Have your creative projects been chaotic?
Has there been confusion among the team members about what the final product should look like?
Maybe you wasted a lot of time making sure that everyone has all the necessary information.
All these problems can be avoided with one simple document — a creative brief.
In this article, we will go over:
- What a creative brief is,
- What it should include,
- How to write a creative brief,
- Tips for writing a high-quality creative brief, and
- Benefits of a creative brief.
We will also provide you with 7 different types of free creative brief templates.
So, let’s begin!
Table of Contents
What is a creative brief?
A creative brief is a document that functions as a guide for creative teams, helping everyone keep in touch with the project’s objectives and guidelines.
It should be, as the name suggests — brief. Ideally, it should fit on 1 to 2 A4 pages, contain the gist of the project, and serve as a guideline for everyone involved in the project.
What must a creative brief include?
Not all creative briefs have to look the same.
There are many ways to organize a creative brief depending on the type of creative project it’s made for — marketing, social media, brand definition, logo creation, etc.
Still, there are some elements of a creative brief that are always included:
- Project title — indicates what the project is about,
- Company background — information about the company that can be relevant to the project,
- Objectives — what you are trying to accomplish with the project,
- Target audience — who you are trying to reach,
- Tone of voice — the way you speak to your target audience,
- Distribution — the channels by which your message will reach the target audience (such as social media or TV commercials),
- Budget — the amount of money reserved for the project,
- Competition — companies offering similar services or products as you, and
- Timeline — all relevant time points in the project from the start to the due date.
Of course, you aren’t limited to just these elements. What’s important is that the creative brief contains all the relevant information for your project.
For example, when creating a website or a logo for a business, instead of using the term “tone of voice”, “style” might be more appropriate. And you could add another element like “color scheme” since that is an important part of creating a good design.
10 Steps to writing a creative brief
In the following text, we will explain all the steps you need to go through to produce a high-quality creative brief.
Step #1: Choose the name for the project and provide a short overview
The name of the project should be short and reflect the essence of the creative brief.
For example, the name “Creative brief for a TastyFood restaurant marketing campaign” clearly shows the purpose of the brief and the name of the client.
A short overview of the project should follow the title — just a sentence or two to summarize what the project is about.
Step #2: Summarize the company’s background
Outline the company background. There is no need to go into detail about the company. It’s enough to mention its core values and the information relevant to the project, such as what problems the company is currently facing and what kind of image they are trying to portray.
What you write in this section depends on whether your company hired an external agency for the job (for example, a video production company to make a promotional video for a new product) or if the creative team is employed at the said company.
If it’s the latter, you can omit general information about the company since it’s already known to all involved.
Step #3: List the objectives
Take the time to precisely state the objectives of the creative project, i.e. what you are trying to achieve with this project. Some of the more general objectives can be:
- Rise in brand awareness,
- Increase in sales,
- Change of company image, etc.
For example, a marketing strategy for an app may have an objective “increase the number of new sign-ups by 10% in the next 3 months”.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
If you want to make this step easier, learn more about objectives and key results in projects:
Step #4: Define your target audience
It’s essential to know who your marketing campaign or your advert is aimed at. Who are the people who will buy your product? You must have a clear vision of them when creating the brief.
Depending on the aim of the campaign and the company’s product, different information can be relevant. Some of the information you can include is the audience’s:
- Social status,
- Employment status,
- Beliefs, and
Step #5: Choose the tone of voice
After establishing your target audience, the next question is how to get through to them.
You should determine what emotions you are trying to evoke and what picture you are conveying to the minds of the audience.
For example, a commercial for a bank should have a more serious tone that makes them look dependable and serious.
On the other hand, a commercial for a soft drink company can have a more relaxed tone, attempting to connect the drink with the idea of having fun and being happy.
Step #6: Research the competition
If you want to conquer a market, you have to be aware of the competition. Or, in the words of Sun Tsu: “Know thy enemy”.
Do thorough research on your competitors. Who is currently popular? Who offers products similar to yours? List their positive and negative traits.
Knowing what your competitors are offering means you can find a way to offer something better.
Step #7: Set the budget
It’s a good idea to set the budget at the very beginning of the creative project. This enables the team to organize their work accordingly.
Instead of just defining the total budget, it’s better to allocate your funds at the beginning.
For example, if you are making an advertising campaign for new sportswear, you can divide the budget between social media ads, TV commercials, and hiring a sportsperson to be the face of your brand.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
If you want to learn about different budgeting methods, take a look at this article:
Step #8: Ask for feedback
You can organize a project kickoff meeting where people could express their opinions and ideas together or just send everyone a copy of the brief and have them send the feedback back to you.
Step #9: Review and edit
After you have received feedback, consider the suggestions and make changes if necessary.
You can go back and forth between these 2 steps until both you and the stakeholders are satisfied with the brief.
Step #10: Distribute the brief
Once the creative brief is finished, distribute it to everyone working on the project.
3 Tips on how to write a creative brief
To help you create a top-notch creative brief, we asked professionals with experience in writing them to share some tips with us.
Here’s what they had to say.
Tip #1: Think about the aim of the project before starting on the brief
We talked to James Parkinson, Head of Marketing Content at Personnel Checks, and he emphasizes the importance of understanding the goal of the project:
“You need to understand what the end goal or aim for the project or task is before you try to create a brief. Many people get this wrong and end up producing a large document with contradicting information. When, in reality, if you fully understand the desired outcome, then the brief can be very to-the-point and efficient.”
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
If you become better at setting goals, make sure to read our article on the topic:
Tip #2: Include success metrics
We asked Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of lawn care business GreenPal, to share his thoughts on making creative briefs. He points out you have to decide on the success metrics for your project:
“Determine in advance how you will measure the success of the campaign. We usually focus on metrics like sign-up rates, website traffic, and social media engagement.”
You use the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to collect performance data and measure the success of your project.
Tip#3: Take your time
Don’t be tempted to just rush through the brief so you can start the project as soon as possible. Dedicate enough time to in-depth research.
Caballero emphasizes how important it is to dedicate enough time to the creation of the creative brief:
“Remember, the creative brief is a guiding document that helps ensure everyone is on the same page. It’s the roadmap for your project, so taking the time to do it well is critical.”
7 Creative brief templates
There are many types of creative briefs you can make for different creative projects.
We have singled out some of the most popular ones here and created free editable templates that you can use for your projects.
Simple creative brief template
When creating your first creative brief, it’s best to start with the basics. Here’s a simple creative brief template:
It has all the key elements necessary for a creative brief, and it can be edited to your preference, so you can use it for any kind of creative project, both in-house and external.
Marketing creative brief template
Creating a high-quality marketing campaign requires creativity. But it’s also important to stay organized and not let that creativity lead to chaos.
According to CoSchedule’s 2022 Trend Report on Marketing Strategy, organized marketers are a whopping 674% more likely to be successful. This is why you need a well-made marketing creative brief.
Here is a free template to help you create a creative brief for your marketing campaign.
This template can be useful to anyone managing a marketing project.
It presents all the elements in the form of a table. You can adjust the space dedicated to each element to fit your project’s needs.
For example, you will probably want to describe the target audience and the tone of voice in more detail than the other elements since these 2 are crucial in organizing a good marketing campaign.
Advertising creative brief template
Although marketing and advertising are similar, the focus of advertising is a bit different, so the creative briefs will differ as well. You can use the template below to write a creative brief that would fit your advertising project.
The most important part of this brief is deciding on the distribution model — how the ad is going to reach the audience.
You can dedicate a substantial amount of the brief to clearly stating how you want your advertising campaign to reach your target audience.
Video creative brief template
- Production, and
That’s why creating a creative brief is a step you mustn’t overlook. You can use the template below to create a well-organized creative brief for video projects without difficulty.
Whether it’s a promotional video, a tutorial on how to use a product, an interview with a customer, or a commercial, creating a video is often part of a bigger project.
But the video production team (or an agency you hired) likely won’t be familiar with the details of that project. So, the video creative brief will serve as a guide to help them create a video that meets all the requirements.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
Having good project management software for video production can be a great help in your work. Check out the following list of the best such tools on the market:
Logo creative brief template
A logo is the first thing a customer notices about your product or service.
