Technical marketing: a canvas for a lean creative brief.

“You’re juggling dozens of priorities and under the gun to get a new marketing initiative under way. Do you really have time to write a creative brief? Avoid the temptation to skip it! Creative briefs help keep projects running smoothly and prevent misunderstandings and delays […] don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach.”Mastering The Creative Brief,” Aquent’s article on AIGA’s site.

“The brief is a starting point, not the answer […] so, it’s important that we do not ask the brief to be more than what it is”. – The Creative Brief And The Client’s Role In It” by Will Burns.


I’ve worked with a number of creative briefs over the years, some long and detailed, some short and actually brief. What I am sharing here is the one that works best for my projects. This specific sample comes down to just one page, a landscape slide with a set of resizable widgets, these are simple movable frames with customizable headers.

There are many Word and PowerPoint templates out there which are designed as well intended forms. But when working on different types of marketing projects “one-size-does-not-definitely-fit-anything” that I need. There always seems to be a need for right sizing creative briefs to best communicate. The above example works as a artist’s canvas instead.

This model can also be enlarged and printed out as a whiteboard size tool coupled with Post-it notes and markers for workshops.

Moreover, an online version allowing for zooming in and out as needed keeps ideation efforts going even after the workshop. Pinning annotations, sketches, pictures, files and bookmarks as well as being able to freeze snapshots in time, helps with bringing back and reviewing previous iterations anytime.

My next article will provide insights on information architecture and narrative for the above. In the meantime, Plan A refers to what’s recommended as a plan of record while NBA stands for Next-Best-Alternative. That is Plan B in other words, should unknowns and conditions evolve. I am also showing a placeholder to outline “Exit” strategies easing decisions on when to discontinue a project. It takes more discipline to be agile and change course and speed than just merely sticking to a plan.

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