Essentials to Include in Your Design Brief to get the Most From Your Merchandise Supplier

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You’ve been speaking to a number of branded merchandise and clothing suppliers about a specific project,  yet they aren’t giving you exactly what you need. The easiest way to get what you really want from a supplier is to write a design brief. Include all of the project essentials to communicate your vision. A brief is a valuable tool for those both inside and outside your organisation.

Writing a design brief can be tough, and explaining your vision to an outsider who doesn’t eat, sleep, and breathe your brand can be even tougher. You can tell your supplier what it is you are looking for over an initial conversation but you could be leaving yourself open to a little too much interpretation. A strong project brief will make sure everyone is on the same page and leave a lot less room for error. 

A good design brief will define your creative requirements, messaging, and audience as well as what you hope to achieve. A good brief also lets you evaluate the supplier themselves. Are they the right ones for you? It’s a big question and one that you want to answer before you invest any money. Once you have your brief you can run it past internal stakeholders, and make sure it all makes sense before you take it to the next step- outside suppliers!

In this blog, we’ll explore 4 essential things to include in your creative brief to get the most from your merchandise supplier.

1. Essential Elements

First and foremost you need to include your essential information. Take a look at the below list of ‘must-haves’ to have in your design brief. What is it that you want? This sounds like a daft question, but any ambiguity can result in wasted time and money. 

  • Target Audience – Who do you want to engage with?
  • Goals and Objectives – what do you want them to think, feel and do? Is this to wow some prospects? Or are you hoping to engage with your workforce?
  • Budget – if this goes really well, what is it worth to you?
  • Messaging / Look / Tone – Is the style to be trendy or formal, for example?
  • Timeline – Is there a deadline date (this may change your range of choices)?
  • Who are the key stakeholders – Who decides what success looks like on this project? How will you measure the project’s success and what do you need to do to assure them?

Once you’ve answered a short list of essential information your brief will really start to take shape and the supplier that you’re briefing can take this information and ensure they’re able to meet your needs too. Once they know your target audience they can start to consider products that might fit, knowing your budget is crucial to finding the right products as there is such a wide range, and knowing your deadline, of course, means they can ensure they can deliver right on time.

2. Supply Your Brand Guidelines

Supply us with your brand guidelines and you’ll already be off to a great start. You’ll be amazed at what a design team can do when they have all of your brand information at their disposal.

Brand guidelines allow a supplier to tailor the project to your own specific brand and ensure you’ll get your merchandise or clothing signed off by your (understandably) strict brand and marketing team.

3. Outline Your Expectations

Within your design brief, it is important to outline what you hope to gain from this process. This helps the branded product supplier know whether they deliver your vision but also helps you decide whether a supplier is going to work for you too.

Other crucial questions to ask yourself are How are you measuring success? Or What does success look like for you? In your brief define the business need for this project and what the investment in branded products will help you achieve. During the process of setting goals, make sure they are measurable so you can clearly see if you’ve met them when you look back. For example, you might want to encourage 100 new contacts at a trade show to make an inquiry.

Check what print quality is possible too. A branded merchandise supplier will be able to advise you whether the detail in your brand or the colours you want to use is suitable for the chosen materials so make sure you ask their opinion.

4. Evaluate

The final important step, after you’ve given your brief to your chosen suppliers, is to evaluate their proposals. Now is the time to really look at what each supplier has given you and pick who has understood your brief best and who is going to execute your vision. 

You want to consider who has answered the points in your brief best, which one really ‘gets’ your brand? Can you afford them? Who has the best long-term solution?  How much risk is involved? Can you trust your chosen supplier as well as whether they are a comfortable fit for your business and values? 

By giving suppliers the best brief you can allow them to help you which will in turn have the best return on investment for your brand. When it comes to writing a design brief the more information you can give the better. 

At Streamline our sales team works closely with our in-house design team to create the perfect branded merchandise, clothing, and print for your project. The more information you can provide us with the better! We are committed to helping you create the perfect branded products to accompany your project contact us to start a discussion today.

Read more on how a good brief can help your brand stand out from the crowd here.