Hewlko - News 28.05.19

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Building an effective project brief and why it's an important first step to any project.

The month of May includes convocation for students across the country and it got me thinking about two key learnings from my college days that I still use today: the importance of a strong process and the project brief as the first step. Over the years I have incorporated workshop style exercises to help extract this type of information from teams; but ultimately, you can do it yourself! It just takes practice and doing this type of upfront work can ensure your project runs smoothly.

Depending on the complexity or style of project, I have developed a few key templates I use. I’ve supplied them as word documents so you can download and adjust based on your specific needs.

Now let’s dive into the various sections and uncover the value of each item in the Project Brief.
Client Information
This one is straightforward. In the early days it was important to gather this type of information from the start so that when I went to design a business card, I had all the correct information ready to go and it saved a few emails.
This section could also be called company history, project outline or background. Basically, we want to have a good understanding of your company history right through to where you are at today. Describe your business's evolution. It might seem redundant or dry to you, but your creative team may see an opportunity.
Mission Statement
This is what you do, who you do it for and why you do it better than anyone else. This could also be called a brand model and could take years of work to develop and change overtime. But no matter what size of business you are, getting clear on your “why” is important as it should be reflected through all brand touch points.
Simon Sinek does an excellent job of explaining this here.
Core Values
These are terms that you hope people use to describe you. They communicate what you believe in as a company, articulate what you stand for and ultimately attract customers and employees that share these values.
This article goes deeper into this topic and has a worksheet you can use to develop your own.
Target Audience(s)
Write a detailed persona for your ideal client that covers demographic information, attitudes, behaviours, values and needs. You may have one key service and audience or you might provide multiple services each with a different audience. This type of information is helpful when creating the design and choosing the platform that works best. For example, if you have an older audience, you should consider using 9pt font or larger and adjust your communication channels to where your target audience lives. Again, this is a pretty large piece, but even having a starting point can be very helpful.
This article can help you get started.
You might have one service or many complementary services. One might generate more revenue while another might present the best opportunity for growth. List them all – the more detailed the better.

Project Goals
Setting clear project goals can help your team provide the best solutions. These goals can also help you understand if the project was successful and if it didn’t reach its goals you can unpack why and plan better in the future.

Scope and Budget
Include all deliverable items and agreed upon budget for the list. Get as detailed as possible here, including the amount of revisions you anticipate so that if the project goes over hours you can adjust accordingly knowing exactly where the additional hours came in.

Timeline and Review Dates
Even if you do a good job at creating a workback schedule for your project, dates may shift, and deadlines can be extended. But, both sides agreeing to manage their own deliverables helps each party take responsibility for keeping the project moving in a timely manner.
Develop the project brief with your internal and external teams, allow for their input and revisions to ensure everyone has buy-in and a clear understanding of the project before they start working. Finally, have all parties review and sign-off on an agreed upon brief. From here I recommend including the scope in a contract with a payment schedule. 

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Q&A with Tori English

This month's Q&A features a recent graduate of the Alberta University of the Arts, Tori English. Tori takes us through her journey on the way to becoming a professional Graphic Designer and Illustrator.


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Photoshoot with Steve Whittingon

This image was taken in Studio 1130 by photography team Jager Kokemor. This image is part of a package of assets created for my mentor Steve Whittington whose new book “Thriving in the Customer Age” is coming out this July!