Creating a brief

Behind every successful project is a clear and solid creative brief. Not sure where to start? Let us guide you through each step of the process.

Download our template Animation Brief

Note: If you’re thinking about film, or a film featuring animation, make sure you also read our film guidance.

Objective

At the start of any project, the first thing you need to consider is your ‘why?’. Why do you need a video? Do you have a campaign you want to raise awareness of? Or a report you need to share with your stakeholders? Are you updating your branding and want a new video to showcase your new style? Whether you’re creating a 30-second explainer video or the next Toy Story, you need to have your objective solid in your mind before starting out.

You will also need to consider where your animated video will fit within your overall marketing strategy. Will it be published on its own, or supplemented with other content?

As well as considering the ‘why’, you need to be clear on the overall effect you want to create. What is the main takeaway the audience should get from your film? What do you want people to think, or feel after watching? Do you want it to be a call to action, raise awareness of a specific campaign, or just increase the viewer’s knowledge of a certain topic?

Without clarifying your objective for the video, you will struggle to move past the first stage of the production process. Having a strong sense of purpose is therefore vital when creating a brief.

Audience

Once you have considered the purpose of the video, the next step for your brief, is to think about your audience. Who is the video for? Not only in terms of demographic, but also knowledge level.

How much does the audience already know about the topic? Can you jump straight in, or will you need to give some background? A professional audience with in-depth knowledge will require a very different approach from something aimed at the general public posted on social media.

Keeping your target audience in mind throughout the creative process will ensure that your brief is always meeting your objectives.

Tone

Having considered your objectives and your audience, you can then start to think about tone.

The tone of the piece should reflect your core message and aims. The creative brief template for an educational video aimed at children will have a very different tone to an Annual Report video used at a conference.

Whether you want to be warm and funny, or professional and knowledgeable, the selected tone needs to be appropriate for the audience.

Style

Unless you come from a creative background, pinning down a visual design style may seem difficult at first.

A good place to start with your project brief is to think about animations that you’ve seen before. Whilst you might not be aiming for a Walt Disney production, you can draw on examples you’ve seen before, be it your favourite stop-motion animation, or a gif you saw on Facebook. Alternatively, if you’re unsure about what you like, think of styles you didn’t like.

The beauty of animation is that there is a whole range of styles to choose from. You can have 2nd animation or 3d animation. You can feature characters, or go more abstract. Character animation is a great way of humanising your message whilst a more abstract style can strike a more neutral and professional tone.

With animation, it is much easier to build on branding that you already have. If the animation is part of a larger marketing strategy, using the brand colour palette creates a sense of cohesion amongst different pieces of content.

When considering the style, you should always think back to your objectives and target audience (and your budget!).

Of course, we can always help you build your visual style.

Length

The answer here is as short as possible to get your message across, but typically not above 2 minutes. If you need more than 2 minutes to get your message across, you should consider splitting up your content in

Now that you have your project objectives, your audience and your style, it’s time to think more about the brief for the video itself. With all the content you want to include, you need to consider how long the video will be.

We would suggest that 2 minutes is the best length, allowing you to include your key points, whilst keeping your audience engaged. Any longer, people tend to zone out and stop paying attention. If you need more than 2 minutes to get your message across, you should consider splitting up your content into more than one video.

One useful guide for determining length is the script, as while every voice-over delivery will vary, they will on average deliver 75 words for every 30 seconds. For an animation without a voice-over that uses on-screen text, this reduces to about 45 words for every 30 seconds for a decent paced message.

Voice

There is plenty to think about when it comes to voice-overs. First of all, do you need one? Text on screen can be an effective way to put across your message, but voice-overs can help deliver more information in a short amount of time.

If you decide to have a voice-over, what do you want it to sound like? Male or female? A strong accent or something more neutral? Much of this comes down to your target audience. A corporate video aimed at European clients will require a much more neutral accent than a video with a regional audience. Having an accent that reflects the demographics of the audience

Voice has a big impact on the overall tone of the film. If you don’t have a specific idea, don’t worry as we have a pool of artists from which we can send you samples to choose from.

Promotion

Alongside your design brief, you should also think about how you use content marketing to get the most out of your creative project. You have to decide what marketing campaign will achieve your project goal, whether the animation is as rich website content or part of your email marketing.

Final Thoughts

Creating a creative brief for your animation project can appear daunting at first, but if you follow the above steps then you’ll be on right track to nailing your brief.

We’re always happy to advise you on any aspect of the production process and help you with constructing your creative brief.