Working to a Brief
Aby Jones and Shania Carter
A media company signs an agreement to complete a set task from the client, the media
company is given a set time and a set fee. The brief would explain either in exact detail
what the client wishes to include in the product or minimal detail that could be
expanded on by the client – thoroughly reading the brief gives the media company an
idea of what they are able to do and what they can’t do. An example of a contractual
brief is: if a client wanted a design created for a products packaging, they would employ
a media company and use a contractual brief to tell them exactly what they need.
• The product is guaranteed to be completed by a certain time and date
• Legally binding – contract, the client and the company both have to stick to the brief
• Breach of contract – if the company are unable to produce the product on time, this
would be the end result.
• The company may not be able to show their full expertise due to the client being
This is a written document – an agreement on paper. The client provides a brief that
explains exactly what they want for the product, the brief contains only the
necessary, simple information that the media company needs to complete the
product – all of the parties involved, the client and the company, formally agree by
signing a written document that legally binds them to the project with the briefs
• All of the necessary information, no random add-ons
• Can be written on paper and used for future reference i.e. a court case
• Not always legally binding
• Media company cant express their capabilities – to possibly appeal to other clients
This can be risky, it’s a verbal agreement, there is no written documents. What
happens is, the company and the client discuss the project and what it’s going to
involve, then agree on it, because it’s an informal agreement, there may not be a
• There is sometimes no set deadline – it doesn’t matter when they complete the
product as long as it gets completed.
• The client could discuss with the media company exactly what they are wanting
• There is sometimes no set deadline – the media company could drag out the
production process for a long time – could cost the client.
• The client could pay the company more than it needs to
This is where two or more companies are hired by a client to work to one specific
brief, the companies are expected to work together, to the brief, to get the product
completed and created, if during the production there is a disagreement, both
companies would have to compromise by using a negotiated brief.
• If there is a disagreement, it’s easily resolved
• The product could be created quicker by putting the two companies together
• Disagreements as a whole – the idea that they can change some aspects simply
because they don’t agree – doesn’t seem very professional.
This is very similar to the co-operative brief, it’s definitely linked to it, when the two or
more companies disagree with something on the brief, this is what they have to
agree on. Through this brief certain aspects – i.e. visual style, content etc. - would
be changed in order to make each company happy and also the client as long as
these changed aspects are within legal and ethical boundaries.
• Disputes between the companies is settled quickly, effectively and easily
• The client is involved – as long as they are happy with the companies ideas, it’s
• There may be further ruckus between the two companies
• The companies just don’t get along – could be rivals
This is where a large media group hire a smaller or independent company to help create the
product. The smaller company may not benefit as much as the larger one as the larger
company has more ownership over the product that is created. the smaller company is
paid and does benefit from the product, for example: with film, the company that is
hired to create the effects or even the actors are not paid as much as the actual
production company is, however, they still benefit once the product is
• The smaller company still benefits from the product – once sales begin
• The larger company benefits heavily from the product once sales begin
• If the product doesn’t sell, both companies will be affected, the larger company even
• The commissioners i.e. producers get most of the trouble – have to pay out the money,
take the blame for the failure.
The client publishes the brief with the desired product so that various media
companies will see it and will pitch for it – they do this by creating an estimated
budget and a proposal that they will give to the client. The client then decides on
which production companies proposal was the best and offers the project to
whichever company that they find more appealing.
• They make sure they get the best production/media company
• Gets the client attention from various media companies that may come back and
attempt to pitch for the idea again.
• The client could end up getting a production company that lied to them – offering
them this great success when in fact they could be, for example, terrible at
The brief is published and made available to various kinds of production companies –i.e.
magazines, internet pages etc. – each company completes the brief and send the end
product off to be judged by the client. The best completed project is awarded and the
product is then published – these are often free to enter competitions that anyone,
even the general public, can submit to.
• The client pays the winning company
• It’s free to enter – doesn’t cost the client anything until one company wins
• The client doesn’t have to pay the winning company – depending on the quality of the
• Sometimes the judging is flawed as – if for example it’s by the general public – people
can get their peers to vote for their product to win, even if the product isn’t actually
Which type of brief is being used in the recipe card project? Explain your response.
The brief that we, as a company, have been given is definitely a formal brief - it has
very specific demands on how they want the cards to be presented and what to
include on them, the only leniency we have is: finding our own vegetarian recipe,
designing our own theme and taking our own pictures. Another thing that makes it
seem like a formal brief is the fact that it’s written on paper, it’s a written
agreement signed to our company and it only includes the necessary information
on what needs to be included in the project.
It could also be seen as a commission brief as it’s a larger company, The Vegetarian
Society hiring us, a smaller media company to design a product for them –
however it does seem more like a formal brief.
Reading the Brief
Why is important to thoroughly read your brief?
Its important to thoroughly read any brief because a company needs to make sure they fully
understand the terms and conditions, this means knowing the nature (what is being asked,
what is expected, the deadline, what ingredients/equipment etc.) and demands (time
constraints/personnel/equipment etc.) of the product.
It is also important because if there is any problems with the brief, any alterations to make or
discuss it can be addressed and sorted whereas if it was an informal brief, it’s just discussed
rather than written down, so anything that can be disagreed with could be forgotten during
the progression of the conversation.
