A Creative Brief Should Be Just Enough


If the team had the answer, they would have done it.

That’s pretty much the case for bothering with a creative brief. The answer to an issue didn’t miraculously appear. Alas, now others must be summoned to the cause, and they’ll need some direction.

Itaque hic est: The Creative Brief

A creative brief is a mechanism for figuring out just enough of a problem — and figuring it out in a way that obviously informs but more importantly inflames those who receive it. Too much information, as The Police put it, drives one insane. Too much drama, and you have strategy imposing as creativity.

Creative briefing is the art of balance.

As written earlier in this series, a brief is first and foremost a kind of infrastructure.

It supports, it informs, it guides, it encourages, it eases, it simplifies, it clears the way, it sets expectations, it fuels consensus, and otherwise does all kinds of magic up to the point of Making The Idea.

It’s also somewhat of a birthday party. The most effective briefing is more than just a document. It’s an experience, a conversation, a starting line.

If you’re attending a briefing and harboring the suspicion a creative brief is literal — it is not. It’s the start of an idea process, not the end.

The briefing ought to be purposefully written for specific recipients. We’re not documenting the news of the day. Or writing for posterity. Remember, the brief must inspire people you know to find ideas that will change the world. At least the piece of the world the brief is focused on.

Without a brief, everyone is just guessing.

A brief should be just enough to instill courage and purpose in those who’s next step is a journey into The Fog.

…a world that requires repeated effort in the unknown with threats to your mortgage lurking somewhere. Go forth, brilliant person, and dig for gold with nothing but your wits, your experience, maybe a partner and hopefully a piece of paper — a Brief — as guidance.

Written well, and given brilliant recipients, and good fortune, and enough time, some briefs have proven to be historic markers precipitating ideas that change the world.

Here’s wishing you that result.

Originally published at Useful Lunacy



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Tim Brunelle

Tim Brunelle

I'm a creative enterprise leader, teacher, and entrepreneur living in Minneapolis.