How to Make a Creative Brief

So, you get the idea of The Game of Creativity is to flip over 2 cards and combine them with your creative brief to create something new. Well, how do you make a creative brief that helps foster great ideas? Let’s start first with this question.

What is a creative brief?

A creative brief is a document that is referenced for all your creative decisions on a project. It often informs you of the guidelines that you should be creating within. Sometimes this is a brand message or guidelines and sometimes it’s a bit behind the strategy of how to solve a specific problem. While there is no one way to put one together, I’ll give a few tips into making a creative brief that helps you become more creative.

No matter if what you’re creating is for a big client project, or just some morning practice, a creative brief is important to have because it can help you think more clearly about a problem you’re trying to solve. Like Abraham Lincoln said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”. The creative brief is a way to sharpen your ax before making.

Before diving in, I want to give some visuals to creativity. Let’s imagine a bouncing ball in a room. The speed at which the ball moves is how quickly you think and every time the ball hits a wall, an idea is sparked.

Creativity visual without creative brief

What is the ideal outcome/goal?

The first question your brief should answer is, what is the goal of the project? If it’s a personal project, what are you personally trying to accomplish? If it’s a professional project, what is it that your client wants/expects to happen with your help? It’s important to be able to see the target if you intend to hit it.

For instance, If your client’s goal is to grow their social media following, you’ll be informed of what your work should do to be successful. Depending on the brand, maybe that means it needs to be something funny to the audience that makes them want to follow, like or share.

Be specific

We’ve all been there, you sit at the computer to make something, but you have no idea what to make so you end up staring at a blank screen. People often believe creative people can just make something out of nothing, when in reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The secret to being creative is knowing where your walls are and bouncing around in as small of an area as possible rather than a large area. The smaller the area you’re thinking in, the more collisions, or ideas you can have.

Creativity visual with creative brief

To get down to specifics, you should start by asking yourself these technical questions about the work you’re about to make.

  1. Who is your audience for the project? Identify a single person and describe what they’re interested in and what they dislike. The more details you know about this person, the better.
  2. Is there specific requirements on where your work will be shown? Maybe it must be a specific size or maybe you can only use certain colors?
  3. If the project is for a brand, what can you and can’t you do to meet their guidelines?

Tell a story

The last part of the brief should be a story. Facts, stats and figures are great, but nothing is more inspiring than a story. There’s a reason so many movies are made from books, they create visuals that each person interprets in their own mind.

Now, i’m not saying it needs to be a novel, sometimes just a paragraph works here. I personally create this story from the perspective of the person the work will be created for. For example, if the project I’m about to make is for 25-30 year old stay-at-home mom’s, I’ll try to empathetically put myself in their shoes to tell a story.

“I want mac and cheese!”, “I want mac and cheese!”, “I want mac and cheese!”

The phrase that’s screamed into my face at least eleven times per day. No matter how many closed doors I put between me and the child on the other end of that hunger for artificial flavoring and elbow noodles, I can still hear him clear as day.

I could go on with that story, but to show you how little you actually need to visualize an idea, I’ll stop there.

Narrowing further

While a good creative brief is a great start to narrowing the walls you create within, The Game of Creativity is designed to make your walls even closer so there’s more collisions with less space. And as we know, the more collisions, the faster you can work through bad ideas to find the good ones.

Creativity visual with The Game of Creativity

Let’s take that story from above and let’s say we use The Game of Creativity and flip over “light” and “animal”.

Maybe when the lights go out for the night, the child is actually an animal and that’s why he gets so hungry.

While simple, that prompt adds even more visuals to an idea that provides a clear direction to your creative brief.

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