Freedom or Instruction: which is best for a balanced brief?

Freedom or Instruction: which is best for a balanced brief?

Hiring the services of a Design Studio is one of the best ways to consolidate your brand and set it up for a long and fruitful future. While working with your design team, it is likely that you will fall into one of two categories. Either you will provide a set of unwavering, detailed guidelines or you will hand the reins over to your designer, giving them the license to build your brand from their knowledge of the industry.

Which is the better approach? Complete freedom or rigid instruction? Let’s have a look at each in detail.


Designers crave creative freedom. Ask any designer; they need to research, thought-bubble and explore all the options to be able to create a truly memorable branding piece. A designer with an open brief is like a dog with a bone. They’ll run around with it in the backyard, gleefully celebrating the endless opportunities this brand might become. They’ve got free reign to design anything; this is when their minds go into overdrive. Without some guidelines, a designer will often get lost exploring the ether. After all, this is what the creative mind is programmed to do; explore the possibilities to their limits. So without these briefing limitations, a brand can often get off track.


Many business owners have done it their own way since they first became entrepreneurs. And why wouldn’t they? They know their industry inside out. They will have a set way of running operations. Both of which have got them to a point where they can afford to build or restructure their business branding. This level of confidence can often become a brands’ undoing. Too much control or reliance on suggestions from a committee will strangle the creativity of the designer and ruin the potential of having a truly unique identity.

So the answer is… both! Despite all Graphic Designers’ ‘horror stories’ involving overcontrolling clients messing up their ‘perfect work’ with uninformed suggestions and tight deadlines, they would get lost without direction. It’s important to have a balanced mix of creative freedom and client-led industry insight to create a watertight brief and a resulting beautifully branded identity.

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