The Conversion Chronicles, resources for improving your online conversion rates

Don't Know Where To Start Writing A Creative Brief?

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Everyday I am asked to look at some struggling project or web site to see if I have ideas for making it better. And after hundreds, if not thousands, of these requests I've found that one thing unifies them all: no creative brief.

If you know me at all, you know that I harp on this issue all of the time. Creative Briefs are the best way to make sure that the outcome of your project is what you intended it to be. It gives the team a clear picture of what you're trying to build, who you're talking to and what they need to accomplish. You would never, never, never build a house without a blueprint - and you should never, never, never build a s
ite without a creative brief.

But what happens when you're not confident enough to write that initial brief? Or you don't know what words to use? Or you're working with a team on the other side of the world and you want to make sure they understand what you mean when you say rustic-elegance?

First, you should know that you're not alone. Sometimes I am in those shoes myself. Despite the savantness you often tease me about, or as my friend Keith calls it "the encyclopedia brown gene", I don't always have the answer. Sometimes I get stuck, frustrated, and utterly unmotivated to face the big blank sheet of paper titled "creative brief".

So here's what I do... I get out my scissors and glue sticks and a sheet of tag board and a big stack of magazines, books, catalogs, newspapers, junk mail, anything that grabs my fancy. Then I start cutting out, or photocopying, things that match the vibe I am going for.

Maybe things someone who would buy my product might also buy.
Places they might live.
Things they might read.
Or ads, products or designs that match the mood or style I am after.

Even things I definintely DON'T want can be added to the mix.

I create an inspiration board that helps me to clarify my own ideas about the direction. This process starts to spark ideas, and provides visuals that can help me better communicate my ideas & goals.

You can also do this online - copying images and urls into a Word document.

Bottom line - it gets the creative energy flowing. Keeps me from staring at a blank sheet of paper and helps me to process my gut ideas. It's just one of the techniques available to you when you're stuck. And it works!

Let's take rustic cabin for example. What do you think of when I say that?

This kind of rustic?

or this kind of rustic?

I can build you a site that matches either of these two inspirations, but without a creative brief how will I know for sure which you were after? So stop procrastinating and get out the glue sticks!
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Kimberly CarrollAuthor: Kimberly Carroll, Creative Director

Kimberly is a creative director, information architect and web developer who has driven more than 200 million dollars in online revenue, using her triple threat of business strategy, technology and design. For more fresh, savvy wisdom or to get in touch, head to her blog: