POP Displays: How to Write an Effective Design Brief- Part IV

In our last three blogs, we shared the first 9 of 13 key aspects of an effective POP design brief from the point of view of what is most helpful to us as POP designers. In Part I, we covered Overview and Objectives, POP Display Description, and Materials/Colors/Inspirational References. If you missed our first blog, you can check it out here. In Part II of the series, we covered Product Description/Specifications, Merchandising Ideas, and Retail Placement. If you didn’t catch that blog, you can read it here. In Part III of the series, we reviewed Brand Identity, Target Consumer Profile, and Competitor References. You can read Part III here if you missed it. In today’s blog, we’ll focus on the final 4 elements which are highlighted in red below in our list of the 13 key design brief components for POP displays:

● Overview and Objectives
● POP Display Description
● Materials/Colors/Inspirational References
● Product Description/Specifications
● Merchandising Ideas
● Retail Placement
● Brand Identity
● Target Consumer Profile
● Competitor References
● Art Work
● Budget and Timeline
● Shipping and Delivery Requirements
● Assembly/Installation Considerations

1.  Art Work – Your design brief should include any art work that you would like incorporated into your display design. Logos, lifestyle shots, product pictures, and any other types of art work can help the display designer get inside your head. The design brief doesn’t need to include the actual high resolution files, but rather just low resolution images that the designer can consider in creating the initial display concept or concepts. High resolution art work will likely be required later in the process, but it’s not necessary at the early stages of concept development.

nike athletes POP Displays

If you have ideas about where you want your art work placed on the display, it helps to articulate this in the design brief. You might have a vision for the art work you want incorporated in a header sign or the screen-printed logo you want on the base. Share these thoughts with the design team in the design brief. Furthermore, if you know that you are going to want parts of your display permanently branded or if you want your side signs to be interchangeable, for example, spell this out in the design brief.

2. Budget and Timeline – Budget and timeline are essential elements of a complete and thorough design brief. Establishing a budget for your POP design is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the design process is efficient and the economics of your POP display program are going to work. If you are struggling with coming up with a realistic budget or are looking for some tips on how to develop a budget, take a look at our blog entitled “POP Display Budgeting- 5 Tips for Getting the Best Results.” Even if you can’t get to a specific budgeting number, establishing and communicating a budget range can be enormously helpful to the design team.

Clinical POP Displays

In addition to sharing your target budget, outlining the timing of the project is very important to do in the design brief. Start with when you would like your displays to be in the stores. Be as specific as possible and share the in-store date, month or quarter you are targeting.  Once you have a target in-store date then the POP design team can work backwards to give you an idea of how much time you have for design, prototyping, production, and shipping.
Understanding the timing upfront is important because it is one of the things that dictates what manufacturing options will be available to you, such as domestic or overseas production. These options will likely have real economic consequences for you so being as accurate as possible on the timing that you communicate in the design brief is important.

3. Shipping and Delivery Requirements – Shipping and delivery requirements are important to communicate in the design brief if you know them. The reason is they can affect your program economics as well as your compliance with your target retailer’s rules and regulations. Knowing that you will be shipping to regional retailer distribution centers rather than drop shipping to stores directly can have both design and economic implications. If you know the retailer wants you to ship assembled units on pallets, it can affect the design vs. shipping knock-down fixtures where you can fit multiple units per pallet.

pallet delivery POP Displays

If you know the retailer’s shipping and logistics requirements, share this in the design brief or add a link in the brief to the appropriate retailer documents that your POP design firm will need to understand. If you have certain packing requirement or if your product is particularly vulnerable to shipping damage, be sure to point this out in your brief. Most people think about shipping/delivery requirements as a downstream item, but it can have a big impact on your overall program so be sure to share what you know upfront.

4. Assembly/Installation Considerations – Finally, it is important to communicate any assembly/installation restrictions, requirements, or considerations in your design brief. Are you envisioning a knock-down display that will be assembled by store personnel? If so, does your target retailer have any guidelines regarding acceptable assembly time? In most cases, 15-20 minutes of assembly time is acceptable, but it is important to communicate this. If you think you want a knock-down design, you will probably want to indicate in your design brief that assembly instructions will need to be included in each box along with the tools required to put the display together.

maxres POP Displays

The same is true for installation. If you know you will be needing a professional installer to install you fixture in the retail store, it makes sense to communicate that in the brief. Keep in mind that things like shipping/delivery and assembly/installation can make or break your display program if not executed properly so sharing as many details as possible on these aspects of the program are always very helpful.

Start Your Next POP Program Today

A well-done POP design brief does require some investment of your time and energy, but it also can be a good forcing mechanism to get you to think through all of the elements of your POP display program that need to be executed to ensure success. Not only will it help to ensure you get the design you want in an efficient and timely way, but it will ensure discipline in the process. Take the time to write a thoughtful and thorough design brief. Not only will your POP design firm appreciate it, but you’ll have a better chance of getting what you want and ensuring you achieve the results you desire.

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