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Exercise: How To Break Down a Brief

How to Break Down a Brief

Briefs are essential. They can be overwhelming, but this four-step exercise will help you keep it simple. Download one of this year's New Blood briefs and use these guidelines to break it down. 

Step 1: Five minutes

Read all the information you're given. Think about what the essential points are, what specific words communicate and key pieces of info that stand out. Highlight them.

There is probably a lot of info there, and probably A LOT of words flying around. You’re going to break down the brief into just 16 words. These 16 words should communicate what the brief is asking you to do. Imagine you are giving this to someone instead of the full brief. How can you get them to understand what the task is in the same way but in only 16 words? Pull in any of the specific info or words you highlighted to help you.

Step 2: Two minutes

Now you have your 16 words, really think again about what the crucial points are. How many words could you shave and still communicate what the brief is asking you to do? Could you get rid of 8 words? Ok. Do it. In 8 words, what is the brief asking you to do? Rearrange the ones you have, use 8 new words or mix it up.

Step 3: One minute

So now you've got it down to the bare bones right? Those 8 words are all gold and they are completely vital. But which ones could you do without? Can you do without another 4 words? Try and get it down to just 4 words. Remember, you are trying to communicate as much of the information from the full brief as possible. Think about which words carry the most meaning.

Step 4: One minute

What next? You guessed it. Halve it again. 2 words. Go.

Nailed it

So there you have it. Your whole brief squished down into two ickle words.

This exercise will help you find what is at the heart of the task by breaking it down. Now, it would be silly to actually go by just these two words when there is a whole wealth of info sitting there in the full brief. BUT all those other words will seem like a luxury now. As you start developing your ideas, remember to keep referring back to your two words. Are you getting those two things across? 

You can always tweet us @DandADNewBlood. Show us what you've got. Show us your ideas. Show off. We'll show you some love. 

If you want to find out how you can get your hands on a Pencil, find out more about the D&AD New Blood Awards. Or, why not gorge yourself on creative inspiration with the New Blood Hub.

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