So, making a logo that will stand out and attract the attention of your target audience is a crucial part of getting your product recognized.
That’s why the creation of the logo is a separate project that requires its own creative brief. You can find a well-designed logo creative brief template on this link:
Unlike some other creative briefs, the logo creative brief doesn’t include “tone of voice”, but instead has elements such as:
- “Color scheme”,
- “Logo style” and
- “Font type”.
This is because the visual element is highly important when creating a logo, so it deserves to be divided into several categories.
Social media creative brief template
According to Kepios’ 2023 report on global Internet use, there are 4.80 billion social media user identities in the world. So the quality of your social media campaign can be the difference between a successful product and an unsuccessful one.
Make sure to use a creative brief to guarantee a well-organized social media campaign. You can use the template below to make your first social media creative brief.
Aside from the basic categories a creative brief should have, you should also specify which social media channels you are focusing on in the social media brief.
For example, if your target audience are teenagers and people in their early 20s, you will probably focus on TikTok and Instagram. But if you are targeting business people in their 30s and 40s, your main focus should be LinkedIn.
Website creative brief template
Since designing a website often involves a web design company and an external client, a well-written creative brief is a necessary part of the project.
Make sure to try the website creative brief template we created for you.
Almost any business today needs a website, so it’s very common for various businesses to employ a web design company to create it for them.
This brief helps companies and web designers be on the same page and work together without problems.
7 Creative brief examples
To help you see what a filled-out creative brief looks like, we have prepared an example for each type of the above-presented types.
Simple creative brief example
In this simple creative brief, a construction company needs a marketing strategy for their new estates.
Since their target audience are upper-class and business people, the tone they’re aiming for is confident. They want to look exclusive so their customers should feel privileged to own the property they’re selling.
CREATIVE BRIEF FOR SKY HOUSES PROJECT
Paradise Estate needs to develop a marketing strategy for their new project “Sky Building”
Paradise Estate is a company building modern and exclusive buildings on the outskirts of cities. They have recently started a new project called “Sky Building”, which will have 48 apartments (12 stories with 4 apartments each).
- Sell 50% of apartments before the building is completely built.
- Confirm Paradise Estate apartments as high-quality and exclusive housing.
- Upper-middle and upper class
- Business people in their 40s and 50s
- People with families
Tone of voice
Confident tone with an air of exclusivity, making people feel privileged to own apartments in this building.
Company CEO: Michael S.
Sales Director: George N.
Marketing Team Director: Diana C.
Design Team Director: Priya K.
Social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook)
Social media advertising: $10,000
TV commercials: $25,000
Project start: July 7, 2023
Advertisement due date: July 28, 2023
Social media campaign: From August 4, 2023, to October 13, 2023
TV campaign: From August 11, 2023, to October 13, 2023
Marketing creative brief example
In this example, a restaurant owner hired a marketing agency to organize their marketing campaign for their restaurant in a new location.
CREATIVE BRIEF FOR A RESTAURANT MARKETING CAMPAIGN
TastyFood is a family restaurant on the outskirts of town. They are opening a restaurant in a new location. Their customers are mostly people in their 50s and 60s from the same neighborhood.
- Show that TastyFood is a good restaurant for families with children.
- Have a full restaurant on the day of the opening.
- Middle-class people in their 30s and 40s who go to restaurants for late lunch or dinner after work
- Young families with children
Tone of voice
Friendly tone to paint a picture of a warm atmosphere: happy families enjoying their time together, friends eating dinner and laughing, etc.
- Italian restaurant on the same street
- Two other small family restaurants in the neighborhood
Restaurant owner: John R.
Marketing agency owner: Tom A.
Marketing team lead: Dev C.
Project start: August 1, 2023
Project due date: September 19, 2023
Website launch: September 25, 2023
Billboards in the neighborhood
Facebook and Instagram ads
Marketing agency: $7,000
Social media ads: 7,500
Additional expenses: $500
Advertising creative brief example
Here, a chocolate factory wants to increase sales numbers of their hot chocolate drink. They want to reach children and adults through TV commercials and YouTube ads.
ADVERTISING CREATIVE BRIEF FOR A CHOCOLATE FACTORY
A chocolate company wants to make a Christmas advertisement for their hot chocolate drink.
The company produces chocolate bars, chocolate cookies, and hot chocolate drinks. While bars and cookies have high sales numbers, chocolate drinks are not as popular. They want to advertise their product as an indulgent treat customers would want to buy.
- Connect this brand of hot chocolate with feelings of contentment and happiness during Christmas time in the minds of the customer.
- Increase the sales of hot chocolate by 20% by the end of 2023.
- Children aged 5-14
- Adults feeling nostalgic about their childhood
Tone of voice
Happy, relaxed tone of voice that paints a picture of an idyllic family atmosphere during the Christmas holidays.
- TV commercials on children’s channels, and on regular channels in the evenings
- Youtube ads
Total budget: $45,000
Advertisement creation: $25,000
Advertising on TV: $20,000
Youtube ads: $5,000
Video creative brief example
This video creative brief is created by a supermarket working with a video production company to create a video that will promote online shopping.
VIDEO PRODUCTION CREATIVE BRIEF FOR A TUTORIAL
Video production project name
“How to order online” tutorial video creation
Easy Shop Supermarket
The popularity of the supermarket is increasing constantly. There are too many customers for the supermarket’s facilities to handle, and the rows at the cash register are long. The supermarket launched online shopping on their site, but the majority of the customers are not using it. This is why they hired a video production company to create a video that would promote online orders.
- Increase online sales by 40% in the next 4 months.
- Decrease the time people have to wait at the cash register.
- Eliminate crowds in the supermarkets.
- Busy people with full-time jobs and families with children
- People who are struggling to achieve everything and who have too many errands in a day
Tone of voice
The tone should be informative and friendly, with simple explanations, without unnecessary tech jargon to confuse the customers.
The video will be posted on the supermarket’s homepage.
There will be a post on all the supermarket’s social media accounts, notifying customers there is a new tutorial video.
There will be a TV at the entrance to the supermarket playing the video.
Video production team: $3,000
Speaker for the video: $400
Pre-production due date: July 17, 2023
Production due date: August 28, 2023
Post-production due date: October 9, 2023
Video production company, represented by: Andrew C.
Supermarket’s marketing manager: Christina L.
Supermarket’s IT department head: Fiona N.
Logo creative brief example
In this example, a design agency is hired by a soft drink company to create a logo for their new drink.
BRIEF FOR SOFT DRINK COMPANY LOGO CREATION PROJECT
A soft drink company wants a new logo to represent their new cherry-flavored fizzy drink.
They produce soft drinks which are sold in most supermarkets and stores in the country. But the sales are quite low. They want to attract young customers.
Create a logo that would appeal to a young audience.
Pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults with the average income
Vibrant and modern style that looks fun and lively.
Cherry Red #D2042D
Cadmium Red #D22B2B
Jet Black #343434
Soft drink companies:
Client: Sparkle, Inc.
Represented by: Andrew R.
Design team leader: Jessica B.
Design team members: Ben H, Kate E, Lee J.
Start of the project: June 16, 2023
First draft due: August 16, 2023
Final version due: September 9, 2023
Social media creative brief example
Here, a company making face masks wants to raise brand awareness by promoting its products on social media.
SOCIAL MEDIA CREATIVE BRIEF FOR FORCE OF NATURE
Force of Nature
Force of Nature is a small business that produces organic face masks with minimal impact on the climate. They are a new company on the market, and they are trying to raise brand awareness with social media campaigns.
The campaign will cover 3 social media platforms:
Raising brand awareness with:
- Short videos with skincare tips,
- Articles offering free gift cards to new subscribers, and
- Stories with satisfied customers.
Women in their 20s and 30s in college or working with busy schedules who don’t have time for long and complex skincare routines.
People who pay attention to the environment and try to make eco-friendly decisions
Tone of voice
Bright and joyful
First posts on Instagram and Facebook: July 3, 2023
Videos on TikTok: July 5, 2023
Youtube ads: July 10, 2023
$15,000 ($5,000 each for Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok)
Company CEO: Sarrah C.
Social media team: Jenny L. (Instagram and Facebook), Mark A. (TikTok)
Design team: Kate R, Lisa N,
Video production team: Ben T, Taylor E.
