A Guide for Design Clients: How prepping your brief better could save you time, money and a headache!

A Guide for Design Clients

Are you a design client looking to streamline your collaboration with a design agency? Do you want to ensure your projects stay on budget and are delivered promptly? Or have you come to pay the bill and didn’t expect such a large sum on project management?

In this blog, we’ll explore how investing time in preparing a thorough design brief can ultimately save you both time and money.

The Power of Preparation

They say that proper preparation prevents poor performance, and nowhere is this truer than in the realm of design projects. By investing time upfront to prepare a comprehensive design brief, you set the stage for success and avoid costly delays down the road.

Approving Copy and Collecting Content

Before engaging with a design agency, ensure that your copy is finalised and approved internally. Providing the agency with approved copy saves time and reduces the risk of costly author’s corrections later on. Additionally, gather all relevant images, logos (in different formats), and other content assets beforehand to speed up the design process.

*Brownie points if you are a new client to the agency send over your brand guidelines so that the agency can understand your identity, rules and layouts.


Provide Examples and Preferences

Communication is key when working with a design agency. Spend time gathering examples of designs you like (and dislike) to provide the agency with a clear understanding of your preferences. This helps minimise revisions and ensures the final product aligns with your vision.

Setting Clear Deadlines

Time is money, and missed deadlines can result in costly delays. Clearly communicate your project timeline and set realistic deadlines for each stage of the design process. This helps keep the project on track and prevents rushed, last-minute revisions that can drive up costs.

Internal Sign-off and Timely Responses

Involve all relevant stakeholders in the design process from the outset. Ensure that your internal sign-off committee is aware of project timelines and deliverables to avoid delays caused by indecision or unexpected revisions. Additionally, commit to providing timely responses to emails and feedback from the design agency to keep the project moving forward smoothly.

Feedback and Revisions

Clear and timely feedback is crucial for ensuring that the design agency understands your vision and can make necessary revisions efficiently. Provide constructive feedback and be specific about any changes or adjustments you’d like to see. This helps prevent misunderstandings and minimises the need for extensive revisions.

In conclusion, investing time in preparing a thorough design brief can lead to significant time and cost savings throughout the design process. By approving copy, collecting content, providing examples and preferences, setting clear deadlines, involving internal stakeholders, and providing timely feedback, you can streamline your collaboration with a design agency and ensure successful project outcomes.

Remember, preparation is the key to success!

Now you’ve prepped your brief, want to send it to us? Get in touch today!

Nice words – Hydesville Tower School

logo designer in the uk

We were really pleased recently when Sarah Archer, Marketing Manager of independent school Hydesville Tower School agreed to come into the Be Smart offices and tell us what she thought of working with Be Smart on their newsletter design. Not only that but she agreed to do it on video! Thanks Sarah!


“Firstly they’re a lovely company to work with –they really listened to what we wanted and really got it. They then interpreted the brief really well, gave us a product that looked smart, looked good and ultimately a product that our parents actually did enjoy reading.”

Grab our Autumn Newsletter, Smart Talk

online publications staffordshire

It’s all gone conkers!

In our autumn newsletter we talk about a couple of recent projects for Staffordshire’s Firework Extravaganza and the new Awards identity for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, together with a round up of top tips on internal communications for internal comms managers. We’ve even got naughty Darcie Dawg in the mix!

In our Top Tips on Internal Communications, we set down what we’ve learnt from 24 years of working with internal comms managers. This is a series, the first of which is in this issue. If you’d like a copy please email us here.

We still believe that printed newsletters have a big role to play in the world of marketing. Why? Simply because so many people are inundated with emails these days that to receive a well thought out and well designed newsletter in the post in a brightly coloured envelope achieves stand out for the company that send it. It’s a great way to keep your clients informed about what you have been up to as well giving them some useful information to help them in their jobs.

If you are not doing your own company newsletter then you’re missing a trick in both encouraging the loyalty of your existing clients and moving potential new clients from potential to existing. We offer a ‘done for you’ newsletter service where we will create the title of the newsletter, design the mast head, write the copy, artwork and print it for you! If you’re interested in talking to us more about this, please call James Sharman on 01902 797970.

SFRS – Revamped Awards

branding for events uk

Following internal feedback from their colleagues, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) decided to give their team recognition awards a complete overhaul for 2017.

Be Smart Design were asked to create a dynamic and fresh new awards identity and style to really make their team the main focus.

They received many nominations recognising team members for the inspirational work they do on behalf of SFRS and the contribution that they have made to improving the lives and well-being of the communities they serve across Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire.

This is the tenth award ceremony of team recognition awards and it was the perfect opportunity to revamp the whole event which has been the same since it began in 2008.

The new look was designed across posters, letterheads and web banners and has been really well received for its contemporary look and feel.

Essential SEO Quick Check List

printed newsletters in the west midlands

This is an article from our most recent newsletter.

Print this off, grab yourself a coffee and get all of these done at the weekend. Easy peasy, you can start ranking next week!

Page Titles:

Make sure your page titles are unique, don’t repeat words and are relevant to your business.

Bad titles:
Roof tiles, floor tiles, wall tiles
Tiles, ceramic tiles, square tiles, red tiles, blue tiles, plastic tiles, wall treatments, concrete render, wall render.

Google titles:
Wall, floor and roof tiles
Specialist car valeting in Birmingham

Don’t put your company name on the end of every URL unless you separate it from the rest of the text with some kind of delimiter.

This is bad: Wall, floor and roof tiles Shiny Tile Company Ltd

This is good: Wall, floor and roof tiles : Shiny Tile Company Ltd

Although really, there’s no need to have your company name at the end anyway, and certainly never put it at the beginning.

Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions have no effect on ranking, but they are displayed in search results, so go through each page and make sure the descriptions are consise and enticing. They should be like an ‘elevator pitch’ and explain what the page is about in two short sentences.

Meta Keywords
If your page has lots of meta keywords stuffed in there, get rid of them. If you do want keywords in your page, then only have a maximum of maybe fifteen, but seriously, don’t bother with them. If in doubt, take them out, they’re not used for ranking at all.

Pretty URLs
If your page web addresses look like this: www.mywebsite.com/index.php?id=5 Then you need to take action. They should look like this: www.mywebsite.com/about-us or www.mywebsite.com/shop/cameras/nikon. The URL should describe the page you’re on because it aids with navigation and is also a big help to Google.

Sitemaps are like the index to your website, they tell people and search engines where every single page is. Get your XML sitemap done and submit it to Google Search Console. Then, get an HTML sitemap generated. The HTML one is actually preferred by Google, so do that one first. Get one created here: https://www.xml-sitemaps.com

Image descriptions and ‘alt’ text
Make sure the ‘alt’ tag of your images is descriptive and only two or three words long. DO NOT stuff a ton of keywords in there expecting to rank, you won’t. In fact, you’re more likely to end up being knocked out of the search results completely.

Let us know how you get on, all of these tips are pretty easy to implement but if you need any help, give us a call on 01902 797970.