Brief – A designers brief, or creative brief, is what a client will give to a designer to help them come up with a creative solution
To remember what a brief is, recall the following mnemonic:
The client was brief and that was all the designer had to help her come up with a creative solution.
Here below is the result of an art brief to Thomas Gainsborough to paint a portrait to celebrate the marriage of Mr and Mrs Andrews. Many artists earn money from clients who's only brief is to paint their dog or family member.
John Singer Sargent was commissioned by the British government and his brief was to document the Great War (World War I) and then had a further brief to depict the impact of war for the Imperial War Museum London. This painting became one of the most iconic oil paintings depicting World War I.
A great brief a client creates or a great brief for an exam increases your chance of a fantastic result. While a bad brief will lead to confusion and an undesirable outcome for the client or examiner.
Many briefs can be too long and lack focus. They should be punchy. Visual references from Pinterest or Google can help clients describe what they do or don't want.
A brief helps define the design problem and gives details on important considerations and constraints.
Here below is a brief for an art exam.
If you want to become a freelance artist, you will have to deal with briefs from clients, or, if you want to commission art in the future you may have to write on yourself.
Below are examples of a poorly written brief asking for a commission of a pet.
Jane hasn't given nearly enough information and it may take a lot of time and effort to extract that information. John has given you way too much information and lost focus, not much of it is actually any use for creating a commission. Barry has supplied you with a poor quality photo as a reference, you can't see any markings or even what specific breed the dog is. He's given no ideas on what he would like the dog to be doing in the drawing or any specifications on size or what medium he would like it in.
It is possible to work with briefs like this, but as the person may have never commissioned artwork before and might not know the proper etiquette, they will require a lot more time and patience to get to a point where you can start working on the commission.
Below is an example of a brief with most of the information you would need to start a commission. It's clear and concise and even links to a previous painting in the style he would like (red text).