How to write a good brief (with templates and examples)

Master the art of crafting effective briefs with our guide. Learn key techniques for clear, impactful communication in any professional field.

Author:
Craft Author: Tom Norman
Tom Norman
Illustration of a rocket launching from a laptop - representing a brief at the start of a project

Writing an effective brief is an essential skill across various professional disciplines. Whether in legal, business, or creative fields, mastering the art of briefing can make a significant difference in your projects. By mastering this guide, you'll be equipped to create briefs that not only communicate effectively but also drive your projects toward success.

What is a brief?

A brief is a concise yet comprehensive document designed to communicate key information and objectives. In the legal realm, it's used to summarize a legal case for the court. In the business world, it outlines project goals and strategies. For creative projects, it serves as a roadmap for creative direction and objectives. Regardless of the field, the core purpose of a brief remains constant – to convey vital information succinctly and effectively.

The purpose of a brief

The main goal of a brief is to provide clear guidance and set expectations. It's a navigational tool that aligns all involved parties with a project's objectives, deliverables, and vision. An efficient brief bridges communication gaps and fosters a shared understanding, ensuring that all team members are on the same page.

What should be included in a brief?

  1. Objective: Define the end goal of your project. Be explicit about what success looks like and what you aim to achieve. This clarity helps direct all efforts towards a common goal.
  2. Background information: Offer context to give readers a comprehensive understanding of the situation. This might include historical background, relevant events, or key developments that led to the current state.
  3. Scope and limitations: Outline the boundaries and extent of the project. Specify what is included and, importantly, what is not. This helps manage expectations and prevent scope creep — when a project expands beyond its initial remit, usually to satisfy stakeholders.
  4. Target audience: Identify who the project is intended for. Understanding your audience ensures that the brief is tailored to their needs, knowledge level, and expectations.
  5. Key messages: Pinpoint the main points you wish to convey. Highlighting these messages ensures that they are clearly understood and remembered by your audience.
  6. Timeline and milestones: Provide a schedule outlining significant dates and progress markers. This helps in tracking the project's progression and ensures timely delivery.

Tips for writing an effective brief

  • Be clear and concise: Use straightforward language and get directly to the point to avoid confusion. Clarity is king in brief writing.
  • Know your audience: Customize the brief to suit the reader's understanding and expectations. This ensures that the brief is both relevant and engaging to its audience.
  • Organize your thoughts: Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to make the brief easy to navigate. A well-structured brief allows the reader to quickly find the information they need.
  • Emphasize key points: Use formatting tools like bold or italic text to make crucial information stand out. This ensures that the most important points are noticed and remembered.
  • Review and revise: Always double-check your brief for clarity and coherence. Proofreading helps to eliminate errors and refine the overall message.
  • Make it attractive: A brief shouldn't feel dull or a chore to read — using Craft, you can give your brief an impactful background and explore numerous formatting options to make your brief more appealing.

Common mistakes to avoid when writing briefs

  • Overloading with information: Include only essential details. Too much information can overwhelm the reader and dilute the main message.
  • Vagueness: Be specific and direct in your objectives and requirements. Ambiguity can lead to misunderstandings and misaligned expectations.
  • Poor structure: A well-organized brief is easier to understand and follow. Disorganization can cause confusion and misinterpretation.
  • Ignoring the audience's perspective: Always consider what the reader needs and expects to know. Tailoring your brief to the audience ensures effective communication. Writing an effective brief is an essential skill across various professional disciplines. Whether in legal, business, or creative fields, mastering the art of briefing can make a significant difference in your projects. By mastering this guide, you'll be equipped to create briefs that not only communicate effectively but also drive your projects toward success.

Examples: Top brief templates

Creative design brief

Creative design brief template

 

Unleashing your creative potential starts with a clear roadmap. The Creative Design Brief template is a versatile resource for all types of creative design tasks. It encourages comprehensive planning and clear communication, which are vital for sparking creativity and collaboration. This template can be customized to fit the unique needs of each design project, with the flexibility to add or remove sections as required.

The template includes sections for a comprehensive project overview, objectives and goals with success metrics, a detailed scope of work including deliverables and milestones, and a timeline with deadlines. It also covers budget and resources, risk management strategies, a communication plan outlining update schedules and preferred channels, and a clear approval process for deliverables — essentially, everything you need to consider for bringing a creative project to life.

When writing a creative design brief, it’s imperative to clearly define the success criteria for the project, including evaluation metrics, feedback mechanisms, and design quality metrics. This holistic approach ensures that creative design projects are not only well-planned and collaborative but also aligned with the project's objectives and success metrics.


