What’s your perfect brief?

Designers tell us about their idea of the perfect brief.


Greg Quinton

“It’s not a coffee shop. It’s not a cool brand and I seriously doubt it’s on many people’s list of the perfect brief. But I do predict that there is an area of life that  will go through radical changes in the next few years. It will change because this generation of designers (product, graphic, fashion, experiential and 3D) will refuse to put up with the current depressing mess that is ‘end of life’ in this country. Death is in serious need of a positive rebrand and I think it will finally get tackled. Even if it kills them.”

 Greg Quinton, executive creative director, The Partners

Paul Bailey

 “No client brief is perfect, but a brief that clearly identifies what the aims of the work are, what the desired responses to the work would be, and doesn’t detail any preconceived approaches as to how they might be achieved, is a pretty good start.”

Paul Bailey, partner, 1977 Design

Simon Manchipp

”My perfect briefs have changed over the years. I think that most start with a ‘slip’ a simple affair with no openings or indeed closures. All fine but they do rather force a trousers down / pants down approach to matters concerning toilets.

Then we pulled on the age of the y-front one leg at a time. A more practical number that requires a simple jig at the urinal. But style suffers and getting changed after Football at school could be fraught if you had the wrong colour or horror of horrors a pattern or ’motif’.

Soon the Boxer short appeared on a screen near you. A Levi’s ad combined with the film ‘an officer and a gentleman’ led many to believe a white boxer short would instantly appeal to those they were hoping to drop them for.

Suddenly all bets were off as Calvin marched in. More y-front with attitude. The hugging Lycra-cotton combo became the only brief to be seen in. Of course there is always the frisson of ‘going commando’ — and this is, I suspect, our favourite kind of creative brief from a client.

No protection. Just us. And the raw truth of a client up close and personal. So many briefs are suffocatingly tight and restrictive. Many are also too loose, and like a buttonless boxer can leave you unintentionally exposed on the pitch. The best creative briefs push you up against sometimes uncomfortable truths. They rub you up the wrong way. They can catch you unawares. But they make your feel more alive. The best briefs are those that do not conform to any template. The best briefs go commando.”

Simon Manchipp, co-founder, SomeOne

Simon Ward.

“Creating a new brand, preferably for an agile and entrepreneurially-minded client. How about a European version of Boxed.com (US start up delivering big boxed goods to your door)? Yes, it would need brand development, design (web/mobile), naming and a customer journey experience to delight. But we¹d also create a service for supplying brands to improve their pack design for on-screen context. A prototype store design at a later date would be good too, integrating retail design and technology.”

Simon Ward, chief executive, Europe, Holmes & Marchant


Hide Comments (3)Show Comments (3)
  • Matt Baxter November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Mr Manchipp, that is the most grizzly extended metaphor you’ve ever attempted. I need a lie down.

  • David Gray November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Telling us what you want to achieve commercially not how you want us to deliver it creatively (mandatory requirements excepted – but please think really, really carefully about what is actually mandatory rather than default to type). Then a proper grown up discussion about how we are going to get there and what success looks like for both parties involved. After all this is supposed to be a relationship.

  • Simon Manchipp November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Ha ha!

    Come on Matt — this is a place for a bit of fun…

    Do you REALLY need to know what a perfect brief is?


    Thought not.

    As you were!

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