How to Write a Design Brief for School Projects

A design brief is a statement describing a problem as well as identifying the requirements and expected quality

It can be easier to break it up into 4 parts when writing your design brief

 1. The Outline, Context and Situation

The What, Who, Why, When, Where & How

The easiest way to cover all the bases of your design brief and write an outline is to follow the Who, What, Why, When, Where & How.


Start your design brief with a short, honest synopsis of the problem you are trying to solve. Don’t take this information for granted, and don’t assume that the reader will necessarily know anything about the problem.

  • What is the situation that has lead to this problem?
  • What is the end-user doing at the moment?


Delve into why is it important to the end-user to solve this problem.

  • Why is what the end-users current solution not viable for the future?


  • Who is the end-user?
  • Who will be using the solution?


  • A timeline of the end-user can help
    • i.e. My target end user is 16-21 years old…


  • Where is the current solution?
  • Will the solution be exposed to anything due to its location?


  • How did the end user get to this situation? (to be needing a solution)

2. Define the solution


Identify what the solution requires to solve the problem. Here you will need to get a little bit more in detail about the problem. Keep it short and broad as to not narrow your options down later

  • What does your solution need to do specifically? – i.e. fit in this sized computer, and 2 TV remotes
  • What is your solution intended to do generally? – i.e. create storage to keep lounge room floor tidy


  • Why does the solution need to be solved?


  • Who else will be affected by the solution and how will they impact it?
    • i.e. If i build a chair, do I need to make it so my 2 year old’s crayon can be wiped off of it?
    • Who else will be affected by the solution and how will they impact it?
    • i.e. If i build a chair, do I need to make it so my 2 year old’s crayon can be wiped off of it?


  • When is the solution required?
  • When does the product get used? Under what conditions? How often? When is the solution not used?


  • Where will the solution be used? (what room and what part of the room?)


  • How does the end-user want (or expect) the product to be built?
  • How will the end-user pay for the product?

More ideas/questions

Here are some other sample questions and ideas to consider for your design brief

    • How is this solution different compared to what already exists?
    • The profile of the ideal recipient/buyer/customer
    • Expectations -what are they really trying to achieve with this project?
    • Are there any themes?
    • Are there any guidelines?
    • Examples of similar things they like
    • Examples of things they have done before
    • Budgets & deadline
    • Technical Spec

3. Constraints and Considerations

The second part of the design brief is outlining the constraints and considerations in your design brief. This is done underneath the outline section and in bullet form. A list of constraints and a list of considerations

See here for more on what constraints and considerations are

Requirements /Restrictions

What do you need to abide by, adhere to and work around to be a successful solution? Think about what are the requirements of the solution are




Moving Parts



LooksClient Profile
• Does size matter?• Distance/length• Style – existing• Clients details
• What about weight?• Accuracy• Style – of solution• Likes and dislikes
• Any time constraints?• Performance• Finish• Wants
• Safety concerns?• Noise• Materials• Preferences
• Cost concerns?  • Status
• Material considerations?  • What they have already

Writing your Constraints and Considerations

When you have decided on your constraints and considerations, they need to be written in a particular way. Here is the format

  1. Identify the Product Design Factor that is relevant. Put that in CAPITAL LETTERS at the start of your constraint or consideration
  2. Identify the constraint or consideration with these ‘intros’
    • For a constraint, use the word must – ‘The solution must have…’ or ‘It must be’
    • For a consideration, use the word may – ‘The solution may…’ or ‘It may…’

Examples of constraints:

  • ECONOMICS – The solution must be made for the end-users budget of $200 or less
  • VISUAL, TACTILE & AESTHETIC FACTORS – The solution must be in the art deco style to fit in with the building
  • LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES- The solution must be safe enough for children 3 years old and above
  • USER-CENTRED DESIGN – It must be easy for the end-user to pick up the final solution and use, as the solution is open to the general public
  • PURPOSE, FUNCTION AND CONTEXT – The solution must have the primary function of de-pipping an avacado

Examples of considerations

  • INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY – The solution may be made using emerging technologies
  • MATERIALS – It may be made out of a variety of suitable materials
  • TECHNOLOGIES – The solution may be constructed from a variety of tools, equipment, and machines
  • SUSTAINABILITY – The solution may be made from recycled and reused materials and with sustainable processes and practices

Identifying your constraints and considerations in your brief

Use the product design factors for inspiration, and identify (with a highlighter) which you are referring to in your design brief. This will help you with your tests, exams and folios.


You are required to identify at least 3 ways that you will change the product you intend to build

Use the Product Design Factors to identify these three things. One of which MUST be ‘more sustainable’

4. Quality Statement

The brief also requires a statement of quality. It’s typically a couple (two) of paragraphs answering questions like:

  • How will the expected quality affect your choice of materials?
  • What is the expected workmanship in the final product?
    • Quality of finish?
    • Joins
    • Edges and profiles?
  • What is the expected level of design for the finished product?
    • How much the product will do vs how much the user will do
  • What is the expected durability and reliability of the finished product?
  • How important is the ability of the finished product to perform the intended function?

More Quality statement questions

  • What is the expected quality of the end product?
  • How will you achieve that quality?
  • How will you know that the finished product meets the quality you have identified here?
  • The different product design factors and their quality? (Visual, tactile and design, legal responsibilities, materials, economics etc.)
  • Any particulars about quality (because it will be screwed to the wall it will require…)