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  • Briefs

    What's the general consensus on how to interpret briefs written by a marketing manager or director etc? I was in a meeting at work where I interpreted the brief incorrectly and got a critised for it. They're briefs for posters. I told them before to lay out the briefs n a simple manner with the key message and the copy in order of importance so i know how to treat it. What I get is the mechanics of the promotion with data in it that doesn't necessarily go into the poster. I was told it was up to me to interpret that information and take out or add what I thought was necessary. Is that not what the marketing manager is supposed to do? I'm new to this line of business we're in and I'm not sure what to take out add. I was hired as a designer not a marketing executive. What are people's thoughts on getting briefs like this as a designer?

  • #2
    I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to your question. It depends on the company, its culture, the marketing person, the designer and the project at hand.

    I oversee both the marketing and creative departments where I work, so my opinions are based on seeing this kind of problem from both sides.

    If your marketing people didn't write a brief that made sense to you, that's as much their fault as yours -- possibly even more their fault given that you explained to them what you'd need ahead of time and they failed to deliver.

    This is a gross generalization with plenty of exceptions, but I've found that many (if not most) marketing executives are a bit clueless and insecure, which translates into a defensive posture that comes across as arrogance. Their ideas are frequently impractical and uncreative, but their insecurity doesn't allow them to show weakness, so they come across as demanding and condescending jerks to peers and butt-kissers to those above them -- especially when challenged or when fault points in their direction.

    Too many designers, on the other hand -- especially newer, less-experienced ones -- seem to think their job is mainly to make things look nice. Again, there are plenty of exceptions, but many new designers fail to see that part of their job is to fully understand the problem, delve into some research and approach the problem from the strategic angle of thinking through and developing workable solutions that achieve client objectives. Instead, their main concerns can often be summed up as making cool-looking stuff.

    So the dynamics that often play themselves out are those of a myopic and arrogant marketer assigning blame when the designer fails to understand how the marketer thinks things should be done. So the designer ends up hating the marketer, and resenting that he or she is expected to understand, think through and solve the bigger problem.

    The picture I've painted isn't always the case, but I've seen this stuff happen over and over again. My suggestion for designers finding themselves in this situation is to get over the mistaken notion that fully understanding the problem isn't their jobs. For that matter, designers can't adequately do their jobs without fully understanding the problems and realizing that aesthetics and designing cool stuff are only useful tactics to be used as needed in a much broader strategy.

    I'd have suggestions for marketers too, but they don't hang out here and are usually too busy sucking up and inflating their egos to listen anyway.


    • #3
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