WRITING A DESIGN BRIEF
Writing a design brief, is a first communication step for an architect. It is a tool that helps him/her understand the client's intent and requirements.
"A good brief, like any good document, is the foundation of success. In formulating a good brief, you empower your designer to do what they do best with the potential to deliver a project quite literally beyond your comprehension"- Paul Hindes, Soul Space Building Designer
Technically, the design brief is a document submitted by client stating his/her desires, requirements, understanding, budget, time constraints, etc. to help designer understand the client's expectations. We know that our clients who are unaware of the design process, are unable to put everything on the paper clearly and those who are aware, most often do not have time for it.
Only Govt. or corporate firms may supply you with design brief in formally as part of a contract document. But as a start up firm, your clientele may comprise individuals, small firms or a groups of organisations. They may not provide you with a full set of formal design brief but may only briefly explain you their requirements and expect you to understand the rest.
Often, the young architects are over excited when they see a prospect turn into a client and are in a hurry to close the deal. They tend to avoid asking many questions to prepare a detailed design brief, thinking it may scare the client. But my experience says that such an attitude does more harm later to both the architect as well as the client as misunderstandings and high expectations arise over the period.
Thus, sparing some time and asking pertinent questions to the client in the beginning not only saves you many hurdles later but also sets a good impression on most clients as it shows how thorough and professional you are. Prepare an initial design brief and discuss with the client to confirm that what you have understood so far. After discussion make the necessary changes and prepare a final design brief, which will be used as a reference document in your contract.
I see the design brief as a 'statement of problems and your design proposal will be the solution for those problems'.
From my experience as an architect in last 40 years, I have created a TEMPLATE that consists of pertinent questions that you can customize according to your project and use it next time you meet a new client. You can view or download this template here: