The space to brief

December 9, 2016Content marketing

By Serena Schmitz – Head of Design


My talent is space. I investigate the space that needs to be around an asset; notice the lack of space between bullet points; adjust the space between lines of copy to make it easier to read. Above all, I ascertain how much space a client wants – how much space I get to be creative.

Think logically first, creatively second

As a designer it often surprises people when I say I think logically first, creatively second. It’s a common thought that design just happens and the all the other stuff goes in later. This is wildly misguided. Everything starts with a logical line of thought – a brief.

The reason the creative team keep rejecting your requests is because you haven’t delivered a thoughtfully answered brief. There have been many times where I end up being stuck with a couple of lines in an email indicating you want a ‘thingamabob’ to go on a ‘whatsemacallit’. The only thought is an instant reaction: “Yeah, this would be cool.” This never ends well.

A good brief takes time

I agree that a brief takes time to write. I hear all great things do. There may be questions you had never thought about before. There may be ideas or jargon or concepts you’ve never been exposed to, and that’s ok too. You don’t have to know it all. What I ask is that you think about your goals and let me help you get there. However, I need to see the whole picture before starting our travels. This is why reverse briefs are so important – to open communication lines and strengthen our vision.

These briefs allow me to figure out how much space I get to be creative. They can be tailored narrowly or completely open or somewhere in-between. If you have no idea about the end vision then I have a whole universe of space to research, experiment and draft material. Sometimes you present a microscope for me to look through, knowing exactly what you want. I don’t value one type over the other, but I do value a thoughtfully examined brief. And I hope you will too after reading this.

The next time a briefing document pops up in your email or on your desk, don’t look at the space between digits on the clock. Instead, jump in and let me know where we should go. I’ll close the open spaces with you.


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