The brief binds

by Paul Burmeister

In the normal, mundane, workaday world of designers and their clients, designers are not usually hired to exercise their own preferences; they are hired to effectively solve clients' problems. The design brief is not a suggested option among others; the brief is not license for the designer to try something else if the designer's whim or will is in conflict. Most briefs are not the client's invitation to the designer to execute a signature artifact. Unless the designer has successfully created a reputation or style for "genius," which can precede negotiations usually involved in a brief, most briefs represent the client's authority to require that expectations will be observed and met. This authority does not make the client good or bad, right or wrong, but the brief does have a moral aspect—it is binding.