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Activity 5: Translate Briefs

This activity takes the ranked ideas or themes from the last activity and translates them into design briefs to be addressed. Choose those directions with the most potential and define the challenges to overcome.

typical designers workshop wall with postit notes

Create design briefs that take account of the evidence base that you have generated and reference the original project goal or mission. Build on ideas that have the most potential for your business. You can bring other colleagues into the brief-writing process for alternative perspectives. Make sure that you maintain the user voice in the briefs that you write, including direct quotes if necessary.


  • Success criteria: Build a list of criteria for the brief. These will be important in assessing the success of the outcomes and can be used to evaluate and select ideas throughout the design phase. 
  • Write briefs: Define the goals or challenges to overcome. Be very specific as to the topic of each brief. For example, do not write “my idea will improve people’s lives”.
    Write “my idea will aim to get schoolchildren to drink more water to improve their concentration”.
    You should be able to summarise your brief in two or three sentences.
  • Choose briefs: Select briefs for development. Use the list of criteria developed to choose those briefs with the most potential.


This activity will give you specific briefs to respond to that explore different creative directions. This is the start of the traditional development process, but it will now have a people-centred evidence base to give it a more solid foundation. At this stage, your briefs and design directions will be driven by your users, helping to ensure that you are answering the right question.