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How to Write a Creative Brief for Your Next Direct Mail Postcard Campaign

January 12, 2015

How to Write a Creative Brief for Direct Mail Postcard Campaign

Have you ever received work from a graphic designer that didn’t live up to what you had in mind? When you receive a creative that isn’t what you expected, the problem is often a mismatch between your expectations and your creative brief (or lack thereof).

A well-prepared creative brief is a roadmap for your graphic designer – an in-depth list of what to include in your direct mail postcard design. From your designer’s perspective, starting a project without a brief is like driving to a new destination without a map. 

This mismatch between expectations and communication can lead to designs that don’t match up with your vision. The end result may be a less effective campaign than the one you had visualized, and often a design that doesn’t match your business.

In this guide, we’ll share four techniques that you can use to write a creative brief for your next graphic design project, whether you’re creating a brochure for your business or launching a small business postcard marketing campaign.


Provide background information on your brand and values 

Are you working with a new graphic designer? If your graphic designer isn’t already familiar with your business, they could end up producing a design that – while good from an aesthetic perspective – doesn’t match your brand’s image or values. 

In your creative brief, provide background information on your business, its brand, and values. Provide examples of your previous direct mail postcards, brochures, and other print marketing items.

Just like you’d provide a media kit to a reporter writing about your company, provide an aesthetic overview of your business to your graphic designer. The more they understand your company and your brand, the better they’ll be able to emphasize its values in their work.


Define your marketing campaign’s target audience 

Who is your campaign aimed at? While your target audience may be obvious to you, your graphic designer might not be aware of exactly who you’re trying to reach with your marketing efforts. 

Think of a car dealership, for example. While everyone needs a vehicle, each vehicle in its range appeals to a different type of buyer and requires a different approach: 

  • Sports and performance cars might appeal to young professionals
  • SUVs and station wagons might appeal to parents and families
  • Luxury cars might appeal to a wealthier, likely older audience

Define your target audience in clear, objective terms and provide as much detail as you can. The greater the level of detail your creative brief provides, the better your graphic designer will be able to understand how to visually appeal to your target audience.


List your campaign’s key marketing objectives 

What is the goal of your campaign? Are you mailing direct custom postcards to sell your product to customers, to generate leads for your sales team to work with, or to raise awareness of your new product, service, or offer?

Every campaign has a unique and clearly definable objective, and it’s essential that your brief clearly explains the goal of your campaign. This lets your designer tailor the design of your postcards, brochures, or other items towards that goal. 

While an awareness-based campaign might focus on information, a sales-focused campaign may be designed with action in mind. List your campaign’s key goals to make sure your design matches your objectives and expectations.


Provide concrete deadlines for project delivery 

Almost every business has a project that’s run beyond its deadline. Breaking your project into stages – the first draft, revised creative, and final deliverable – makes managing its progress and delivery far easier for your business. 

Provide concrete deadlines for each stage of the project so that your designer can work to your schedule. Projects without clearly defined deadlines often expand in scale and scope until they’re delayed and long overdue. 

It’s often a good idea to consult with your designer before preparing your brief, as they may need more time than you expect to complete your project. Being as clear as possible with milestones makes managing your creative project far simpler.