Understand your brand

The first thing you need is to have an understanding of your own brand. To clarify brand here is not simply your logo, which a lot of people still make the mistake of thinking. A brand is how you want to be presented to your audience, what look and feel do you want to exude. This influences the colours, font, language and of course, the images you use. As most illustrators have a certain style to their work, you need to assess whether their style suit your brand. It would be unfair to ask them to change their style to yours, or even ask them to copy someone else’s work you have seen on Instagram. If you have a brand guideline provide them with this.

What and who is the illustration for

You need to describe what is it you want to try to do, what is it trying to illustrate and who is your audience. Don’t assume that they know. If it is for a blog article, it would be good to prepare the article beforehand so they are able to illustrate accordingly. If it is for a marketing campaign or advertising, you need to provide them with the key message of the campaign, or the project it is trying to promote.

Where is it for

Tell the illustrator where would it be featured, e.g: a printed magazine, newspaper, website or a banner. Where the illustration is going will effect the design itself, for example if it goes on a newspaper the colour of the paper tends to be duller than a glossy magazine. It is also important to provide them with the information of where it would be located on the media you choose, is it a full spread, on the corner of the magazine, etc?

It is also important to tell them how many readership has the media has, how long would the shelf life be, or if it is online. As this image copyright would belong to the illustrator this effect how much would the images worth and cost.

Provide them with as much detail as possible

  • Size/s
  • file format
  • Depth Per Inch; generally if it is for printing they need to be at 300dpi and web based images only needs to be 72dpi
  • If it is a campaign, do you need them to put logos on? where would they need to go
  • Timeline
    • When do you want to see a 1st Draft
    • When the deadline for the final artwork
  • What are your payment terms, e.g: 30 days after the receipt of an invoiced, how you want to be invoiced, when you want to be invoiced.

Other Considerations

In the brief you might want to include whether you want

  • an exclusive right to the images, as in they can’t sell it to other people
  • restrictive right to the images; you don’t want them to sell the images to a competitor of yours etc or you want to have exclusive right to the image for 3 years only etc.

You can download an illustrator brief template here

Illustrators, did we missed anything crucial? Let us know on the comments below.