Creative brief or creative principles?
Nick Carter

In my previous roles at advertising agencies, I was always disappointed with how creative briefs were weaponized with clients.

"We don’t start work until the creative brief is signed.” “You’re asking for something that’s different from what we put in the brief, so we have to rescope and restart with a new brief.”

As a studio co-founder, I know the importance of protecting scope. But in my experience, creative briefs got wielded with whatever level of toxicity was present in the client relationship. They seemed to create barriers, not open paths.

So we don’t use them. Instead, we have a workshop. Every person from our client’s team who wants to participate is welcome.

From the feedback from this workshop, we distill creative principles. Statements of ambition that say “Our creative project will be a success if it embodies these 3-4 principles.” They are written to apply to design and writing equally.

We start our work together from this place of agreement, of collective vision. As we go, we can discuss the merits and opportunities of creative choices against our creative principles. They provide a framework for truly constructive feedback.

It works better for us than creative briefs. I’d rather embody shared principles than execute against a brief.