Recently published article about the graphic design brief

Abstract from ‘What’s the brief?’ building a discourse around the graphic design brief

“What’s the brief?” is an everyday question within the graphic design process. Moreover, the concept and importance of a design brief is overtly understood well beyond design practice itself – especially among stakeholders who work with designers, as well as clients who commission their services. As will be shown in this article, a design brief is often an assumed and expected physical or metaphoric artefact for guiding the creative process. When a design brief is lacking, incomplete, or unclear, it can render an often already ambiguous creative process and discipline even more fractured. However, while an apparently ubiquitous entity within industry and academia, the problematic position of the design brief appears to have remained hidden in plain sight. Even in wider design discourse, there appears to be little research on design briefs, the briefing process, as well as little consistency about the form that a brief takes. Indeed, it seems astonishing that, even by Peter Phillips 2012 edition of Creating the Perfect Design Brief, he feels compelled to comment that ‘there are still no books available about design briefs’ and that the topic is only ‘vaguely’ covered within professional design education (2012 p 21). While Phillips’ assertion is debatable, it is a cultural reality with which professional graphic designers are familiar. Further problematised by insufficient attention cast on graphic design itself as a specific discipline, this article explores existing literature and research and argues for academics, the design industry, and educationalists, to focus specific attention on the design brief. This is not just asking what is a graphic design brief, it is asking designers and creative industry stakeholders  to start providing research to support the under-researched area of design briefs.

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