How to Write the Best Creative Briefs For Design Agencies


Creating standout packaging design begins with learning how to write the best creative briefs for agencies. As a brand owner or brand marketer in the premium spirits sector, it’s crucial to articulate your needs and expectations clearly to your design agency. This guide will help you craft creative briefs that ensure your packaging not only looks great but also aligns perfectly with your brand’s goals and values.

Understanding the Importance of Creative Briefs


Creative briefs are foundational documents that communicate the vision and requirements of a packaging design project. They play a critical role in ensuring that everyone involved—whether it’s your marketing team or your chosen agency—understands what needs to be achieved. Effective creative briefs lead to focused creative efforts and packaging that effectively communicates your brand’s message.

Preliminary Research Before Writing Creative Briefs

  • Admired Competitive Brands: Take a close look at the leaders in your market to understand what sets their packaging apart. Analyze their design choices—colors, fonts, layout, and materials. What emotional responses do these elements provoke in consumers? This evaluation will not only offer insights into successful strategies but will also help you identify opportunities where your packaging can differentiate itself and capture attention.


  • Brand Personality: This aspect of your research involves defining the emotional and psychological traits you want associated with your brand, such as sophistication, elegance, or reliability. Your branding and packaging design should communicate these traits visually and textually, creating a consistent experience that reinforces the brand’s personality at every consumer touchpoint.


  • Tone of Voice and Communication Strategy: Define your brand’s tone—whether it’s professional, refined, authoritative, or inviting—and ensure it’s reflected in the packaging. This influences the choice of words and style on the packaging, aligning with your core messages, whether they focus on craftsmanship, luxury, or heritage. Consistent communication helps the design resonate emotionally with consumers, reinforcing the brand’s identity.


  • Brand Values and Benefits: Clearly identify what your brand stands for and the practical benefits it offers to consumers. For instance, if your product is a premium spirit, the packaging should reflect this through high-quality materials and sophisticated design. Packaging that aligns well with your values and communicates benefits effectively will resonate more deeply with your target audience.


  • Brand Essence and Proposition: Your brand’s essence is its fundamental nature that distinguishes it from competitors. It’s what your brand stands for at its core. Distilling this into a clear proposition will guide the design team in creating packaging that embodies these qualities and communicates your unique selling proposition (USP) clearly and compellingly.


  • Brand Challenges and Targets: Identify any specific challenges your brand faces in the market, such as competitive saturation or evolving consumer preferences. Define clear targets for what the packaging design needs to achieve—increasing shelf visibility, enhancing user experience, or repositioning the brand, for instance. This focus will help the design team address these challenges creatively.

  • Brand Partners: Consider any existing partnerships that might influence your packaging design. For example, if your brand is collaborating with a well-known figure or another brand, elements of their brand may need to be incorporated into your packaging design. This can include logos, color schemes, or other brand identifiers that need to be aligned between the partners.

Crafting the Best Creative Briefs

  • Background & Objective: Start with a clear statement of why this design project is necessary—what business goals it aims to support, such as entering a new market or launching a new product. Describe what success looks like for the project and how it aligns with broader business objectives. This clarity helps the design team understand the importance of the project and focus their creative efforts accordingly.


  • Competitive Analysis: Provide a detailed look at your market’s landscape. Who are your main competitors, and how are their packaging designs performing? What gaps can your packaging fill? Also, consider how your budget might restrict or expand your options. This analysis will help your agency find strategic ways to make your packaging stand out in a crowded marketplace.


  • Insights: Share specific insights that can drive the packaging design. This might include consumer behavior studies, market trends, or feedback from previous packaging designs. These insights help the design team create a package that not only looks good but also appeals directly to your target consumer’s needs and desires.


  • Proposition: Clearly articulate the USP of your product. This is the main message that your packaging needs to communicate at first glance. It should be simple, memorable, and appealing. Make sure that this proposition is clearly understood in the brief so that it can be effectively translated into the design.


  • Mood Board: Including mood boards in your creative brief is essential for conveying the aesthetic and emotional vibe you envision for your packaging. These boards combine images, color palettes, typography, and other visual inspirations that define the desired look and feel. Providing these visual references allows you to set a clear direction while fostering creativity within defined parameters. This ensures that the design team fully understands your vision and can translate it effectively into the final packaging design.


  • Mandatories: Outline any specific requirements that the packaging must meet. This includes practical details such as bottle volume, production quantities, as well as brand elements like logos, official colors, and fonts. These mandatories ensure compliance with legal and brand guidelines and maintain consistency across product lines.

  • Production Budget and Timeline: The best creative briefs clearly specify the budget allocated for the packaging design and the timeline for the project’s completion. Understanding these constraints helps the design team manage resources effectively and plan the project phases to meet deadlines without compromising the quality of the final design.

Tips for Writing Creative Briefs Effectively

Write your briefs clearly and concisely to avoid confusion and ensure all key points are easy to understand. Provide precise information but remain open to creative interpretations. Avoid using too much technical jargon, and instead, use clear, straightforward language to ensure your brief is accessible to everyone involved in the project.


Mastering how to write the best creative briefs is essential for achieving successful packaging designs that resonate with your audience and fulfill strategic brand objectives. By investing time in crafting detailed and thoughtful briefs, you facilitate a smoother design process and enhance your packaging’s impact in the marketplace.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When crafting your creative brief, even the most diligent brand managers can encounter pitfalls. Being aware of these common errors can help you create a more effective brief:

  • Being Vague: Clarity is key when writing a creative brief. Avoid generalities and be specific about what you want. Ambiguities in the brief can lead to designs that don’t meet your expectations. Specify colors, tones, styles, and any other details to ensure the design aligns with your vision.

  • Conflicting Ideas: It’s crucial to maintain a consistent message throughout your brief. Contradictory instructions can lead to confusion and dilute the effectiveness of your design. Review your brief multiple times to ensure that all parts are harmonious and support a unified brand message.

  • Not Enough Info: The depth of information you provide directly impacts the quality of the design. Include detailed insights about your brand, target market, and competitive landscape. The more context you give, the better equipped your designers will be to create something truly aligned with your brand’s needs.

  • Off-brand Ideas: Every element requested in the brief should reinforce your brand identity. Requests that deviate from your established brand personality or values can result in a design that feels disjointed or off-mark. Ensure that all suggestions are on-brand and contribute to a cohesive brand narrative.

Ready to start your next packaging design project?

Simplify the process with our free downloadable design brief template. This template is designed to help you capture all the essential elements, ensuring your creative brief is thorough and effective. Download it now and set the stage for a design that truly represents your brand!

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