Creating a Brief

Producing a brief for interpretative materials to be used in an exhibition setting is rarely a straightforward process. The sheer variety in the material produced (which may appear in a range of printed or digital formats) means that flexibility and creative thinking will always feature, and that an initial brief will probably be subject to change before the end results are established.

We are fortunate in having a longstanding relationship with a freelance designer who is familiar with our brand and has been a part of the creative process in devising our exhibitions for many years. Gordon Webber of Snowgoose Promotions was previously Marketing Manager at JORVIK, so is familiar with our working style and knows our sites and our staff. He has built up a bank of resources (artwork, images and designs) to which he can always refer, which allows us to provide a brief with a minimum of detail (where a new designer would need much more input to produce something in line with our existing materials). This aids us in achieving consistency across our exhibitions, so that all of our output is identifiably part of the JORVIK Group brand.

An initial enquiry to our designer would probably include the following elements:

  • A short introduction to the project
  • Some pointers as to ‘look and feel’ (including a colour palette)
  • Some technical specifications, e.g. format, dimensions etc.
  • A timescale for delivery of the work (assessing the designer’s availability, in case of other projects / holidays etc.)

Where necessary, text and images would also be supplied here for incorporation into the design; these would not necessarily need to be finalised content at this stage, but might assist in the design process (i.e. in the placement of images, in assessing the probable final appearance of the material at hand etc.).

The designer would then typically produce a series of drafts for our inspection. In their later stages, these would be shown to our Director of Attractions, who maintains oversight in the production of all of our exhibition materials. Several versions might be produced before a final version is arrived at: although the team will strive to supply finalised content at the earliest opportunity, changes are inevitably made as the effects of word count or other factors on the final appearance of the material becomes clearer.

Finalised design work is then supplied in a print-ready format (typically these are larger files than those used in the earlier stages of the process) to a third party supplier; trusted local providers of printing services in a range of media are often the recipients of these files, and are normally briefed separately by the JORVIK team on the specifications of the end products. Many of our exhibition materials and pieces of in-house signage, for instance, are printed on 5mm foamex: these PVC foam sheets are lightweight and easily drilled and cut. An alternative, more durable material that we sometimes use for the same purposes is Dibond, brushed aluminium composite sheeting, which works better than foamex for outdoor displays. The design work will often need to take account of the medium that will ultimately receive it, so this is also a consideration when briefing a designer.