Website creative brief example
In this website creative brief, a company selling organic vegetables hired a website design company to create a website where their customers can place orders and have the vegetables delivered to them.
ORGANIC FOOD WEBSITE CREATIVE BRIEF
Organic Food needs a functional easy-to-use website for their customers to place orders
Organic Food has been selling their products to supermarkets and stores for 6 years. Now, they are looking to expand and enable their customers to buy directly from them instead of going to the store.
- Create a functional website for people to place orders and book deliveries.
- Expand to a new market.
- Increase overall sales by 15% by the end of November.
Middle and upper-middle-class people who pay attention to their health and want supreme-quality produce.
People in their 20s to 50s who are used to ordering online.
- Simplistic and modern style
- Website should look professional without any unnecessary bling
- All Organic Food — offer a great variety of fruit and vegetables to order online, but the prices are quite high
- Natural Food — affordable organic vegetables, but they don’t offer delivery
- Sunny Valley — the most serious competitor. They offer organic vegetables to order online, and if you spend more than $100 the delivery is free.
Website design company
Head of web design: Claire A.
Organic Food CEO: Mark S.
Organic Food sales team leader: Helen L.
Introductory meeting: June 30, 2023
Website idea presentation: July 14, 2023
Project due date: July 31, 2023
Website launch: August 3, 2023
Why do you need a creative brief?
Composing a creative brief at the beginning of your project is something you should never skip.
Some of the biggest benefits of having a creative brief include:
- Eliminating confusion and saving time,
- Saving money, and
- Encouraging creative thinking.
Benefit #1: Eliminates confusion and saves time
Caballero explains how the creative brief helps his team be on the same page and save time:
“We all know what it feels like to be lost in a swirl of emails and meetings. The brief keeps everyone aligned, cutting through the confusion. We’ve all got our copy, and it’s like we’re singing from the same hymn sheet. It’s a real time-saver.”
Benefit #2: Saves money
Creating a brief with everything planned at the very beginning of the project will save you money in the long run.
Having a creative brief means that everyone will know the objectives and expectations right at the start of the project, so there is a higher chance that the creative team will succeed in creating what the stakeholders want.
This way, the project resources won’t be wasted on the trial-and-error stage of the project.
Benefit #3: Encourages creative thinking
Caballero points out how having a creative brief actually helps boost creativity:
“A clear brief sets boundaries but also grants the freedom to explore within those boundaries. It’s like having a sandbox where our creatives can build the most magnificent castles, resulting in unique and effective solutions.”
When should you use a creative brief?
The easy answer is — whenever you have to manage a creative project. No matter the type of creative project, having a creative brief can come in handy.
But, specifically, you should never skip a creative brief when you are working on a complex project that has a large number of stakeholders and requires smooth cross-team collaboration.
For example, an advertising campaign that includes the sales team, the marketing team, and the video production team would definitely benefit from having a creative brief.
All of these teams probably work on several different projects simultaneously and aren’t familiar with the details of the advertising campaign, so it’s important to have a document with all the information in one place.
Who can fill out a creative brief?
Who will fill out a creative brief depends on whether it’s an in-house project or if a company hired an external contractor.
If it’s an in-house project, the creative brief will most likely be written by the team manager.
If a company is working with an agency, the creative brief can be written by someone from the company who is familiar with the project, like a marketing manager or a product manager. The brief would then be delivered to the agency. Of course, the people in the agency can give their input and the brief can be revised if necessary.
The creative brief might also be written by someone from the creative agency who would work closely with the representative of the company to understand all their demands and wishes.
Conclusion: Creative briefs eliminate confusion and save time
No matter the type of your creative project, a creative brief is a must.
Hopefully, after reading this article you have come to appreciate how significant creative briefs are and how much of a difference they can make.
If you haven’t yet, make sure to incorporate them into your future projects.
After all, as Caballero says:
“A creative brief is the unsung hero behind every successful project”.
✉️ Do you have any experience creating or using a creative brief? Do you have any other tips for writing them? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know, and we may include your answers in this or some future post. If you found this post useful, share it with someone you think will be interested in it.