What do you need from me?

You have identified a designer who you think is perfect for your brochure design, but now what? You might be asking yourself, what do I need to provide the designer in order for me to get the best design possible?
The designer has very simple needs: 1) a creative brief and 2) content (text and images). Give him/her that and expectations will even out. In order for the designer to get started on a concept or design s/he will need to know about audience, budget, value proposition, core message, and the timeline, which all be summarized in a creative brief, and hopefully in one single page. Be clear and specific so that you can get the most out of the designer you just hired. The creative brief will also serve as a the road map for you and your internal team to make sure everyone is on the same page in regards to the project.

Use a creative brief for your new marketing campaign, ad campaign, conference promotional materials, brand development, product or service promotion, and even your social good, corporate responsibility or fundraising campaign.

In regards to content, the designer will expect that you clearly specify the flow of the brochure, meaning front cover, inside panels/pages, and back cover. Furthermore, although you have copy you have written, you can collaborate with the designer in creating call-to-action messages, images, and abstracts that are worth being highlighted on a side bar, or any other data visualization opportunity that can be pulled out from a large paragraph to be displayed prominently and that will capture the interest of the reader.

Clear Messages + Meaningful Images = Strong Communication

A creative brief and core message are mandatory for a professional designer.

Concept and design, two different things

To conceptualize or to design? That is the question. People use those words interchangeably when referring to design options. They actually don't mean the same thing. Conceptualization requires a different set of skills than designing. In order to conceptualize the designer needs to think "big picture". If I have this great concept that is supportive of this great message, I will think about how it will be applied on to print collateral, direct mail, the Web, an app, a twitter opportunity, the Facebook page, and even the face-to-face experience. When the designer conceptualizes s/he is thinking about it in a holistic way to create a connection between the organization, company, product or service, with the recipient or target market/audience.

Concept comes before design. I can't design a marketing piece if I don't have a concept in mind. And I can't conceptualize if I don't know how the design will be deployed or delivered physically or electronically.

A concept could be literal or it can be intriguing. The project manager and the designer will have to collaborate on what's the best option based on the target audience, the budget and the overall marketing goals.

A concept is needed to communicate the message and can be interpreted and converted to many different designs layouts.

A concept is broad whereas a design is specific. A concept is strategic whereas a design is tactical. A concept might be complex but the design execution must be simple.

Sketches from a recent conceptualization process.