STEM companies engage with a creative agency for a range of services. From events collateral and marketing assets to brand identity design, pitch presentation decks and scientific or technical illustrations. An important and crucial part of this partnership is the briefing stage. Turning the requirements into an agreed and clear plan that gets signed off by all key stakeholders. A design brief gives much-needed structure to the project and provides a start and end point to measure the intention and outcome. The briefing process takes place in all industries but what makes briefing a STEM design agency different is their knowledge and expertise. In this blog, we will look at how to brief a STEM design agency.
What to include in a design brief for a STEM company
1. Define the project goal
When thinking about the project goal, start with the intention behind it. Why is the company investing in this project? For example, there are many reasons why our clients in biosciences, tech and engineering rebrand. One reason why STEM businesses come to us for a new logo and brand visual identity is because they are growing fast, and need a professional set of in-house collateral to communicate that.
Next, think about what the company wants to achieve from the results. Perhaps it’s to win investment for a new pharmaceutical or device or generate brand awareness at a biotech trade show. It could be to convey one key benefit to the target market backed up by proof points.
2. Share a thorough brand overview
Provide an overview of the brand to allow the design agency to get a good understanding of the business’s mission, values, products or services, messaging, and unique selling points which all influence a design project.
The design agency will then complete a deeper dive into the client’s industry and market. Working with a STEM design agency with experience in the same sector makes this stage of the design brief smooth and insightful rather than stressful and repetitive.
3. Target audience
Gather the information available about the target audience for the outcome of this project. Relevant information might include age, gender, habits, preferences, and needs. What are some key customer pain points that the product or service solves? For example, the current corporate collateral might look unprofessional and it needs to exude confidence and be sleek for an upcoming investment pitch.
4. Carry out STEM competitor analysis
Note down what competitors are doing will give insights into the customer’s expectations and help to identify what makes the business unique. From a design perspective, competitor information gives the design agency the ability to read the visual landscape of the industry in terms of brand trends, colour palettes, graphic devices and imagery for example.
Competitor analysis is a key component of a design brief. Provide the agency with a list of direct and indirect competitors so that they can get to work on investigating what the competition’s strengths and weaknesses are. The design team may also be able to spot gaps in the market.
5. Establish the project scope with the STEM design agency
Clearly define what the design agency will deliver. List out the required assets like illustrations, wireframes, mockups, or print-outs for example. Design agencies may charge extra or flat out decline any work that is out of project scope in order to stick to the timeline and budget.
When looking at the project scope it is also a good idea to be clear about who is involved in the project. Who are the stakeholders and who is responsible for providing sign-offs? This will help the project stay on track and provide all those involved with clear roles and responsibilities.
6. Specify the branding guidelines
What already exists in terms of the brand? Unless the project is a complete rebrand, the design agency will have to navigate the existing brand style with authenticity. Supply the design agency with brand guidelines including brand assets, logo, colour palette, brand voice and tone, typography and visual identity.
7. Formalise the schedule and budget
The schedule and budget are essential aspects of any project. Both parties must agree on the budget from the start, as the budget dictates the work that will be done. The design agency will give a breakdown of the budget for each service provided. In terms of who is responsible for the schedule and budget, see it as an equal relationship between the design agency and the company. Both will have control over certain timelines such as providing feedback – all of which impact spending.
How to deliver a STEM design brief
The project briefing stage should be collaborative. Deliver the brief to the STEM design agency so that they can keep asking questions, and explore the business, market and goals at different levels. Doing so will allow the client to feel guided, comfortable and with clear expectations of what lies ahead. Ensure communication is open and clear whether through online calls, in-person meetings or email correspondence.
If you work for a brand in Bioscience, Tech or Engineering and would like to have a no-obligation chat about your design project, please get in touch.