The Client needs to tell you a little about themselves; They might feel that simply meeting with you is enough or that their company is a household name, but artisans still need to hear the clients version of their story. It’s important for the client to provide the artisan with enough information to ensure that they understand why they have been selected for the job and what the client’s vision is for the outcome; how do they see themselves using the product in the short and long term?
Note: For your own purposes you may want to extend this background information to a high-level synopsis of your target market, whom your competitors for this commission are and how they differ from yourself – why did the client ultimately choose you? It’s important for you to be aware of your competitive advantages in the eyes of your clients so that you can develop these advantages further if possible.
A clearly defined objective is critical to the success of any design effort. This section of the design brief should explain the need for this particular product. If the design brief offers a clear statement of the client’s objectives, and the priorities they place on them, it will be doing a large part of the job it needs to do.
This section may not be necessary for all types of design projects however for larger installations intended for public spaces (such as custom wrought iron gates, outdoor furniture, commercial commissions for stained glass or tile work etc.) it can be helpful to clarify the “vision”. Describing the client’s vision in words can help to express more clearly what the client/company is about and how this project will affect their lifestyle or the way a company does business. Part of this process should involve an effort to define the work's audiences.
Outline the materials, medium or media in which the design will be realized, the design cycles, the distribution, the design parameters in general, and the client should say as much as they can about how and where they see the design being used. The client will also need to detail any constraints on the project or its delivery.
The client's design brief will need to tell the artisan some things that the clients would like their design to say about them, adding if possible some examples of work that they think scores highly in this direction. If the client is determined to have their home seen, for example, as one that incorporates modern elements with traditional materials and techniques, the client will need the product design to do the same. This differs from the objective and vision in that it speaks more to the client’s values than to the product itself.
The client must clearly define how they will judge the success of the project. Provide measurable outcomes tied to how the product will be used by the client, taking into consideration the expected life span (eg. is the product intended to become an heirloom?), it’s flexibility (e.g. does the client expect the product to appeal to different people or be used for a variety of purposes?), maintenance (does the client understand and accept the maintenance requirements?) etc.
Provide the budget and tie spending to the stages of the design process and measurable deliverables. A high-level budget should reflect and align with the detailed project plan. You may require a deposit up front to begin the work and additional payment instalments tied to the progression of the work. It’s important that both you and the client understand precisely how these payment stages are defined.
SCHEDULE, MEASURABLE TARGETS & DEADLINES
Provide a high-level summary of the project plan.
TECHNICAL AND PRACTICAL CONSTRAINTS
The client and designer should agree to a list of any/all known variables and constraints that might impact your ability to deliver the project. This might include everything from budgetary and time constraints, to materials availability, handling, shipping and other manufacturing constraints.