Writing a Brief

(Part 2/Ideas/Writing a brief)

Writing a Brief

I do not intend to spend too much time on this exercise as I explored this subject in great detail when doing my Garden Design HNC. In Garden Design, at the first meeting with the client, they do not usually know exactly what they want – sometimes absolutely no idea. At that point one has to ask as many relevant questions as possible in order to create a brief alongside the client and to gain their approval.

This will include, the amount to be spent, the style required, the extent of planting ratio to nonplanting, the colours, the mood, the heights, the unique usage requirements, the general composition, the visual effects required from different aspects (garden design is 3D design), the seasonal relevance of different areas, the impact from different directions, what existing features are to remain, what features are to be introduced, etc etc etc.

Preparing a brief for any other kind of design, architecture, artefacts, interiors, vehicles, advertisements, murals, posters and so on all need similar but related relevant research question to be answered before work can begin.

In Garden Design we were taught to arrive at the second briefing meeting with 3 rough sketched out ideas. These we would discuss with the client before moving on to a first draft of the actual proposed design.

The process is parallel in all the disciplines previously mentioned.

The piece of work I have chosen to use for this exercise is, Pedestrian Death  2010 by Dan Page who created it for Vancouver Magazine.

The work is hand-drawn and digital. It is minimal but powerful. I admire the simplicity of the picture but particularly the concept of the coffin as one of the white lines. It is surreal without being incomprehensible. The ‘dropped’ rose is   beautiful finishing touch subtly drawing the eye to the illusion on the ground.


I think this image is brilliant in both concept and presentation.

Brief; please produce

An emotive picture to arrest attention but it must be in no way gruesome.

The subject is about the death of pedestrians on crossings. The article will be questioning why we in Vancouver tolerate so many pedestrian deaths.

Keep it simple – no ambiguities.

The target audience is readers of Vancouver magazine.

Don’t include any words – let the picture give the message.

Use limited palette, nothing fussy.

Try to give the message that the article it references is serious, informative and possibly controversial.