep everyone on the same proverbial and literal page, maintaining the integrity of our target messaging and ensuring that the project stays on task.
Creative brief templates can be hard to locate online, as many agencies and companies that produce them tend to hold onto them as a proprietary tool. However, no matter which business you’re in, there are some basics that you could benefit from covering.
This is especially important when hiring for voice over talent, as knowing what you need is the first step to hiring who you need. Plus, when you’re able to share a creative brief with the voice over actor, so he or she understands your project as well as you do, you ultimately stand the best chance of success in the first take.
How to Use this Template
Here’s a free creative brief template that includes key questions you should ask yourself, your team, and your project stakeholders, in order to ensure that your project starts on the right foot, and stays there.
Using these questions as a jump-off point, you can then further customize the template to include other items more specific to your industry or the task at hand (like your VO project!).
Simply copy and paste the text from the template below into your word processing program of choice.
Free Creative Brief Template
Creative Project Brief
Today’s Date Goes Here
Name and contact information of the lead on the project.
Other Internal Stakeholders
Names and contact information of others within the organization who will be involved with the project.
- An About Us description of the company to give a quick overview about what you do and sell.
- Include any useful information around how this project came about – was a need identified, and if so, what led to that discovery?
- Does the project fit within a greater context? If so, describe the bigger picture.
- What business brand constraints does this project have to operate within, and what sort of tone should the messaging, imagery, graphics, etc. have to be consistent with? For example:
- What creative or graphic standards are in place (colors, fonts, logo properties)? Provide documentation if some exists.
- What is the brand voice the company uses? Are you a relatable authority? Guy/Girl next door? Include any brand personality documentation that you have.
Target Audience and Other Stakeholders
- Description of who this project is communicating with or who the final product is directed to:
- Note that “people 16-65” is not a target market (this is the whole market). The more specific here, the better.
- Include demographics as well as psychographics (information about how they behave/think/feel).
- Include customer profiles, if you have them.
- Describe any other audiences that should be considered. For instance:
- Will other company stakeholders or customer groups have sensitivity to particular messaging, which should be considered?
Goals and Objectives
- As a result of this project, what do you want people to do? think? feel?
- What specific, measurable, metrics of success will be used to assess this project? What are those metrics now, and what should they be after this project?
Message and Creative Execution
- What is the one, single, clear message or communication objective of the project?
- Secondary messages can also be identified, but there must always be a singular, overarching communication objective.
- Why should the target audience care? What’s in it for them?
- What problem of theirs does this solve?
- What features and benefits need to come across?
- If the audience asked us to prove it, what would we say?
- Why should they believe us?
- What is standing in our way, when it comes to the audience believing us?
- What is the call to action?
- What messages/wording should be avoided?
- What does the target market believe before we tell them anything?
- What do we want them to believe after they’ve been exposed to this?
- What type of images should be used, if any?
- Not necessarily a specific image, but more about how that image should feel, and what it should convey.
- Consider finding images online that are consistent with what you envision, and then describe how they’re a ‘fit.’ Does one convey a particular emotion that you like? Does another have the simplicity you envision for the creative execution? Is there another that features a graphic treatment that you like?
- What imagery should be avoided, if any?
Additional Helpful Information
- If applicable, include here:
- Any mandatory elements, for example, logo, website URL, phone number, tagline, etc.
- Examples of past material that could be helpful, or that this should be consistent with or different from.
- Any helpful information about competitors – who they are, and examples of what they do.
- Notes about the context: for example, if this will appear in a magazine, is there anything that should be considered because of placement, limitations, etc.?
Final Deliverables and Creative Specifications
- What are the final elements that, once finished, define project completion?
- Include any specs that the deliverables need to be in, for example, from the printer or media outlet for size, color, file requirements, etc.
- Consider any exclusions to the project scope. Will create be completed internally and supplied, or are graphic assets also required?
- What is the budget or budget range for completing this project?
- If requesting a quote, how would you like that quote broken out (often a single number is provided)? Be specific regarding whether you would like a quote by line item, or even just broken out between agency fee and media spend, for example.
- Are there any exclusions? For example, are you providing any digital files or other art that wouldn’t have to be created from scratch?
- Consider requesting a quote that includes a list of any anticipated or possible additional expenses.
- Avoid providing a creative brief without providing a budget. A problem can be solved in many, many different ways, and it’s critical that external agencies, in particular, have at least a range, so that they can understand which range of solutions they should consider to meet your expectations.
Schedule and Due Dates
- Include not only the final date, but deadlines along the way.
- Consider time for revisions.
- Include who the required approvers are and at which stages they should be brought it, and factor in reasonable time for those approvals.
- Ensure there is clarity around who is responsible for which stage of the project, what the hand-off points are.
A Great Brief Saves Time and Money
One of the best parts of having a fully fleshed-out brief is that not only does it keep your whole (extended) team on the right track, it also helps to keep you on budget. Whether you’re living the agency life or you’re a corporate client, saving the time and expense of going back and forth on revisions is priceless.
Did you end up adding your own questions to the brief?
In the comments below, please share how you customized the content so that it can help others in your field.