Responding to a Brief

Exercise: Working to a brief

These are extracts from briefs set as part of a student competition. Your task is to read
and analyse them. Ask yourself:

• What are you being asked to do?
• How will the client will judge a successful outcome to the brief?
• What are the keywords?
In addition log any other questions you would want to ask the client.

Brief 1
Create packaging for Quaker’s new ‘Chilled Creamy Oats’ product for young womenlooking for a truly delicious healthy snack. The target audience is young women jugglingmany jobs and priorities everyday. They like to eat well but also love treats and hatefeeling hungry. They like the idea of oats for their natural goodness but find the idea ofeating them bland and unappealing.

My response:

This is a client brief.

Keywords are ‘hungry, new, healthy, treat, snack, convenient, tasty’. I think the brand identity would be similar to brands like ‘Graze’ and ‘Innocent’ smoothies. Young women are named as the main target market, so I think it would be useful to inject a bit of fun into the design, so the healthy ingredients aren’t off-putting or dull.

Questions I would ask:
Is there already a slogan attached to this product?
What material(s) will be used in the packaging?
What is the intended price point? Is this a luxury item, or a little more everyday? I’m wondering what items will surround it on the supermarket shelf, and how it might catch the eye.
How closely does the design of this item need to match the existing Quaker
products? For example, does the Quaker logo need to be displayed in a specified colour or size?

I think the client would judge a successful outcome if the product design conveyed fun, convenient, tasty, healthy, filling snack that appeals to busy young women.
This is at first glance the ‘easiest’ brief to tackle , as it seems relatively clear what is being asked.

Brief 2
Most of us have experienced a long rail journey – we witness the dramatic contrasts of
the changing landscape, the inter-connections at various points along the way; various
people embark and disembark; the dynamic is ever- changing… finally we reach our
This brief challenges you to take a metaphorical journey on the theme of connections.
Explore the theme as broadly as possible and take us on a journey that might link,
amongst other things – people, events, philosophies, theories, objects, movements,
inventions, history, literature, etc. Your journey is only limited by your own imagination
and the quality of your research – surprise us with the juxtaposition of your selected
themes but be sure to communicate to the viewer the ‘connectedness’ of the thinking
within your design. Define your market, and how you will target it.

My response:

This is a competition brief.

Key phrases are highlighted in bold.

This is a very open ended brief, it states ‘only limited by your imagination.’ At the end, it says ‘Define your market, and how you will target it’. I think it’s clear the main point of this brief is to stimulate the creative imagination. You could choose your own target market, to suit where your imagination has led you.
Perhaps otherwise you could start with a target market in mind. Such as helping people with dementia remember their youth, with a mood board of connected themes and impressions from a particular era. The client being the NHS, charities or private sector geriatric health services. Not that imaginative though.
The difficulty for me is having free rein with this loose theme of connections, and applying it to a fictional market. One is pure imagination, the other functional.

I had a play with the connections theme in this brief, as there is plenty of scope to explore.

I think a successful outcome would depend entirely on what the judges were looking for. I think they are probably looking for something that has taken hours of research and is very original and imaginative, I’m guessing that the ‘practical’ application would be secondary.

I’m not sure you could ask any particular questions – just to know the competition deadline  and where to send it to!

Brief 3
To raise awareness of the risks of under-age drinkingand contribute towards a cultural
change in society’s attitude towards alcohol. The purpose of the Department for Children,
Schools and Families is to make this the best place in the world for children and young
people to grow up… to make children and young people happy and healthy and help
them stay on track.
With a core proposition of ‘Alcohol leaves you (or your children) vulnerable’, the
campaign will urge parents to talk to their children before they consider drinking, to help
avoid vulnerable situations. The messages to young people will get them to think about
the effects of drinking.
Creative ideas should use the campaign identity ‘Why let drink decide?’ to extend the
campaign’s reach and specifically target young people aged between 13 and 16. We are
open to ideas about the media or format you think is most appropriate to reach the
target audience

My response:

Thus is another client brief

Again, I’ve highlighted the key phrases in bold.

This brief is fairly open, despite the stated slogan’ Why let drink decide?’
They say that they are open to ideas about media and format. I feel it would be helpful to try to ask the client more questions, as they might think they don’t know what they want until they see it, but everyone has influences and preferences. Perhaps they could provide examples of previous campaigns or any parallel projects that they know have been effective and successful. Maybe they have already done some research talking to 13-16 year olds? What is the campaign budget? Have they already been working with copywriters? Marketing experts? Though I expect if a graphic designer were given this brief in real life, they would be working as part of a larger team of people. who might well be responsible for these areas.

Who are the main contacts for this project? Is it a committee? Will one particular person sign off on this project or will it involve months of meetings?

I think a successful response to this brief would be to produce something thought provoking, but not preachy, and crucially age appropriate. Perhaps something highly interactive that invites feedback from young people at every stage.


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