A creative brief is an essential document for businesses and agencies that work on any creative projects. It is used to describe every aspect of a creative campaign or project so that the people working on it know exactly what is expected.
Creative briefs can be put together by the a client requesting a creative service or campaign, or by the team or agency that is providing a creative service. But it is usually a collaborative effort, since input from the decision makers is essential for making sure their vision is included. It is then distributed to the creative team who is tasked with actually executing the campaign. This can either be an in-house team of creatives or an outside agency.
Creative briefs should include a brand statement, an overview of the campaign and its goals, the target audience you’re trying to reach, key messaging points and the channels you’ll use to spread those messages. They should also have basic details about the project, like deadlines and contact information of all the necessary parties. Overall, the document should be kept fairly simple and is often just one or two pages long.
Creative Brief Examples
If you’re looking to create a creative brief for your business or organization but don’t know where to start, templates and examples of other briefs can sometimes provide a good jumping off point. There are plenty of these available online. Here, we’ve rounded up 15 spots where you can find decent starting points for your own creative projects.
SmartSheet offers creative brief templates for Microsoft Word and Excel. The site breaks it down into categories. So you can find options for advertising campaigns, client-led projects and general creative briefs.
TemplateLab has a wide array of starter templates available for business and individual documents. They have about 40 creative brief templates available for you to download as Microsoft Word files.
Small Business Deals
Workmajig provides project management software for creative teams. Their website includes several examples of creative briefs used by top companies in their ad campaigns.
Hubspot offers a couple of different creative brief templates for download. There’s one for simple campaigns and another for video projects. You can simply sign up with your email and contact details to access them.
For advertising campaigns or professional, AdCracker offers a sample creative brief that was created specifically for the ad industry. Their website also includes plenty of examples of what type of information is needed for specific types of creative briefs.
Milanote is an online organization tool for creatives. A section of their website is dedicated to templates for various forms and documents that creative teams might need, including a creative brief.
CoSchedule offers several creative brief examples on their website, including basic ones for ad campaigns and even a more involved, Q&A style option for a video campaign. They also offer a free, downloadable template so you can easily customize your own.
Filestage is a content management platform that offers a free creative brief template on its website. You need to request the file via email. But it’s available as a Powerpoint file, which can be beneficial for those who need to present their brief to clients. You can also easily convert it to a PDF if needed.
Time tracking tool Toggl offers a free creative brief template on its website. It comes as a fillable PDF so you can easily input your information. But there’s not a ton of customization options when it comes to the layout or design.
Canva is an online graphics tool that is popular with a lot of creatives. The website includes a thorough explanation of what to include in a creative brief, along with plenty of examples and templates that you can use to create the graphics.
Online design platform 99designs has a section of their website dedicated to the creation of creative briefs. You can learn more about what goes into creating one and then download their free template via email.
Creative Market offers plenty of different design elements and assets that creative businesses can use. The site also includes a free creative brief template that was made specifically with designers in mind.
Agency management software provider FunctionPoint offers several creative brief templates for various situations, including basic templates, website projects and branding and design.
Enterprise software company Workfront also has a free template for a creative brief. They also include an explanation of what important information you need to include.
JotForm is an online form builder that has tons of forms and templates you can edit directly online. Find a basic creative brief template here are view all the other marketing and creative form options they have to offer.
|Source||Description||Templates Available||Customization Options|
|SmartSheet||Offers templates for Word and Excel, categorized by project type.||Yes||Limited|
|TemplateLab||Provides a wide array of starter templates, including 40+ creative brief templates in Word.||Yes||Yes|
|Workmajig||Offers creative brief examples used by top companies in ad campaigns.||No||N/A|
|Hubspot||Provides different creative brief templates, including ones for simple campaigns and videos.||Yes||Yes|
|AdCracker||Offers a sample creative brief tailored for advertising campaigns.||Yes||Limited|
|Milanote||Features a section with templates for various forms and documents, including creative briefs.||No||N/A|
|CoSchedule||Offers various creative brief examples on their website, including a downloadable template.||Yes||Yes|
|Filestage||Provides a free creative brief template as a PowerPoint file, suitable for client presentations.||Yes||Limited|
|Toggl||Offers a free fillable PDF creative brief template for easy information input.||Yes||Limited|
|Canva||Explains creative brief elements and offers templates for creating graphics.||Yes||Yes|
|99designs||Dedicated section on their website for creating creative briefs with a downloadable template.||Yes||Yes|
|Creative Market||Offers a creative brief template designed specifically for designers.||Yes||Yes|
|FunctionPoint||Provides various creative brief templates for different project situations.||Yes||Yes|
|Workfront||Offers a free creative brief template with an explanation of essential inclusions.||Yes||Yes|
|JotForm||An online form builder with a basic creative brief template and various other marketing forms.||Yes||Yes|
Creating an Effective Creative Brief
A creative brief serves as a compass for businesses and agencies venturing into creative projects, ensuring that everyone involved understands and aligns with the project’s objectives. Whether you’re a client seeking creative services or a creative team tasked with execution, mastering the art of crafting an effective creative brief is paramount. Beyond the basics, here are additional insights to enhance your creative brief:
- Clear Objectives: Define your project’s objectives with utmost clarity. Specify what you aim to achieve, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or launching a new product. These objectives serve as the North Star guiding creative decisions.
