RFQ's/ID Briefs coming from non-designers

I’m in a situation where I will be the main influence pushing to get an Indstrial Designer on an upcoming project. I haven’t worked with an IDer before but I know I will need some sort of brief or RFQ (are they typically the same document?) to start the discussions.

I searched these forums and found this thread which was helpful:

This is the simplest I find to start with, you can refine it as you go, and as you discover stuff that you need.

Background: Give a description of why the need for design, ie. client realises a shoe is needed and thus we’re designing a shoe
Target audience: who is this product being designed for (as per the client) - i.e. who is going to be your user
Market Scenario: What is the current market for doohickeys like? who is the biggest seller? what are your users buying instead?
Design criteria: as per the client - first put down everything you heard in your briefing or conversation with the client, it will change as you begin to design
Limitations if any known: ie. client wants it in aluminium because they are only into aluminium
Quantity produced: this is an estimate of the client’s production intent - you will design accordingly

There will be more headings but this usually captures the essence of the briefing.

Anything you would add? Any advice for me in working with an IDer for the first time?

I’d add cost limitations, if any…it’ll have a deep effect on the processes used to make the product and hence on the design. Don’t make the brief tooooo detailed, though – it’s called that for a reason. You can get into the nitpicking things later.

Excellent. Thanks Arclight. A budget is definitely important. How many times can I expect to revise a brief? I know it will vary from project to project but can you get me in the ballpark? If it revs more than 10 times should I jump ship?

Try to get an idea of what will make the product a “success” is the eyes of the client. In the end you have to make your client happy. Success can be measured in many different ways. This can help focus those working on the project toward a common goal.

Thank you for the insight Nate. In this case my “client” is the Clinical Department of my company so getting the parameters for success should be relatively easy.

How/where are these details typically documented. Do you have a sample that you might share? My searches have turned up nothing in the way of examples.

It’s great that you’re doing this, but don’t forget that you should be picking a designer partially based on the kinds of questions asked of you. After all, if you provide all the answers, you’re… to put it in legal terms… “leading the witness”.

Let them ask questions as part of the proposal process. You might learn a bit about them during that back-and-forth. That could prove invaluable.

I hear ya csven. I definitely don’t want to “lead the witness” at all but I want to provide enough information so the ID can make an informed proposal. I think seeing an example RFQ or 2 would help. If nothing else I’ll take a shot in the dark, draft up what I think would be a resonable brief/RFQ and post it here for feedback.

I appreciate all of your comments. Keep 'em coming.

A design brief is a toold used by designers to create a design strategy that accomplishes business objectives. Non-design professionals that try to write design briefs usually end up derailing the rest of the process because they don’t pass on the right information. Design is a problem solving process.

A RFQ is NOT the same thing as a Design Brief. Design briefs are to be written BY designers/design managers with the help of other team members (marketing, sales, engineering…).

I suggest you order and read this book:


Thanks nydesignguy. On the wishlist and will be ordered on payday :wink:

What kind of info typically goes into an RFQ?