How to Write a Creative Brief [Template]
Download a free creative brief template, and instantly create a brief for your next creative project.
What is a creative brief?
A creative brief is a 1-2-page strategic document used by in-house marketing teams, ad agencies, and freelancers to clearly define the scope, goals, and requirements of a creative deliverable.
It goes beyond the standard project brief by capturing the vision, voice, and target audience of a brand or campaign for writers, designers, and video teams assigned to the project.
Here are a few examples of projects that benefit from a well-crafted creative brief:
- Brand and marketing collateral
- Print, radio, and TV advertising
- Interactive and web design
- Content strategy and marketing
- Video production
Why is a creative brief important?
Free artistic reign may work fine for personal creative projects. But if you’re delivering corporate campaigns or client projects, clarity is everything.
If your creative team doesn’t understand the who, what, and why behind a project, they’re more likely to miss the mark. That creates unnecessary stress and frustration and adds more time and money to the project. No one wants that!
A clearly defined creative brief enables your team to deliver high-quality work with fewer rounds of revisions. By aligning your client’s goals and expectations with the people doing the creative work, delivering the desired outcome will be quicker and easier.
How to write a creative brief
There’s no single right format for writing a creative brief. It really depends on the kind of projects your creative team will work on and what you need to know to deliver quality work effectively and efficiently.
For example, ad agencies may want to include background info about the client and brand guidelines, while internal teams already understand those things and don’t need those extra details cluttering their creative briefs.
What elements should be in a creative brief?
Let’s take a quick look at some common elements you may want to include in your creative brief.
If you’re writing a creative brief for an advertising agency or freelance client, you’ll want to capture a brief snapshot of the company so you and your team understand the organization behind the project.
Give a quick summary of the company and the products/services they offer, and be sure to include a link to their website so team members can dig deeper if needed.
A general idea of the project helps set the stage for what’s to come. Don’t worry about going into a ton of detail here.
Simply explain what the project is and why it was initiated in 1-2 sentences. If this project will help solve a particular business challenge, this is a great place to capture that info.
Understanding project goals makes it easier for your team to get creative right the first time. So draw a clear picture of success in this section.
Here are a few questions you may want to answer:
- What’s the goal of the project?
- What action do you want the audience to take?
- What key metrics will you use to measure success?
Scope and specs
This is where the rubber meets the road as far as what will actually be produced. List the key project deliverables (with estimated hours, if applicable), and specify any size, format, color, or quantity requirements.
Feel free to customize this section based on the kind of creative work that will be delivered. For example, you may want to break out specific options for file format and dimensions in a graphic design creative brief, while word count might be the only spec that matters to a copy job.
This line item might not apply if you manage projects for an in-house team. But if you work for an agency or as a freelancer, you better believe your clients have a budget. Use this space to document the amount of money and/or hours that’s been allocated to the project.
Project team & stakeholders
Depending on the size of your project team and stakeholder group, you may want to spell out who’s doing what in your creative brief. Think of this as a high-level look at the people involved.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- Who is the main point of contact for the client on this project?
- Who will serve as the project manager/lead?
- Who will be involved on your team? What are their primary responsibilities?
- Who are the key decision-makers?
Good creative doesn’t happen in a vacuum. That’s why it’s important to know who your audience is and how your project will make their life easier.
These questions can help paint a clear picture of the people this project will serve for your creative team.
- Who are you trying to reach with this project or campaign? Include any relevant user personas and/or demographics.
- Why will this project or campaign matter to your target audience? Describe how it solves a pain point, supports your audience’s values, or motivates them to make a change.
Understanding the competitive landscape can help your content writers, graphic designers, and video team find a unique hook and create truly innovative work. If your creative team doesn’t have a firm grasp of the competition, use this section to answer questions like these:
- Who are the key competitors in this space? Include relevant links to examples.
- What sets your client/business apart from the competition?
- How will this project or campaign stand out?
Tone & messaging
Tone speaks volumes and sets the direction for any creative work. So provide clear voice and/or style guidelines, as well as any specific messaging that needs to be incorporated.
One simple way to communicate this info is to list 3 adjectives that describe the tone or personality your client or stakeholder wants this project to convey.
Resources and examples
Be sure to include any relevant source materials (brand guidelines, logos, content, research, etc.) the team will need to get started. Feel free to share examples of past campaigns or outside projects you’d like your team to use as inspiration for this project.
Download a free creative brief template
We created a free creative brief template and example in Google Docs to help you save time. Feel free to customize it to fit your creative project needs!
How to edit the creative brief template
To edit the creative brief template, you’ll need to save a copy to your own Google Drive or download it as a Microsoft Word document.
Simply click File > Make a Copy (or File > Download as), and you’re ready to go!
How to add your creative brief to a project in TeamGantt
Once you’ve completed a creative brief for your project, you’ll want to share it with your team. There are 2 easy options for doing that in TeamGantt.
- Add a link to the Google Doc in the Notes section of the Comments tab.
- Upload the creative brief as a Word or PDF document to the project or task comments.
Plan projects faster with more design & creative templates
Once you’ve gathered all the project details, you’re going to need a plan.
Our design and creative gantt chart templates simplify planning so you can jump into work that matters faster—without losing sight of the deadline. Use them to schedule tasks, collaborate as a team, and track progress along the way.