Why does it take so long to write a ‘brief’?

Simon Ellis | December 19, 2018

Time to read: 5 mins

In fact, why bother with one at all?

A lot of the calls we get start with the word, “Help!” Typically, those individuals have had a job drop on their desk with the vaguest of parameters and the shortest of timeframes to deliver them in. At that point they need to start moving things forward, swiftly yes, but creatively too (to maximise engagement but also to make best use of limited budgets).

Momentum can be killed right then and there if they feel the need to fill out a lengthy briefing document before bringing in their creative partner.


  1. Don’t worry about having all the information. You only need to know your target audience, desired outcome, timeframe and budget before you call your creative partner. Your creative partner should be asking this of you anyway. Don’t worry about message or format or print runs or any of that stuff – you can work through those together – just get the creative process underway.
  2. Adopt the attitude that creative development is a game of tennis, not baseball: you’re batting a ball between you and your creative partner, not throwing them a curveball and expecting them to knock it out the park. To work fast work iteratively, positively and collaboratively. It’s more fun and it’s way more productive.
  3. When you get to the first design drafts, if they don’t work for you try not to be disappointed and don’t feel you need to apologise for not liking them either. You will likely find it far more easy to articulate why a design doesn’t work than why it does, so that feedback is really useful to your creative partner, particularly when timeframes are tight.

The takeaway here is that you’re not saving time or money on crafting a detailed brief, only compromising the novelty of the solution.

Or in other words, sometimes the best brief is the briefest brief.


Thanks for reading!

Si Ellis