When working with a creative team, freelancer or company, you will be required to fill out a brief so that designers will be able to understand what ideas you have and would like to be produced.
Briefs are a complex thing to explain but the process is really simple to understand. Briefs are complicated because sometimes depending how specific your needs are you may write down requirements such as dimensions, is the project print or digital and any detailed considerations which may need to be taken into account.
But before you even think about writing the perfect brief you need to understand the purpose of a brief and how you can use it to your advantage.
The purpose of a brief is simple as briefs are used to communicate your idea (whether detailed or vague) to the designer. Without any sort of brief or plan a designer can go off and literally create anything they want, creativity is limitless. Sometimes this is the desired outcome, to trust people with a vague idea and let them design something they feel will suit what you want.
But that costs more money. See designers are very good at research and understanding needs. So if you fill out a brief with some information you are cutting down the time a designer will spend to get a good base of information before starting to create. If you don't brief or give much information, the designer will still research and because of your lack of direction they will take more time to look around and research to make up for the information you didn't give.
Design is about purpose and a brief allows the designer to turn your idea from thoughts to purposeful visual communication.
Before presenting a brief to a designer you should:
Think about what you want to make.
Work out why you are asking for it to be made.
Research any possible limitations you may have. (Religion, Social status etc...)
These three pointers are the main base of a brief. They cover What, Why, How and Who, which are key to making information understandable in the majority of contexts.
Doing your homework and research before asking for design work to be carried out is sometimes seen as doing the designers job for them. But it really isn't.
When you are paying for design, you may not realise that lack of information costs extra for research and design, which takes a lot longer than, first of all working out a concise plan with your creatives then putting that into action with purpose. It all comes down to communication, the more you ask the more you know, the more you understand, then the more designers can create with strong direction and meaning.
A great read for finding out more information is Start With Why" by Simon Sinek. as it asks questions you should consider to find the meaning and purpose in everyday things. Which is very helpful for working with designers and making your brand grow.
Another two great reads are the The Brand Gap (Revised Edition) and The Brand Flip by Marty Neumeier. Both books look at branding from a modern opposite side of view and go into detail about key ideas of how people buy and experience your services. They are must haves if you are serious about your brand and want to do effective research.
"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail."
Start With Why By Simon Sinek