Working to a Brief
Henry Buckham and Jonah Adshead
Definition- A brief that a media company signs agreeing to complete a specific task within a set period of
time for a set amount of money.
Advantages- Very clear guidelines are provided outlining what your responsibilities are and what your
contractors responsibilities are. This means that if they wish to change anything they must warn you and
can not just change an idea last minute.
Disadvantages- If you do not complete the task in the set time or up to the specification you have been
given in your brief you may face legal action or not pay.
Definition- A formal brief is when the client provides a media company with a brief that informs them what
they want to be made. This is a written document but is not always legally binding.
Advantages- Only contains necessary information needed to complete the brief so provides a clear and
concise description of what a client wants.
Disadvantages- If there is no contract the clients may change something late notice and mean that a lot of
work will go to waste.
Definition- Most likely a verbal agreement outlining what a client wants.
Advantages- Very flexible and allows discussion to be kept open on both sides. There is often no set
deadline, this means that it can be completed to both organisations standards before being published.
Disadvantages- Because there is no contract it can be risky for both the client and the media company as
they could pull out of the partnership or change something meaning some work will have been completed
Definition- This is where two or more companies are hired to work together on a project. If a disagreement
occurs between the different companies a negotiated brief must be compiled to appease all parties.
Advantages- There is the potential for work to be completed much quicker than if there was only one
company working on the project.
Disadvantages- If there is not good communication between the different organisations then there may be
a lot of problems that crop up hindering the progress of the project.
Definition- If a co-operative brief is in place but they have conflicting ideas or a disagreement on an aspect
of the project then a negotiated brief is made. This is a reviewed version of the original designed to
resolve any problems so all parties including the client are happy.
Advantages- Ensures that all organisations are pleased and can continue with the project.
Disadvantages- Means that things must be changed and all organisations and maybe even the client must
Definition- This is when a large media company hires a smaller independent media company to create a
product for them. This product once finished will then be used by the larger company for an external
Advantages- Because it is another media company directing the smaller media company they may have a
better understanding of the industry and things such as how long different tasks take. Because of this the
brief might be better designed.
Disadvantages- If they want to use the product multiple times the larger media company must pay the
company they have employed commission each time they use it.
Definition- A client publishes that they need a product to be made then a company creates a proposal and a
budget before pitching it to the client.
Advantages- The client will have a choice of what company to use as many often pitch to try and secure a
piece of work. The production company pitches their idea and so gets to do things their way if chosen.
Disadvantages- As a production company you will most likely have stiff competition to get the job from
other companies. This means that you are not guaranteed work.
A competition brief is when a single brief is made available to lots of different
companies. They are then competed against each other to complete the project,
and when everyone has produced a final result, they are judged against each
other. The best one will be chosen by the client and they will the only one who will
receive payment from them.
Competition briefs are usually free to enter, so they are quite good for training and
honing skills in a company.
The fact that lots of other companies are competing allows for companies to reflect
upon each other’s work and learn new things, as well as learning from mistakes.
Only the winning company will receive payment. This means that losing companies
will waste money on material costs, wages and hiring.
Which type of brief is being used in the recipe card project? Explain your response.
brief given to us by the Vegetarian Society seems to mainly resemble a formal brief
due to the fact that we were not required to sign a contract to begin production.
This brief is also similar to a competition brief in that many different parties will be
creating a product and at the end it is likely that the best one will be chosen for
the official brand.
It is also vaguely similar to a tender brief in that we will be setting up our own
schedules and funding and then pitching them to the client for review.
Reading the Brief
Why is important to thoroughly read your brief?
It is important to read the brief to make sure that the final product being created follows all of
the guidelines and rules set by the client, including things like style, graphics, font, logos and
pictures. Since it is under contract, not following or disobeying parts of the brief could
possibly result in no payment at the end because it has not been made correctly, and quite
possibly legal action for breaking the terms of the contract, since it is legally binding.
It is also important to read through as the brief will outline the timescale and deadline for the
project. Failure to produce a finished piece within the deadline will likely result in legal
action. The brief will also make note of the allotted funding that the company will receive to
produce it, so it will allow them to plan ahead with their finances, and not end up
overspending on a single aspect and leaving other areas underfunded.
Reading the Brief
What is the nature of the Vegetarian Recipe Cards brief?
