Design Brief & Research

As you begin this project, don’t focus on the final product. The first step involves stepping way from visual conceptualization and starting with the facts. The brief is your opportunity to address the design in detail, and a point of reference that will inform the remainder of the design process. Be as specific as necessary on all aspects of the project. Use appropriate design vocabulary. Your writing should be in narrative (paragraph) form and written in future tense, as in, “I will…” or “I plan to…”.

Outline for Project Brief

Topic & Purpose

Begin by choosing the parameters for your project. Many of the choices you outline here will be entire up to your own choice. Outline your intended direction, including what you will communicate. What will be the purpose of your design?


To communicate effectively, every design must have a primary audience in mind. Who is the audience you wish to communicate to? What are the characteristics of that group? Their unique qualities? How will they interact with your design?


Dig deep into the concepts and themes of the project. In your research, be sure to show visual inspiration and annotate (make clear notes) how it inspires you and the direction it points you in. You should cite all sources used for research.

Goals & Objectives

Based upon your purpose and research, what do you hope to achieve, and why. What goals can you formulate based upon the audience, topic and purpose you have already outlined?

In narrative form, state the “what” but focus on the “why”. If you want to communicate with children ages 6-10, then you probably want to use a colorful palette that would catch their eye, stimulates the imagination and and connect with their creativity. The colorful palette is the “what”, the connection with imagination and creativity is the “why”.

Minimum Requirements

  • Length:
    • Brief: In order to cover the necessary elements your brief should be a minimum of 400 words.
    • Research: Your research should contain 20-40 annotated images that serve as visual inspiration.
  • Grammar: Be sure to edit and proof your narratives, as they will be reviewed and screened for content, grammatical and typographical errors.
  • Presentation: Print your annotated research and brief and include it in your process book.