What's your process for tackling a creative brief?

Curious to know what everyone's processes are!


  • Fun is good. It reduces stress, making space for hunches, long shots and new connections. It’s a great topic - would you mind if I shared your question and my response on LinkedIn? Hope it’s been helpful.
  • @Richy Lamb Wouldn't it be great if we all had that kind of luxury of time! The same happens to me — once I receive a brief, I don't stop thinking about it and am constantly (subconsciously) absorbing information around me and seeing if it can build on my ideas. Thanks for sharing!
  • @Emi Dixon Love your response! Research is a huge part of my process too and I agree that it's important to keep asking yourself how everything relates back to the brief, does it solve the original problem, does it resonate with the audience, and so on. Thank you for sharing!
  • @Shiv Mistry That's true! It's better to brainstorm and explore all the potential possibilities first and to narrow in later than to limit yourself from the get-go. Thanks for sharing your process!
  • 1. Validate the problem or opportunity (and research around the space)

    2. Think of ideas and solutions that meet the brief / solve the problem

    3. Validate the demand of these solutions to choose best option (will people actually pay or use it)

    4. Develop an idea with consideration of any business needs, technical needs, etc

    5. Then design and deliver these solutions and iteratively test (constantly refine)

  • A blank sheet of paper can be a map to anywhere.

    It can also feel like a road to nowhere.

    If so try this.

    Divide a page into four with a vertical and horizontal line.

    In the first quarter write down who you’re talking to.

    In the second what you're trying to say.

    In the third, the ideal outcome.

    Throw a curve ball into the fourth.

    Something like ‘ask a dumb question’ or ‘disrupt a misconception’.

    This usually gets things flowing.
  • I like to get in in my head as long as possible before starting work on it. If I can I'll read a brief a week or two before sitting down to tackle it – not always possible, but it plants a seed in your subconscious. Then it'll pop into my head when I'm walking the dog, or in the shower – anywhere away from my desk. It makes starting it a whole lot easier for me.

    Then from there my process pretty much follows @Emi Dixon's answer.
  • Research, research, research. Research to fully understand the needs/aims of the brief (don't be afraid to ask loads of question to the client), see how other people have tackled similar projects, find references and inspiration. The deeper you go with your research the more likely you are to create something unique and original, I like to think of this as going down a research hole where you end up so far from where you started you can't remember how you got there. Then I analyse the research/references and break down why I like certain things (why is it visually strong, why does it answer the brief) until you have a few starting points / ideas.

    Don't stop there, interrogate your ideas, think about how to make this idea even more relevant to the brief, consider how it will fulfill the requirements/deliverables, who is the audience, what does the client want to see, and tailor your creative repsonse.
  • Time and structure.

    Analysis and research is naturally the key part to this. But I also find a brainstorm of ideas helps... and within that brainstorm go as mental with your ideas as you possibly can as there is always something in an idea that may not look achievable or relevant

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