The Vegetarian Society has asked in their brief for around 3,500 recipe cards for a series of
vegetarian meals. They would like to see usage of the image on the front and then a branding
strip at the bottom that contains their logo. The back of the card is to feature the recipe,
along with the ingredients, method and call to action such as site links. They would also like
to see recyclable materials used.
What is the demand of the Vegetarian Recipe Cards brief?
The brief states that several wording guidelines must be followed, such as no usage of the degree
symbol when describing temperatures, not numbering ingredients like the method, and using
measurement abbreviations like ‘tsp’ for teaspoon. The client would like to see creative ideas
incorporated in the design as well as a clear theme so the recipe cards are part of a set.
The brief does not offer a specific timeframe of how many team members would be ideal for the
Negotiating a Brief
Why is it important to discuss the brief with your client prior to production?
Discussing a brief before production means that the company that has been hired knows exactly
what they will be undertaking. They will have a chance to address any points that have not
been made clear in the brief itself as well as asking about how far the creative control goes.
They can also raise concerns with the client if certain constraints are too tight, or they can
discuss potential ideas for use in the project.
Discussion also allows the company to find out about legal issues and copyright, and what the
client would or would not like personally. If the company came up with an idea for the layout
that was highly experimental, and not discussed in the brief, they could ask the client about it
and have the chance to use it if it was appealing.
The drawbacks of not discussing with the client could lead to a product that may not match the
brief. This would be a breach of contract and could result in no payment, or even legal action.
Negotiating a Brief
What are the advantages and disadvantages of employing discretion with a brief?
Using discretion in the project allows the company to try new things and add a new spin on the
requested product, incorporating styles, graphics, and layouts that the client might not have
expected. If the brief is quite vague, the company can use this to their advantage and have a
decent amount of creative control, seeking to impress their client via adopting experimental
elements into the design.
However, using discretion should be carefully regulated. Often the discretion can go a little too far
and end up disobeying the brief, which would result in an incorrect product. An example of
this in this project could be adding in meat recipes, when these are intended to be meat-free
recipes. Neglecting to use the Vegetarian Society’s logo or even more severely, using a
different logo will most certainly result in a lack of payment.
Negotiating a Brief
Are there any potential legal/ethical/regulatory issues with the Vegetarian Society brief’s
The most glaring example of an issue within this brief might be the use of meat within its
vegetarian recipes. Vegetarians are sometimes who they are by choice, but some are unable
to eat meat because of health or religious reasons. If there was added meat in one of the
recipes it could potentially cause offence and mistaken eating if not properly noticed. This
could then lead to legal action and damages.
Negotiating a Brief
Amendments you have considered to;
The product that we will be doing may need several adjustments regarding the time scale (if it is
too short for us to work in) and whether or not everything is legal to use. We will likely be
able to use the Vegetarian Society’s logos in our product so we will not need to seek approval
as they have commissioned us.
We will need to keep a close eye to ensure that the money that the client is providing us with will
be enough to complete the product. This will mean setting limits on each field, but if
unavoidable, we may have to ask for more money.
We will need to make sure that we are being paid the correct amount for the task undertaken,
and whether or not the initial fee should be increased or decrease depending on the amount
of work completed and whether external help was used. If this isn’t addressed before we
finish it could prove very difficult to acquire those missing funds due to the contract ending.
What opportunities could this brief allow you to explore? Be specific with your responses. This
brief is quite different to others you have come across and offers lots of new experiences. Check
the unit overview to help you with this.
What we may learn from this project in terms of developing ourselves personally may be along the lines
of confidence, personal management and motivation. We will also become better at timekeeping
as we will be adhering to stricter schedules and in turn this will help motivate us more, in order to
complete everything on time.
Learning new skills
In terms of new skills, in this project we might learn new things like more Photoshop techniques, ways
to align and set up different layouts as well as learning a lot more about how the production
process for a brief works.
Since we will be working in a smaller team we will likely be taking multiple roles each. This will help us
develop our multitasking skills and allow us to juggle several different objectives at once.
Contributing to a brief
This project will likely let us obtain and develop skills that will let us contribute more, especially writing,
developing and creative ideas that build up the final product. This all factors in from the work done
that will allow us to individually improve in each area.