Sunday, August 29, 2010

Designing the brief

I just finished watching Objectified, a movie about industrial design.

So first off, if you have a brain, if you care about the world around you and if you've ever been curious about why things are the way they are, it's a great movie. If you are not one of those people, I find it hard to believe you read this blog. But said movie may not interest you.

It got me thinking about the brief.

Any brief.

I constantly butt up against briefs without a firm grasp of why we're doing whatever it is we're supposed to be doing. They lack focus, and more importantly, purpose. And like all things with a purpose, a brief should be, by design, designed.

It should be simple.
It should be singular.
It should be easy to use.
It should be efficient, but extremely effective.
It should leave me thinking: how smart was the person was who created it?
It should inspire me to do something great myself.

The problem is, most briefs aren't designed by designers.
They're generated - sometimes miserably so - to define the need, to prompt a deadline, to capture the mandatories - not suggest an understanding of the problem.

Design demonstrates insight. Insight demonstrates empathy.

If you are designing a brief, ask yourself these questions:
Is my purpose singular?
Do I understand the problem?
Do I care? Will anyone else?
Is this simple enough?
Is this efficient, yet effective?

If you don't know the answers to these questions, send your brief to me.
If you think you have all the answers, PLEASE send it to me.