How To Write An Inspired Creative Brief.


Write a tighter creative brief for better results and fewer redos.

In fewer than 150 pages, this graphic textbook breaks down each step of writing a creative brief in conversational language, illustrated with examples of great briefs and great creative. It’s filled with exercises you can do anywhere. It was written by a veteran copywriter and creative director who worked from creative briefs for a living. Are you ready to eliminate miscommunication and creative work that misses the mark?


[Howard Ibach is the] “creative brief whisperer.”

Paul Suggett, Creative Director, Starz Entertainment

“The most mind-blowing fact about the creative brief is that 50 years after it was invented, there is still only one lone voice speaking out on its behalf. I’m glad that voice is Howard’s…”

Sean Duffy, CEO, Duffy Agency

Name *

Buy now


Howard Ibach has written the essential brief for the briefers, a simple, memorable, enjoyable book for those who need to practice the art of strategic reduction for a living. He expounds several oft-forgotten principles: simplicity, clarity, collaboration.
— Steve Wehrenberg, CEO, Campbell Mithun Advertising, Minneapolis
How many of these will end up as agency secret santa gifts for suits?
— Anonymous comment on
An excellent read. An even better blueprint. Howard Ibach has captured in less than fifty pages what some ad people don’t learn in a lifetime.
— Jerry D’Ascoli, Creative Director
There’s a tendency when setting out to create great ads to look at other ads and try to emulate them. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Howard’s book hits the nail on the head, and suggests instead we start where all great ads…do: with a great brief.
— Vaughn Davis, Creative Director, Young & Rubicam Advertising Auckland, New Zealand
In the beginning I was told: ‘This is the product and this is what it does. Make a good ad.’ As the years passed, I got a bit more to go on: ‘This is the product, this is what it does, this is what the client wants to say about it and, by the way, here’s a bunch of research we did. Make a good ad.’

“Finally, some 30 years into my advertising career, Jay Chiat helped introduce British-style account planning not only to his namesake agency where I worked, but to advertising in America. The creative brief was born and, if I was lucky, some guy or gal from across the pond who actually knew how to write one was there to help me…well…make a really good ad. An ad based not simply on what the client wanted to say, but on what the audience wanted to hear. An ad based not simply on information, but on human insight and understanding.

“Which brings me to a book I just read entitled How to Write an Inspired Creative Brief, by Howard Ibach. For those of you who want to get the very best work from your creative teams without benefit of being either British or formally trained in account planning—for those of you, in other words, who are just good ol’ American account managers with a dream—you can’t do much better than to dog-ear this book from cover to cover and back again.

“One thing that makes HTWAICB (for short) unique is the fact that it was written by a writer—one who’s seen his share of uninspired, if not useless, creative briefs; but who’s also benefited from briefs that helped him do the quality of work any creative person aspires to. The fact that Howard spent most of his 23-year career in the results-oriented world of direct response makes this book all the more remarkable. Can you remember the last time you received a direct-response piece based on anything more attention-getting than an offer and a call to action accompanied by an eclectic blend of starbursts and exclamation points? If you can, it was probably created by someone like Howard, if not the man himself.

“Step-by-step, chapter by chapter, illustration by illustration (yes, there are pictures, too), Howard not only builds his case for how absolutely indispensable an inspired creative brief is but then proceeds to teach you exactly how to do it: simply, clearly and logically. Making generous use of productive exercises, memorable examples, fascinating case histories, plus the words and deeds of some of the smartest and most insightful people in the field.

“All of the above in a charming, personable, tongue-in-cheek style that makes How to Write an Inspired Creative Brief not only a pleasure to read, but a well-nigh essential foundation on which to build a successful advertising career.
— Dave Butler, Creative Director (retired), TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles
Why didn’t someone show me this before I had to write my first briefs? I didn’t have a clue. But I did have a template, and something my boss had written for Coldwell Banker. Ha! (Howard) nailed that.
— Tom Lehr, EVP/Managing Director, Dailey, West Hollywood
Howard’s book provides much needed guidance to anyone struggling to create (a brief) in an environment of complexity and time pressure.
— Ramona Liberoff, Global Client Director, Kantar (WPP), London
This is a book for those who want to believe that a well written creative brief can make the world a better place. Both inspirational and pragmatic, it is filled with anecdotes and tips that will first help you appreciate the power of a great brief, then guide you in writing one.
— Frank Quadflieg, EVP/Creative Growth Catalyst, Bolin Marketing, Minneapolis
As a relatively new advertising professional I’ve come to expect that I learn something new every day, but not as often do you get an in depth AND entertaining look at something that is so pivotal to your profession. I found myself highlighting answers to questions I didn’t even know I had.

“Having been through the daunting task of being an advertising pupil I am fully aware of how it feels when a professor puts yet ANOTHER text book in front of your face. This book is a pleasant break from the constant dry preaching that we have all come to expect. This narrative is insightful and witty; Howard gets to the heart of the matter and tells a complete and engaging story along the way.

“How to Write an Inspired Creative Brief is a MUST READ for any aspiring ad professional, student, intern and above all those who have entered the ad world and thirst for a way to better understand its complexities! For me, this book will serve as a reference guide and teaching tool as I continue my career.
— Meghan McGregor, Assistant Account Executive, Campbell Mithun Advertising