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Lesson 6 The Creative Brief
Objective Describe the elements of the Creative Brief.

Creative Brief Elements

The Creative Brief provides an overview of visual strategies and approaches, based on audience characteristics and business needs. It is the initial document that links audience, business goals, and creative strategies. The Asteron Creative Brief includes the following sections:


The Overview section describes visual and interactive strategies and approaches. It breaks sign types down into categories such as icons and branding elements. You may include suggestions for metaphors and offer ideas regarding implementation of creative elements.

Tone and manner

The tone and manner section of the Creative Brief summarizes visual tone and manner of the site. Think of this as describing the style, attitude, and look and feel of the site.


The audience section of this document provides an overview of the site's audience, consisting of the anticipated Web site users or target market groups.

What is the audience thinking/ feeling?

In this section, the Brief describes how the audience is reacting to the current site, to the Internet in general, or to specific elements such as trust in Internet transactions.

What does the Web team want them to think?

This section of the creative brief describes how the client and Web Team want audiences to respond to the site.

Outcomes of the brief

The following four sections of the brief do not explicitly deal with visual or graphical elements, but they are important in the early planning stages of a Web site. These considerations force the team and the client to give serious thought to some elements that will make the site a strong competitor in its market. When the answers to these questions are developed, they will affect the strategies that the Creative Team members will use to design an excellent and competitive site.

What benefits are the Web team promising?

In this section of the Creative Brief, you will describe the benefits and capabilities that the site provides for the audience. In the over-saturated Internet world where new sites launch every day, this aspect of the site must be well thought-out, so that benefits can be clearly communicated to users.

How does the team make the promises real?

This section builds on the previous one. When benefits to the user are promised, you must make explicit what those benefits will be and how they will occur (that is, through convenience, superior navigation methods, a unique color theme, and so on) in order for the promise to be believed. It is not necessary at this early stage, however, to be explicit regarding the artwork or creative graphics used to achieve such benefits.

How will the site's success be measured?

The success section explains how the creative aspects of the site will contribute to or detract from its success. To build in accountability for this component of your site, you must briefly describe how you will measure success for the site, as affected by the creative design aspects.

Who is the competition?

The competition section is the final portion of the Creative Brief. It should list how the proposed new site will successfully compete against current or future competitor sites. This portion of the Brief has the potential to make or break acceptance of your proposal. When developed effectively it identifies the shortcoming in existing competitor sites and convinces the reader why your proposed site will clearly succeed.

Preparing to compete

Like any other aspects of web development, there are no absolutes in how to develop the portion of the brief on the competition. Just examine the competition's sites, giving attention to what makes their sites good or bad, effective or frustrating, and continually think of how your proposed site can be designed to make its worst features better and its good features great.
When you have a thorough understand of why your vision for the new site is superior to the competition's sites, you will be able to successfully share that vision with the client. Your preparation and thoughtful analysis will be convincing in almost every case.
In the next lesson, you will learn about the components of the Editorial Brief.