How to build a client briefing form that works | Heart Internet Blog – Focusing on all aspects of the web

Words by Charlotte Alice Moore

They say a worker is only as good as their tools, and while there are no hammers and saws used in the creative industries, there are briefing forms.

The quality of a briefing form can make the difference between a project flying and failing.

So what should you include in a client briefing form to ensure there are no misunderstandings or additional amends?

We take a look…

Deep dive on the client: get the client to explain who they really are

Understanding your client is crucial. When you know who they are, how they work and what their standards for work are, aligning yourself to their project goals is much easier.

Before you take on a project, ask your client…

  • Who are they?
  • What do they do? Do they have any specialities?
  • What are their core operations and/or services?
  • How long have they been in business?

You can also ask the client to show you examples of work that has stood out to them in the past. This will give you a lay of the land as well as an opportunity to see the style and calibre of work they sign off on.

Project summary: key milestones

Write a detailed section about what needs to be done, when, and by whom.

In this section, ask the client to outline their vision for the project and how the project will help the company achieve their long term goals.

It’s important for you to understand their expectations when it comes to key milestones, timelines and the overall project goals. This will give you a holistic understanding of what the client is looking for.

Add in the answers to these questions;

  • What are the project’s goals?
  • How will this project help the company achieve its goals?

Target audience

Before you come up with strategies to implement the project, you need to clearly understand the target market and intended audience.

This part is a great opportunity for you to drill down into the specific types of consumers you’re targeting so that you can meet their wants and needs.

You can use an ACORN for this or try asking these questions;

  • Who is your customer on an average day?
  • What age/sex/marital status/income bracket/cultural group are they?
  • Do they buy for themselves or someone else?
  • What are they interested in?
  • How often do they need your product/service?

Many creative briefs also focus on a future customer – a change in the customer demographic based on a new market successfully targeted with the product/service/campaign/website.

If this is the direction your client might be moving in it’s important to know as much about this pivot as


Having objectives that are unmeasurable are unworkable. It’s crucial that you creative objectives with your client that are S.M.A.R.T, this means…

Specific – to the point. One action point per objective

Measurable – measured by a key metric that is quantifiable

Achievable – within your remit, time frame, capabilities and the budget

Relevant – objectives that make the project succeed, not meander

Time-based – There should be a start and end to each objective to help build a timeline.

Ask the client to make sure that each objective adheres to this structure. If you do this you will end up with a fantastic set of clear objectives that are 100% relevant to your project.

Competitive positioning

Knowing where your client fits into the market is essential for you to be able to get to grips with steering the project. Knowing what sets you apart from the competition is essential to success. Ask them to tell you…

Who are their competitors?

Why are they different?

Where do they fit into the market?

This makes it easier for you to scope out areas to shout about, spot areas that might need a bit of extra work and give you a well rounded understanding of the market your client sits in.

Project specifics

In this section, you should have sight on the format, scale, size, etc of any sort of output you need to know about. Essentially, what exactly does the client need you to do?

Be sure to ask them to include branding essentials for you, of they already have them, like colours, fonts, spacing, style guides, materials etc.

Don’t forget to ask them if there are any preparation details you should know about and have they budgeted for that?

Any additional information

Simplify the form as best you can and tailor it to the client. You want them to be able to give you as much relevant information as possible, so keeping things concise and precise is key.

Always remember that you need this information ahead of time, so insist that the client completes this before your first project conversation. This will ensure that the project is clearly outlined, objectives are easy to follow and you can begin thinking outside of the box.


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