Just because you know what to type in to a text editor or how to use a graphics package doesn’t mean you can create a snazzy website or banner. I know how to use a paint brush, but it doesn’t mean I can paint, and one of the frustrating aspects for me of creating websites is my lack of design skills. There comes a time when if you want to take that next step forward you need to call in the professionals. Here are my top 6 tips to make sure your brief gets the results you want:

1. The designer is not psychic
For example, if you know you want your logo to be to the right of a banner, then be very clear that is what you want. It is easy to presume that they will appreciate this should be the case from your other design collateral or because “that is the way it has always been”, but if they have not worked with you before, you may get the first draft back with the logo on the left! This also goes for use of colour, fonts, images and everything else you can think of.

2. What action should it elicit?
Digital marketing is more than just sales. Make it clear what you want to achieve with the new banner, site, email… etc. Is it to raise awareness of your brand, to facilitate an immediate sale, to collect data or to influence opinion? (Or all of the above?)

3. What is your target market?
Depending on who you are targeting, the design of your collateral will vary drastically. For example, the design proposition for 10 – 14 year olds is very different to that of £100k+ a year business executives. Make it clear who your product / service target audience is and if you have it any insight into their online behaviour / preferences.

4. Break down the various components’ weighting
This will help the designer to structure the creative space in line with your expectations. For example, you could use something along the lines of:

7 components of sales banner priority (5 being highest):
Headline 1/5
Sub headline 1/5
Brand 1/5
Call to action 1/5
Features list 1/5
Price point 1/5
Image 1/5

5. A picture is worth a thousand words
If you have seen other companies’ adverts or websites that you like the look of and would like the designer to use as inspiration, take a screen grab and attach it to the brief. It is a lot quicker than “It’s a shade of red (a bit pinky really), with a yellow spot to the upper left, and then a jagged edge…”

6. Make it clear what you don’t want!
Just as important as the first point, if you have a clear understanding of what you don’t want, add that to your brief to make sure you don’t get it.

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3 Responses

  • nick

    and one if the frustrating aspects
    NO – and one of the frustrating aspects

    2. What action should it illicit?
    NO – 2. What action should it elicit?

    if you have it any incite in to their online
    NO – if you have it any insight about their online

    Just which meaning of collateral is in use in this article ?

    September 30, 2008 at 11:41 am
  • John

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for pointing out the typos. I’ve corrected the post appropriately.

    I think by ‘collateral’ Matt means anything else which has been created to support your company’s brand. So it could be printed materials like business cards, letterheads, catalogues etc, or online items like your existing website or email templates.

    However, I’ll ask him to clarify if my explanation isn’t correct!



    September 30, 2008 at 4:28 pm
  • Matt

    That serves me right for relying so much on spell check! John’s explained what I meant by ‘collateral’ perfectly.



    September 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm