Writing a brief. Pt1

Exercise – write a brief for an illustration.

Let’s write a creative brief in order to be able to fully understand them!

Background research and notes.

I will be doing this over two parts, one part for some background and ground research and part two for writing the brief.

Artwork by James Oses
Art direction: Sarah Habereshon
for the Guardian UK
Artwork by Van Venema
Art direction Sarah Habershon
The Guardian

Firstly I’m doing a bit of background research for myself, as I feel it’s important to fully understand a creative brief in order to be able to write a decent brief myself. So, part one is really more my “notes” and research on the topic.
One of the first things I wanted to do was put myself in the mindset of a person who would write a creative brief, So, who would write a creative brief?
The answer is quite a few people world but most common along the lines of the clients, art directors, project managers, designers, planners and producers, it also would also depend on the creative area who would send a creative brief. In getting the gist pt 2 I had touched upon two art directors within my research for that exercise called Sarah Habereshon and Kjell Reigstad, back then I had already acknowledged the importance of these roles/jobs, so we could really look at this from an Art Directors point of view.
Sarah Habereshon works for the Guardian UK, so it worth me reading her articles and interviews and researching the illustrators that have worked for her, all whom have very likely carried out a brief she has created for each project, such as the work by James Oses, Lauren Rowling, Van Venema and many more for The Guardian over the years, these three people have styles are vastly different yet suited brilliantly for the editorials, I feel this shows just how important art directors roles are. Also by just by looking at the three images and these illustrators I can almost picture what Habershon had asked in their briefs.

Personally, I like the style of Van Venema, it feels the middle ground between the other two and he brings an element of fun to this piece and the use of colours are more along the lines of the type of tones I tend to aim for.

So what is the role of an Art director?

Artwork by Lauren Rolwing
Art direction: Sarah Habershon
The Guardian UK

An Art Directors Role
They can work in vast amount of genres including graphic design, advertising, marketing, publishing, film and T.V, web design, video games and more. An art director can mean different things but the general gist involves managing a team of creatives on projects. For the design team, they have to inspire and guide all while being able to critique people’s work so have to confident with feedback. I would think the art directors would need a good eye, judgment when comes to creative projects. They would need to pick Illustrators that most suited for jobs and also be able to find the right artwork for the target audience.

“Daily battles with certain individuals who think they know better! Although many people are supportive of designers, some editors don’t seem to understand why an art director is a valuable asset but, thankfully many do.”

Sarah Habershon
Interview with Jimmy Smith Design

Another issue I think I need to understand better is how illustrators work with clients. Reasons for this is so I know what is expected of the role to include in the brief, so I find myself asking questions such as

  • Turnaround – How long roughly would be a timeline?
  • Format – What format would an illustration for different products are common?
    Areas book covers/editorials

I really enjoyed the above youtube video by Kendyll Hillegas she covers a lot on briefs in the first part, she called the phase in which she receives the client’s brief groundwork phase and she also gives insight into the expected turn around when comes to working with editorial illustrations. So she’d managed to answer some of my main questions and some I haven’t asked myself yet!

“Thinking Visually for Illustrators” also tackles approaching a creative brief. One handy tip I’m keeping in mind from the book is to try and rewrite the brief in my own words to help me identify the needs of the client. Which clarifies the whole propose of this exercise and how we can use it in working with clients in the future.

Strong work ethic and communication is the key

While I think it is common sense to have good work ethics and communication I would need to remember to put fully into practice, quite unintentionally I can lose track, so work ethics I need all throughout my time at OCA I need to get into good habits so this exercise while not quite getting my hands dirty with paint so to speak, it is very important learning curve for me.

I came across 7 keys elements for a successful brief.

  • The needs of the client
  • Market and target audience
  • scope of the project
  • competitors
  • business brands
  • Deliverables
  • Deadline

Other things to consider are key challenges, primary message, where it will run, what are non-negotiable and negotiable. Key visual elements, specific colours, taglines?
A brief should be easy to scan with your eyes and within five minutes able to understand the project and objectives. Problems that I could face in writing a brief is that it lacks focus and inconsistent or even incomplete. This can my waste time and in turn money by writing a poor brief, so a good brief saves time and money.
When writing a brief it has been recommended to try and have a fully formed idea, this can be vague or even just general idea as because, if you have no idea what you want at all then it would be hard for others to do this.
Also, an idea that is well researched at the brief stage can help create minimal amendments down the line. Try and put myself in the shoes of the people reading and responding to your creative brief, supply all the details you can.

Another method I could use in order for me to write a well-crafted brief is SMART
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time
Smart goals are useful for a lot of things as well as briefs from project management to everyday life.

The Rationale, The Aim and The Objective are the three distinct directives covered in Alan Males Illustration a theoretical and contextual perspective or could be said as “the why”, “the what” and “the how” really.

With all the research in mind and notes on the course, I know that the creative brief is the foundations of a successful creative campaign, it outlines my visions and helps to get everyone on the same page, what is most important is to get the core information onto the brief it should be kept short and sweet in many ways, no more than one to two pages.

Pt.2 to follow soon

Research, references and notes

Web links
https://www.newbreedmarketing.com/blog/7-key-elements-to-a-professional-creative-brief
http://childrensbookcreation.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-brief-illustrator.html
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/authorinterviews/5126491/Picture-books-can-be-about-anything.html
https://www.hellosoutherly.com/lost-art-of-writing-a-fantastic-creative-brief/
https://www.leadquizzes.com/blog/brief-but-effective-what-makes-a-great-creative-brief-13-samples/
https://www.egmont.co.uk/books/night-monkey-day-monkey/9780749748937
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

Sarah Habershon – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/sarah-habershon-95143895
http://jimmysmithmeetandgreet.blogspot.com/2009/05/sarah-habershon-interview-guardian.html

Books
Thinking Visually for Illustrators – Mark Wigan
Illustration a theoretical & contextual perspective – Alan Male

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