Who Needs a Creative Brief Anyway?

It turns out the thing we creatives think ought to be better written, is the very thing that’s limiting our creativity in the first place. Yup, creative briefs block creative thinking.

Creative briefs are written by brand or account managers; whom are both normally analytical, tactics-driven and strategically sound. These are a bunch of people who are left-brained if you will. Their objective is to manage a project to produce a desired result while being on time and on budget.

Now a recipient of a creative brief is usually a right-brained creative director, art director or copywriter; who some say is hard-wired to ignore a creative brief. It seems the tendency to disregard a brief is actually a natural reflex, and not an act of defiance as normally assumed.

Waste paper basket
Many a creative briefs have ended up here. Blame our right-sided brain for that!

Creatives are motivated by their craft and their need to excel in what they do. They also know other creatives are watching their work and that the next awards night is just around the corner. There is this need for a creative to justify his existence in the creative department, and to satisfy his toughest critic – himself.

A well-written creative brief then comes along to put a spanner in the works.

The fact of the matter is that most creative briefs are hardly creative. They’re full of dry data, assumptions, restrictions and guidelines; exactly the kind of thing that does not get creative juices flowing. The ‘better’ a brief is, the harder it becomes to translate it into a compelling, effective and engaging communication.

So allow me to apologize to all the suits that I’ve previously chided for not giving me a proper brief. It seems we never needed it in the first place.


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