UIEtips: The Magical Short-Form Creative Brief

Jared Spool

May 3rd, 2012

Small is good. We love small products. Why not small processes?

Mobile phones used to be big and bulky. Then we found ways to make them smaller and pack more stuff into them. Now we walk around with multi-purpose computers in our pockets. And guess what? We use them more than ever for things we never imagined we could do.

What if we did that same thing for our UX processes? What if we could “smallify” important artifacts to make them easier to carry around? Would we use them more for things we can’t imagine?

In this week’s UIEtips, I talk about the Short-Form Creative Brief – a compact design artifact we found in use by a team we’ve been working with. This tiny little document, which is small enough to carry around and pull out when needed, has changed how the team creates designs. It can change your life too.

Read the article: The Magical Short-Form Creative Brief

What do you do to keep your team on the same page during your design meetings? What design artifacts have you made smaller and easier to use? We’d love to learn from your experiences. Leave a comment below.

2 Responses to “UIEtips: The Magical Short-Form Creative Brief”

  1. Rob Varney Says:

    A very timely article Jared.

    The clue is in the name: brief. In my experience, handing over a statement of work and a long email thread between client and agency to the studio is not sufficient. We’re currently reviewing our briefing process, to distill these client-facing documents into something that enables the creative juices of our thinkers to start flowing.

    A brief should clearly and succinctly describe the task in hand and how success will be judged, acting as a spring board for the creative process to begin.

    Your article describes the kind of document we’re about to trial, which will be limited to a sheet of A4* and act as a contract between the client, client services team and our design studio. Most importantly, it should be a living document which changes to reflect the status of the project and current thinking.

    My question is, who ultimately writes and owns this briefing document?

    *12pt Helvetica, +3pt linespacing. I’ve falled foul of project owners trying to set briefs in 6pt and claim their submission is within tolerances…

  2. hoosteeno Says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I’ve managed dozens of technology projects using a document that resembles the short form creative brief, but never considered reading it out loud at the start of every meeting. I wrote up a bit about this on my blog:

    “I suspect the shape of the brief is not nearly as important as its frequent review. Of course, it should contain enough information to explain why project participants keep meeting and working together, instead of playing pinball or hoarding shoes or visiting every county in Texas. That could be one terse sentence. The important thing is that the brief continues to explain where the group is headed, even if the group changes direction.”


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