The Design Brief: a North Star for Any Project

Photo by: Dennis Stauffer

Photo by: Dennis Stauffer

How many times have you been part of a project, and asked yourself any of the following questions:

  • What’s the purpose?
  • Why are we doing this now?
  • Are we going down the right path?
  • Who are we serving?
  • What are our success metrics?

It’s easy to lose track of the big vision when you’re in the weeds of a project. That’s why it is important to have a Design Brief so it can help ground you and your team as the opportunity you’re tackling gets more wicked. Simply put, your Design Brief is a charter, the North Star, for your project.

This document is generally co-created as a team at the beginning of a project and becomes your compass along the way. At the onset, it is tempting to make it perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Just settle for good enough. Why? The Design Brief is meant to be a guide, not a set of rules. Having this mindset is important because we want to remain flexible, as we need to leave room for pivots as we reach new learning milestones. We don’t want to be too wedded to certain ideas.

Throughout the project, refer to your Design Brief at each of your project’s milestones and ask yourself the following:

  1. What have we learned since our last milestone?
  2. In light of what we've learned, is the Design Brief still valid?
  3. What can we fine tune on the Design Brief?
  4. Are we on the right path?

Do you have a North Star on your projects? Message me @jimmy_tran or leave a comment below! Click here to download a copy of the Design Brief.