Reading the Brief
What is the nature of the Vegetarian Recipe Cards brief?
The Vegetarian Society has asked for: high quality images of food on the front of the card along with the
title, methods and ingredients to go on the back of the card, our company needs to use recycled
paper and vegetable inks, we need to use a fully biodegradable laminate or something cheaper yet
sturdy to cover the cards, the card needs to be interesting and creative, the designs go on the front
and back of the card and need to be similar and easily distinguishable throughout the collection,
this can be based on a certain ingredient in the chosen dishes or the famous cultural food of a
The cards should be aimed at either: people wanting to become vegetarian (easy recipes, easy step by
step guide) or people who have been a vegetarian for a long time who are wanting new and
exciting recipes to add to their diet (complex recipes and step by step guide) it should also include
at least once recipe for vegans.
What is the demand of the Vegetarian Recipe Cards brief?
The demands are very similar to the nature of the brief, it’s the things that we definitely need to make
this project work, this includes: the deadline, the personnel (crew members, specialists, experts,
photographers, models etc.), a schedule, the photographs and equipment (tripod, camera, props,
makeup, costumes etc.). The demands tell us exactly what we need, it lets us get things prepared so
that the project runs smoothly, quickly and effectively so that we definitely hit the deadline.
Negotiating a Brief
Why is it important to discuss the brief with your client prior to production?
It’s important to meet the client and discuss the brief, this means that we can get a full
understanding of the specific needs/demands, raise concerns and offer ideas to make the
brief needs better for everyone. It also gives us the opportunity to show our expertise, for
example: the client might not know exactly what they’re wanting, design wise and they might
not have made it clear enough in the brief, meeting up and negotiating the brief with them
means that we completely understand anything that we found slightly strange or not clear –
this could include problems to do with audio, for example, there may be copyright issues and
we may have to make the client aware of how much they need to pay, what they need to do
to be able to use that particular audio track or give them an alternative.
Another important fact about negotiating a brief is, if we don’t understand a particular part of
the brief and we decide to go off on a tangent and improvise, then the client isn’t happy with
it – then we won’t end up getting paid for our efforts. It’s very, very important that
everything on the brief is clear and that we completely, one hundred and ten per cent
Negotiating a Brief
What are the advantages and disadvantages of employing discretion with a brief?
Some of the advantages of employing discretion within a brief are:
• It encourages creativity from our company
• It gives our company a chance to show our expertise – possibly entice other companies to
• There is a certain amount of freedom
• Good communication between company and client
Some of the disadvantages of employing discretion within a brief are:
• Could encourage the employee to become a little too creative
• They could go off on a tangent – not follow the brief
• They could get carried away and include meat or non-vegetarian substances when dealing
Negotiating a Brief
Are there any potential legal/ethical/regulatory issues with the Vegetarian Society brief’s
There are no legal/ethical/regulatory issues as such within the brief, however there are certain
ethical issues that I would need to be aware of: making sure that I do not add any meat
products or none vegetarian/vegan ingredients in to my final products to ensure that the
Vegetarian Society are pleased with my end result. This is to conform to the Vegetarian
Society’s regulations and the ideals of vegetarians and vegans alike.
“In many societies, controversy and debate have arisen over the ethics of eating animals. The
fundamental ethical objection to meat eating is that for most people living in the
developed world it is not necessary for their survival or health; hence, it is concluded,
slaying animals just because people like the taste of meat is wrong and morally
Negotiating a Brief
Amendments you have considered to;
I’d have to take in to consideration the aspects of the project that might have to change during the
production process, depending on how the cooked product turns out – we may have to switch to
using professional sourced images from the internet, we may have to change the time scale on
some parts of the project, this could mean slightly altering the schedule in order to effectively fit
things in, this could also mean making a contingency plan or an extra schedule altogether.
Hypothetically speaking, the only few changes that could be made here is the client putting money
towards the project if we begin to struggle with self-financing, especially if the product is going
well, we might also have to change the project locations which could alter our set budget,
depending on where the change could be quite dramatic, making us then turn to our client for help
– also if the client demands something more i.e. ingredients, there would have to be a compromise
about how much money the client and the company should contribute to the project.
the terms and conditions are important within a brief. The conditions of the brief can be changed
payment wise. The client maybe unhappy with the standard of the work produced by the company,
so the payment agreed within the brief at the start of the project could increase or decrease. If the
contract has been signed and changes are wanting to be made, it may be difficult for the company
to ask for an increase in payment.
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.
This brief allows me to explore my creativity skills, looking back on previous work and comments such
as my Graphic Narrative, it’s been brought up a few times about my creativity within units – this will
allow me to use this skill effectively within the brief’s guidelines and help to improve it. I will also
be able to learn new skills and tools during post production in Photoshop when editing the pictures
of the food, the whole vegetarian side of the project will help me have a more open mind when it
comes to generating food based ideas and in the future I can use my new abilities as reference to
Learning new skills
I will learn how to effectively create and advertise food based products, learn more tools and improve
my skills with Photoshopping images, I will also be improving my contribution to the task as I will be
cooking and photographing the recipes that I have chosen which in turn, will also improve my
cooking and photography skills.
Over the progress of the project, I will learn to complete more than one task over the course of one day
rather than one task per-day which will make the progression of the project a lot quicker.