The design brief is the cornerstone of effective communication between the client and the designer. As the very first step in the design process, it is absolutely crucial to get this right.
To successfully and efficiently achieve your goals, the designer you are working with needs to understand exactly what you are seeking. Here's what you should include in your brief:
Who you are
Provide some background. What does your business do? Who are your key competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Explain what your goal is. What is the ideal outcome for you from this project? How will you measure it?
Who are you trying to appeal to? What do you know about this segment?
Scope of work
Clearly define what assets you expect the designer to provide at the end of the project. This helps them give you an accurate quotation and timeline. Provide dimensions and file types if relevant.
What is the expected completion date of the project? Are there smaller milestones that you can break the project down into, with their own due dates?
Brand guidelines and constraints
Do you have any existing brand guidelines that the designer needs to apply to the project? You should also provide printer templates if relevant.
You should have some idea of what content needs to be included in the final design. Of course, this is flexible and may change depending on what medium you decide to use or other layout based factors, but for your designer to get started, they need to have an idea of what approximate content you intend to feature.
If the project requires photography, do you have a preferred stock library for the designer to select from? Do you have an existing library of image options?
Desired look and feel
Share examples of design and brands that appeal to you and could work for you, and explain why. These could be examples from your own brand, or from others. This helps the designer visualise the concept and ensures you are on the same page. The designer can then source more examples along the same lines to create a moodboard for you, conveying the tone they intend to portray, and you can provide feedback before the next stage.
Remember, the more information you provide, the better the designer can understand your brand and objectives. Setting clear expectations and outcomes from the start of the project will ensure a timely, successful delivery.