How to write an animation brief in 3 easy steps

Catharine Pitt
Mark Davis

Commissioning animation can be daunting. Especially if you're new to the process. Here is our guide for things you'll need to consider in order to get your animation project started. And if you make it to the end, you'll be rewarded with a free briefing template to download. Happy days.

Step 1: Overview

  • Purpose. It's vital we understand the purpose of your animation. Is there a background context for the commission? What problem is it solving? Is it to educate your audience, promote a product or service, or simply to entertain? Defining the desired outcome will help us assess how best we can help you.

  • Goals. What are the specific goals you hope to achieve with the animation? Do you want to increase website traffic, generate leads, or improve brand recognition within a key demographic?

  • Call To Action. What action do you want the viewer to take?

  • Deliverables. List all assets (including versions) needed to help you achieve your goals.

Step 2: Constraints

  • Budget. Where possible, provide a realistic budget range upfront. It helps us shape the animation to the financial constraints. Animation is a time-consuming process and costs can vary greatly, so even a ballpark figure can help us to create a solution that meets your needs while staying within your budget.

  • Schedule. What is the deadline? Are there other delivery milestones we should consider? By providing key dates, we can design the project around the time frames available.

  • Length. What is the desired length of the animation? Are there constraints based on where it will be viewed?

  • Distribution. Where will the animation be seen? Will it be shared on a website, social media channels, or used as part of a larger campaign.

  • Technical. Are there specific technical requirements, such as aspect ratio or file formats that need to be considered?

Step 3: Look and Feel

  • Style. Is there a style the animation should align with? What is the preferred look and feel? Are there brand / design elements that need to be considered? Provide examples where possible. Understanding your aesthetic preferences helps us create a style that aligns with your vision.

  • Guidelines. Are there brand guidelines that the animation should follow? If you have specific colours, imagery, styles that the animation should adhere to, provide those details in the creative brief.

  • Story. Most animations need a script. It forms the backbone of the narrative. Even a rough draft helps us understand your vision, but don't worry if you don't have one - it's something we often develop for clients.

  • Audio. Will the animation need a voice-over, music or sound effects? If there is a voice-over, do you also need captions?

  • Tone of voice. What is the desired tone for your animation? Should it be serious, lighthearted, emotional, or something else. Consider the mood, atmosphere, attitude or ambience. Defining this will help guide the creative direction.

  • Audience. Who is your target audience? Consider factors such as age, gender, location, language and interests.

  • What to avoid. It's important to communicate any "no-go" areas for the animation, such as styles used by competitors, elements considered off-brand, imagery or symbolism that could be considered controversial or elements that could be perceived as insensitive in certain cultures or regions.

A clear creative brief is often the starting point for a successful collaboration. It helps us understand your vision and sets the right direction for the project.


Download our free Notion template, full of the questions we ask before starting a project.