Creative Briefs: Why They Matter as a Commission Artist

If you’ve ever tried doing paid creative work, you’ll know how frustrating and creatively draining it is to have the project change course or receive iterative feedback from a far out vision than what was discussed. In this post, I’ll explain WHY creative briefs are so crucial to easing the process between commission artist and client.

What are Creative Briefs?

Creative briefs are documentations of the design prompt that is agreed upon between the artist and the client. When we think about a typical commission timeline (from my experience), it typically goes…

  • Lead generation
  • Consultation Call
  • Creative Brief
  • Contracting
  • Deposit or Complete Invoice
  • First Draft
  • Feedback Rounds + Iterations
  • Final Draft Preview
  • Invoice fulfillment
  • Testimonial
  • Referrals

During the creative briefing section, this is where the client’s questions are answered, such as:

  • Who is this art piece for?
  • How do you want people to feel when they see this piece?
  • Do you have any reference examples to share with me?

Why Creative Briefs MATTER!

You are two separate individuals with different creative visions and worldviews.

As a digital artist offering a commission service, you become the vessel in which your paying client’s vision is being brought to life.

You save them the resource of time and skill to create their vision to life.

Being on the same page prior to creation of the illustration is KEY to aligning creative visions and removing friction.

This can be used in the contractual or invoice agreement as well.

Personal Experience Prior to CBs:

Prior to using creative briefs, I felt constantly confused or frustrated at why my pieces weren’t exactly satisfactory with the client. I constantly felt as if my work wasn’t good enough.

I soon realized that happiness for me as an artist boiled down to expectations minus reality.

Our expectations weren’t on the same page, and therefore, my creative reality was always crushed.

I didn’t recognize that I was an artist that was being paid for my skill to bring their creative vision to life, not a transaction where they simply accepting any work I created.

Once I focused on making sure the onboarding process was smooth and created a strong creative brief with the client, every commission i had was incredibly smooth, fulfilling, and enjoyable.

From that point on, I felt I was able to scale my commissions services to once or twice a month.

Softwares for Creative Briefs

Pretty much any platform that you can create visual imagery that can convey your pitch is fine.

Personally, I use the app Procreate to fulfill my pieces and use it for creative briefing as well.

Alternatively, you can professionally assemble it in Canva, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.

The most important thing here is that you are able to convey the messaging, intentionality, and necessary design components upon your client’s request.

Examples of creative briefs:

A&M Egg Tarts (2).png__PID:f2a80076-f283-4f34-9f97-43234d128043

Components of Creative Briefs:

Notice in my example above, I included aspects such as:

  • colors
  • typography
  • look and feel
  • necessary design requests
  • reference images

Note that what I haven't shown yet is the official shared document in which the client answers in detail how the end result should appear. Stay tuned for a future blog post where I share the exact questions I ask my clients before we begin our first iteration together. 

Iteration Documentation

Finally, I wanted to address the importance of having documentation of each iteration! This can be pivotal when building up your portfolio, showing and having historical data of your process.

This eases a burden for you, your client, and the future version of yourself that is trying to put together landing pages, portfolios, or a pitch deck.

Email Me Your Thoughts:

Now that you’ve read this, what do you think?

If you are a…

Digital Artist: have you tried to do commissions before? How did that process go?

Creative Business: What is the next project you’re trying to bring to life? Do you have a creative message to portray? Have your past artists created briefs working with you?

Email me at using the form function below to let me know!

Book with Me:

If you’re interested in creating an illustration to bring your creative vision to life, book with me HERE:  

About the Author

Hope you enjoyed reading this article! My name is Madeline Liu, curious creative based in SF Bay Area and the founder of Notebeans Stationery. My mission is to bridge creativity and kindness through documenting meaningful moments of life in illustrations, photography, and videography. I currently work on my business, work as a freelance social media manager, and love exploring specialty coffee as an ex-barista. Hope you’ll enjoy the rest of my articles to come!

Ecrire un commentaire

Tous les commentaires sont modérés avant d'être publiés