BLURRED LINES (THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD DESIGN BRIEF)

Here at Studio Republic we tread a fine line between being a friendly bunch of design geeks who enjoy live music and play with Lego and being a serious and well established full service web and graphic design agency.  Our approach is agile but robust; flexible yet driven; fanatical about quality whilst arguing over the last doughnut.

We are excited by good design and appreciate working with an eclectic mix of clients ranging from Tourism South East to Entertaining Babies, from The Green Party to MyMindWorks. Over time we have come to regard some of our clients in the way a parent fondly views a favourite child and we’ll do whatever it takes to delight them because...well it’s just so hard to say no and see the disappointment in their eyes.

That said, a major part of refining our skills, reputation and industry experience has come from learning from our mistakes. And we’ve learned that even in the midst of cosy client relationships there needs to be a hefty whack of discipline, starting with the design brief.

As human beings, we Studio Republicans are pretty casual and informal. But as designers we have learned to focus our minds and become as strong as steel and as sharp as a hat pin.  Each of our projects commences with a design brief – a beautiful thing we have adopted over time in the same way that a diamond is formed: as a result of unyielding pressure.

The design brief sets the goal or deliverable and breaks it down into elements to make sure each part contributes effectively to the end goal.  It’s the Who, What, When, Why and How Much of the project - and it saves a whole lot of What the Hell?, Who Agreed To That? and How Bloody Much? at the end.  

A sharp brief helps to define the raison d’etre of the project and focuses the client’s mind on what they want, what they really, really want.  It helps them to articulate their goals whether they’re commissioning a substantial piece of kit or just making a few updates to something.

The key is defining the components without losing the big picture or stifling creativity.  For instance, if a client is hoping to get their website customers to do something (eg purchase, subscribe, Like, Follow etc) we’ll identify a clear call to action in the brief and enforce this throughout the design process. It sharpens the website experience for the visitor and makes the design work harder for our client.

We don’t like red tape; but you wouldn’t set about building a house without clarifying the blueprint. At Studio Republic even though we sometimes blur the line between work and pleasure we wouldn’t waste our time or our clients’ money by redesigning or amending features and functions because we’d failed to consider them fully at the start.  It doesn’t detract from our ability to adapt a brief or identify improvements midway through a project but if we can get it perfect first time round - we will. And then we’ll reward ourselves with doughnuts.

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