- Competitive Analysis: Include a section that delves into your competitors. Analyze their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses. Understanding your competitive landscape can provide valuable insights and help your creative team identify unique selling points.
- Budget Considerations: While it’s vital to have a clear budget for the project, consider elaborating on budget allocation. Provide guidance on how much should be allocated to various elements of the creative campaign, such as design, production, and distribution.
- Timeline and Milestones: In addition to deadlines, establish milestones within the project timeline. Milestones help track progress, ensure accountability, and allow for adjustments if needed.
- Creative References: Include examples of creative work that resonate with your project’s vision. This could be visuals, ad campaigns, or branding materials. These references offer a visual representation of your expectations.
- Risk Assessment: Acknowledge potential risks or challenges that could arise during the project. Discussing risks allows your creative team to prepare contingency plans and mitigate potential roadblocks effectively.
- Measurable KPIs: Outline key performance indicators (KPIs) that will gauge the project’s success. These may include metrics like website traffic, conversion rates, or social media engagement. Having measurable goals ensures that your creative efforts align with business objectives.
- Legal and Compliance Requirements: Depending on your industry, your creative project may need to adhere to specific legal or regulatory requirements. Mention any compliance considerations upfront to avoid complications later in the project.
- Review and Feedback Process: Describe the process for reviewing and providing feedback on creative concepts and drafts. Efficient feedback loops save time and help refine creative work effectively.
- Creative Team Dynamics: Introduce your creative team within the brief, highlighting their roles and responsibilities. Understanding who’s involved fosters transparency and collaboration.
|Clear Objectives||Define project objectives with clarity, guiding creative decisions.|
|Competitive Analysis||Analyze competitors' strategies, strengths, and weaknesses for insights.|
|Budget Considerations||Specify budget allocation for various project elements like design and production.|
|Timeline and Milestones||Establish project milestones for tracking progress and accountability.|
|Creative References||Provide examples of creative work aligning with the project's vision.|
|Risk Assessment||Acknowledge potential risks and challenges, enabling contingency planning.|
|Measurable KPIs||Outline key performance indicators (KPIs) for gauging project success.|
|Legal and Compliance Requirements||Mention industry-specific legal and regulatory considerations.|
|Review and Feedback Process||Describe the process for efficient review and feedback on creative concepts.|
|Creative Team Dynamics||Introduce the creative team's roles and responsibilities, fostering collaboration and transparency.|
A well-structured and comprehensive creative brief stands as an indispensable pillar in the realm of creative projects for both businesses and creative agencies. Beyond its fundamental elements, which encompass project objectives, target audience, messaging, and channels, a truly effective creative brief incorporates several additional facets that elevate its impact.
Clear objectives illuminate the path forward, ensuring that creative efforts align with overarching business goals. An insightful competitive analysis sharpens the creative team’s understanding of the market landscape and identifies strategic opportunities. Thoughtful budget considerations enable the efficient allocation of resources, optimizing creative output within financial constraints.
A meticulously planned timeline with milestones keeps the project on track, fostering accountability and adaptability. The inclusion of creative references provides visual clarity and sparks inspiration, facilitating a shared vision. Acknowledging potential risks and challenges equips the team to preemptively address issues, mitigating disruptions.
Measurable KPIs provide a yardstick for success, tying creative endeavors to tangible business outcomes. Legal and compliance considerations, when addressed proactively, safeguard against legal hurdles down the road. An established feedback process streamlines communication, ensuring that creative concepts evolve efficiently.
Introducing the creative team and their roles fosters transparency and collaboration, setting the stage for a cohesive and productive partnership.
In essence, a well-rounded creative brief is not merely a document but a dynamic tool that empowers businesses and creative teams to embark on projects with a unified vision and a clear roadmap. It enables creativity to flourish within defined parameters, resulting in innovative solutions that resonate with target audiences and drive tangible business results.
Mastering the art of crafting an effective creative brief, enriched by these additional insights, is pivotal for achieving creative excellence and project success. As businesses navigate an increasingly competitive and visually-driven landscape, a comprehensive creative brief remains an essential asset in their arsenal, guiding them toward creative endeavors that leave a lasting impact.