The Power of a Great Design Brief

First what and why a design brief.

The design brief is the direction and parameters that are given to the creative person(s) who is charged with the task of the creating a home or cottage for you.

The skills a designer can bring to the table are a sense of space, technical expertise on the physical limitations of a building. A designer can, and should bring a point of creativity and inspiration for the home/cottage owner. Provide the project with dimensions of “delight” beyond what is “expected”.  

The designer takes the all the hopes and dreams that must be included within the structure and integrates a solution that is not only functional but also inspiring.

Designers, however despite all these great skills make terrible mind readers.

The brief is the documentation of a conversation between designer and homeowner that results in a vision of what must be and what is hope for. It is the result of visual, aesthetic, functional, technical, and financial exploration that will lead to the key parameters of what a successful project looks like.

A project without a well thought out brief is very much like a race that starts with a blown tire.

Hopeful to win but the odds are clearly against a positive outcome.

The brief is powerful.

It allows for the exploration of ideas and fantasies of how you want your space to come to life. It is powerful in its ability to switch from one idea to the next at very little cost. You can dream of castle in a very modern style or maybe a simple cabin, with a warm place to rest after a day of skiing.  You can explore and dream through the development of the brief.

The brief is also powerful in its ability to force decision and direction.

A brief can only be complete through its ability to articulate clarity, direction and resource. A brief, while allowing for exploration, also at its conclusion, forces clear direction.  

With clear goals, clear understanding of resources and as well as language to express affinity for what is not always easy to articulate (aesthetic preference), the race has a realistic change to be won. Time and commitment to a well-developed brief is often overlooked in the process of design.  Take the time to do it right.

What makes a great design brief?

  1. One that is created through thoughtfulness and exploration. One that is the result of the reflection of personal aesthetic taste as well as lifestyle choices.
  2. One that brings clarity to the homeowners’ parameters of success, not just the specifics of success. Briefs that are too prescribed (I want this here!) stifle the creativity that may delight, or too general and vague (I want it big) do not give enough guidance on what a successful home would look like and lead to an ambiguous path of disappointment. A great design brief strikes a balance between the specific and the aspirational.
  3. A joint creation of the brief through collaboration between homeowner and designer. The process of dialogue, two perspectives and healthy debate create a vision of the possible that empowers the designer to create “appropriate greatness”.

The brief is powerful in how it can impact a project in both the aesthetics as well as the financial costs of any project.

Always start at the beginning.

Start with the creation of a great brief in collaboration with your designer and the project will have a might greater chance at success.

Marty RudmanComment