the digital design blog

Design Briefs

Before you begin using the software for your major project you need to understand how to put together a design brief. Here is an example from a previous student:


Once you have completed the design brief you then start sketching in your visual diary. Please check the diaries provided so you get an idea of what is expected.

Once you’ve completed the brief, sketches and evidence of research then you should start working on your chosen software. All of this work is marked. Not just your overall design.

When you have finished your project you then have to write a research essay of 1,000 words.

cad evaluation
Major Assessment Project

Here is an example of an essay that got an EA. This is the sort of standard you need in order to get a high mark on this essay. Please note: this is from TQA level 3 and the essay is 1500 words. Your essay only needs to be 1,000.

design essay

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How to do a design brief

Here is how to create a design brief. You need to complete this process and hand in with your major assignment. Have a read through it and ask me questions if you are confused.

design brief

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Digital Media Year 10

1/ For those of you in the class that are doing gaming in Flash you are going to start a project on creating a game for an IOS device. The course is here:

You will need to download the exercise files that accompany this course.

2/ For those  of you who wish to continue with Photoshop you can do this course:

You will also need to get the exercise files from me.

3/ For those of you who would like to do video editing and special effects you can start with this course:

You will need to get the exercise files from me.

You will be working on this all term. By the end of the term you will have a finished product for assessment.

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major project hours and study areas

The purpose of the extended design project is to choose a computer graphics area of specialisation  and using the design  process successfully  produce a product choosing  the appropriate  software  techniques  and processes  that the disciple uses.

Some of the specialised areas may include:

•    Architecture

•    Engineering

•    Product design

•    Industrial design

•    2D or 3D graphics

•    2D or 3D animation

•    Creative computer graphics

•    Graphics for film and television

•    Game development and design

•    Web design

•    Graphic Design

•    Fashion Design.

Using computer generated graphics, or digital content, in a specialised area, each student will undertake a 30 hour major research project.

This project will be externally assessed and needs to be presented in a format that suits the requirements of the area of specialisation.

As part of the Major Research Project, students are expected to:

• provide a clear, concise design brief describing the full nature and limitations of the project

• follow a structured design process

• prepare a presentation and written analysis for external assessment

• use contemporary design methods in the presentation of the project.

You must include:

  • Design Concept
  • Design Brief
  • Sketches in Visual Diary
  • Completion of Design Concept
  • Evaluation
  • 1000 Word Research Essay

All work must be annotated with screen shots throughout. Your design must match the sketch and screen shots so that proof of your design concept and research is evident. Your research can include:

Digital Images
Magazine/newspaper articles
Websites (with URL links shown)
Sketches and Design Ideas

What is a design brief?

There are a number of basic parts that any good design brief includes.

A comprehensive, detailed brief becomes the guiding document for the entire design process, and spells out exactly what you, as the designer, need to do, and the constraints within which you need to do it.

In this article we’ll examine the basics needed for a great design brief which should help ease your design work and avoid any problems with your clients.

Here are the most basic parts of a design brief:

  1. Objectives and Goals of the new design
  2. Budget and Schedule
  3. Target Audience
  4. Scope of the Project
  5. Available Materials/Needed Materials
  6. Overall Style/Look
  7. Any Definite “Do Nots”

The first thing you need to find out is what your client wants from their new design. Is this a redesign or reworking of an existing site, or is it a completely new design? Do they already have solid ideas for what they want their site to do or are their ideas more vague?

Getting your clients to nail down what their site goals are is important to creating a design that they’ll be satisfied with. After all, you’ll approach a design that’s meant to raise awareness or educated differently from one that’s meant to specifically sell a product or service.

2. Budget and Schedule

Budget can be a touchy subject for some clients. A lot of clients feel like if they share their budget with you before you give them a quote, you’ll overcharge them or charge them the maximum amount for the least amount of money.

What clients don’t often understand is that by knowing ahead of time what kind of budget they have to work with, you can tailor your services to give them the most benefit for their money. This is the part you need to stress to your clients, and be prepared to meet some resistance.

Schedule is almost as important as budget. Some clients have no idea how long it takes to design a great website. They don’t understand that good design takes time, and that it’s not just a matter of creating a pretty picture.

Sometimes clients have certain deadlines that they want to meet, because of events happening with their company or industry. They might have an upcoming product launch or trade show and want their new site ready for it. It’s important to find out why they want things to fit within a certain schedule and whether that schedule is flexible or not.

Be realistic with your clients about both their budget and schedule needs. If you know you can’t do something within a certain budget or schedule, tell them up front. Offer alternative solutions, if possible. You may find that by working with them and within the restrictions they have, you form a better working relationship and plenty of repeat and referral business.

3. Target Audience

Who are your clients trying to reach? A website designed for teenagers is going to look and work a bit differently than one designed for corporate decision-makers. Ask your client who they want to appeal to with their website right from the beginning.

If your clients aren’t sure who they want to reach with their site, ask them who their ideal customer is. I’m sure they have an idea of who buys their products or uses their services.

Ask them to describe those people, even if there’s more than one. If so, it’s your job as the designer to create something that appeals to more than one demographic.

4. Project Scope

Not every project is as in-depth as every other. Some clients want a completely custom solution. Others just want you to adapt an existing template or other design. Some clients want an entire ecommerce site with a shopping cart, while others just want a brochure site that gives basic company information.

Sometimes, project scope is obvious from the goals of a project. Obviously, if your client’s goals are to sell products through their website, then they’ll need an ecommerce solution. But if it’s not obvious, you’ll need to ask. Make sure you ask about things like blog integration or social networking features, too.

5. Available Materials

Does your client already have a logo, brochure, product photos, or other materials that would be useful to your design?

Looking at their existing promotional materials can shed valuable insight into what their design taste is and what their priorities are.

If your client doesn’t have things like a logo or product photos, then you’ll likely want to either offer to design these things, or refer your client to someone who can (if that’s not in your normal scope of services).

These kinds of add-ons can be valuable to both your client and to your bottom line.

6. Overall Style

Getting a sense of what your client wants in terms of style is vital. They may have a grunge design in mind when you’re picturing something clean and modern (or vice versa). Most clients have very distinct likes and dislikes. But they’re not always good at expressing what their tastes are.

Asking clients for examples of designs they like and designs they don’t like, even if they’re the designs of their competitors, can give you valuable insight into what they like and don’t like. Your clients should provide you with a handful of examples prior to starting the design phase.

7. Definite “Do Nots”

At least as telling as what a client likes and wants is what they definitely do not want.

Some clients hate certain features. Some clients don’t want an ecommerce site, or a three-column layout, or a slideshow. Getting an idea of what your client doesn’t want can save you from wasting time designing features your clients will then reject.

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Major assignment

Today we are starting our major assignment. Go to and start viewing the videos of the software you want to use.

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major assessment project outline

Over the holidays you need to think about your major assessment project. This forms a large part of your overall mark. You will spend all of term 3 on this project and it includes a production piece in the software of your choice as well as a written response, design brief, sketches, storyboard and research material.

Before beginning the project you will need to think about what you want to create. Is it a product, a short animation, a short movie or a 3D piece?

Read through the handout and think about what you would like to do. When you return from your break we can discuss in detail.

Major Assessment Project

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For those who have forgotten to bring their books. Here is a badly scanned version.

Please read through the chapter and then answer all the questions.

worksheet (reading material)
questions (answer in a word document)

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