Marketing campaign brief

Marketing campaign brief template

 

Kickstart your next marketing venture with our Marketing Campaign Brief template — a tool that breathes life into your marketing strategies. This template caters to a broad spectrum of campaigns, acting as your go-to resource for organizing resources and achieving your campaign goals. Align your campaign with measurable objectives while ensuring a deep connection with your target audience.

Key elements of the template include a detailed campaign overview, in-depth target audience analysis, and a focus on key messages and USP (Unique Selling Point). The template also guides you through everything from strategy to budgeting, to managing campaign milestones.

It's an invaluable resource for marketers to develop, execute, and evaluate effective marketing campaigns, tailored to specific campaign needs.


Strategic project brief template

Strategic project brief template

 

Set the stage for your project's success with our Strategic Project Brief template, your blueprint for aligning ambition with action. It's an invaluable resource for project managers, strategists, and organizational leaders, providing a structured framework for planning, executing, and evaluating strategic initiatives. This template ensures that projects are not only well-organized but also align with an organization's broader goals, enhancing their strategic impact.

Key features of the template include organizational strategy alignment, specific objective setting, comprehensive stakeholder analysis, and application of strategic frameworks. It offers a detailed project overview, situates the project within its strategic context, and outlines the scope, deliverables, and potential risks.

Strategic project briefs are crucial for bringing direction and structure to complex projects, making them indispensable in modern business environments.


Research project brief

Research project brief template

 

Streamline your research journey by using a well-structured project brief, the key to focused and efficient study. This Research Project Brief template is an indispensable tool for researchers, academic institutions, and even businesses, simplifying the planning and execution of complex research projects. It brings clarity and structure to your research, ensuring that all project details align seamlessly for smooth progress.

Key benefits of using this template include structured clarity for a unified project vision, efficient resource management to optimize potential and minimize costs, proactive risk management for smoother progress, and strategic dissemination plans to enhance the impact of your findings.

The template covers crucial aspects like a comprehensive project overview, defined objectives and goals, detailed scope of work, budget and resource allocation, timeline and deadlines, and an effective communication plan. These components work together to ensure your research is well-planned, clear, and strategically managed, paving the way for impactful results.


Product brief

Product brief template

 

Designed for adaptability, this Product Brief template streamlines product development, ensuring projects align with market needs and stakeholder expectations. It offers clear vision setting, detailed design outlining, efficient resource management, and a structured timeline for development.

Ideal for businesses and product managers, it serves as a strategic roadmap, enhancing collaboration and guiding development teams through a clear, organized process.

This template includes key sections for a comprehensive product overview, objectives, scope of work, budgeting, and marketing strategies. Transform your product development process, ensuring clarity, efficiency, and market-aligned innovation — give the template a try for yourself.


Event planning brief

Event planning brief template

 

Transform your event into a remarkable experience with our Event Planning Brief Template, your compass for seamless coordination.

This intuitive template is designed to streamline the entire event planning process, ensuring each aspect is meticulously aligned for a successful and memorable event. It offers a clear structure, efficient resource management, risk mitigation, and targeted promotion strategies.

Key benefits include fostering clarity and focus among stakeholders, effective allocation of resources to optimize event potential, proactive risk management for smooth execution, and strategic promotion plans for maximum audience engagement.

The template covers vital components like an event overview for a clear snapshot, objectives, and goals to align with the event's purpose, a detailed scope of work for cohesive planning, budget and resources for financial transparency, and a well-structured timeline for organized execution. It also includes marketing and promotion strategies for impactful reach and engagement.

Ideal for diverse event planners, this template ensures a smooth journey through intricate event details, paving the way for impactful events that resonate with attendees.


Influencer campaign brief

Influencer campaign brief template

 

Amplify your brand's reach with our Influencer Campaign Brief Template, a strategic compass for impactful influencer collaborations.

This template is designed to outline key elements and expectations of marketing campaigns involving social media influencers. It serves as a roadmap for brands to effectively collaborate with influencers, ensuring a clear understanding of campaign goals, deliverables, and creative direction.

Key benefits of using this template include streamlined planning, consistent content across influencers for brand recognition, clear expectations setting to avoid misunderstandings, and efficient campaign tracking through performance indicators.

This template is a crucial tool for brands aiming to enhance their presence and connect with audiences through influencer partnerships.

Conclusion: The underestimated power of well-written briefs

A well-written brief can be what separates a project’s success and its failure. Make sure you are completely clear on a project’s requirements before you start; and engage project stakeholders so you give your project the best chance to flourish.

Read more about project management