You’ve got a great idea for your business’ next move, and it will need an awesome new design. You know what you want, but you will need to hire a designer. So, you find a designer and let them know what you are looking for. The designer goes to work. A couple of days later, you receive the design and excitedly open the file, but it just really didn’t hit the mark. You try again and re-explain your idea, but this time you add what you thought you missed the first time. Second deliverable and disappointment again. You have a missing link; it’s called the Creative Brief.

You’ve heard of a Creative Brief. It’s the explanation of what you want, right!? Yes, but creative briefs are harder to write than you think. The proof of that is in paragraph one. What you were trying to get was want you wanted, but the trick is knowing and explaining what you need. There is a difference. For the design to benefit you and your business you need to discard what you think you want and analyze the goal and purpose of the artwork and how it plays into your business’ marketing message. This is a fundamental cornerstone of the Wizard of Ads; STRATEGY FIRST.

So how do you put strategy first? You need to ask yourself 3 questions.

  1. What is your objective and goal?
  2. What is the marketing message, and how does the new design fit into it?
  3. We’ll get to 3 in a minute.

Questions 1 and 2 are pretty much what you tried to do in the beginning, but without going through the process. Write down the questions and start writing as many answers as possible that make sense. Don’t worry about writing too much down, it is part of the process, and you really want to get it right. Once you have exhausted your answers, then you can refine and eliminate. Get yourself down to a single goal/objective and lock down your marketing message. This will check off the first 2 questions. Now comes question 3, and it will seem unorthodox, but it is essential for getting the best design quickly and is the magic that we use at the Wizard of Ads.

3. What story do you want your design to tell, or what emotion do you want the customer to feel when they see it?

If you are having a hard time approving artwork, it is probably because you feel disconnected from it. The design is not personal and therefore feels wrong. You and the designer are both victims here. Most designers are taught to design for larger corporations or are inspired by them. It’s hard for designers to think about what it means personally to an owner/operator. They supply high design for the emotionless masses. Your customers are not emotionless. They love feeling like they are a part of your brand. When you tell the designer your story and emotion, they will give you what you need to move your customers. You will also love your new design much earlier in the iterative process.

Congratulations, you got an awesome design from your designer.

Just one thing left to do, ask everyone around you what they think, right!? WRONG!!!! Here is a bonus for getting a great design quickly. Do not show your design to anyone before you approve the design. Once you receive the artwork that follows your excellently crafted brief, don’t ask for anyone’s opinion. Don’t ask your wife, your husband, your friend, your neighbor, your brother, your sister, or your mother what they think of the final output. That also goes for anyone in the office or service providers or anyone. They’re going to have suggestions that don’t match the brief you worked so hard on. Asking for outside opinions before the artwork is approved will only serve to derail you and the project. Your opinion about your brand is the only one that matters. That’s the only way this brief is going to work. Trust the designer, and more importantly, trust yourself.

You are now prepared, with the missing link, to get the best out of your design requests.

P.S. Watch this video by Mick Torbay on the difference between the Leader and the Committee. You will see why you do not need to ask for opinions.

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