How to write a design brief for your 3d rendering project.

We’ll show you how to write a design brief in 3 easy steps. 

Want to outperform your competitors by optimising your 3d renders? It all starts with your initial design brief. Preparing a brief for a 3d rendering project may not be the sexiest task you can think of but if you spend a bit of extra time to really nail the brief, the renders you get back will outperform those of your competitors in a big way. In this article we’ll show you how to write a design brief for a 3d rendering project that will maximise your ROI and save you time in the long run.

Written by:
Nick Martin

March 2021


So what is a 3d rendering design brief exactly?

A 3d rendering design brief is a set of instructions you prepare for your 3d rendering company to explain what you want from your 3d renders. It outlines the scope of work and info about the product or project. It will provide the right info so your rendering studio can create imagery that is perfectly tailored to your target audience, your project and your brand. 

And why is a good design brief important? 

Providing a clear set of instructions will really help to make sure everyone involved in the project is on the same page. It will minimise potential miscommunications and ensure a smooth, efficient and hassle free experience for all involved. But most importantly it allows for careful analysis of your project and creation of advanced strategies in order to optimise your imagery to achieve ultimate return on investment. 

Analyse your project and your brand


Firstly, you should analyse your project and your brand. In order to create amazing 3d renders that really SELL property or products (as opposed to just showing people what something looks like), its important to think of 3d renders as marketing imagery. And in order to craft your marketing imagery you need to analyse the following:

The Target Market

You’ve probably already researched your target market but the key here is to communicate that research to your 3d rendering studio. Who are we marketing to? What appeals to them? What drives their buying decisions? Are they new home buyers? Families? Empty Nesters? High, Middle or Low income?

In order to create imagery that appeals to a specific audience, we need to know exactly who they are and what they like.

Who are these people?!

What magazines do they read? Which Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest accounts do they follow? When you look at most Home/Architecture/Interior magazines and social media profiles, you notice that the imagery is very carefully curated. And those images are very carefully styled. We need to create 3d renders that are equally well curated and styled to speak to our target audience.

Free property & real estate target market examples?

At Harp we have done a lot of the hard work for you and have put together these 5 free property and real estate target market personas which present our research on the different demographics of common property buyers. We use these at the beginning of every project so we can tailor our 3d renders to the target market. These insights influence the way that we style each render in order to appeal to that demographic.

Your Brand

Its important that you share as much information about your brand or the project specific branding so that we can tailor the renders to work with your brand messaging.

What is the brand associated with your business/project? Do you have a brand strategy in place? Which brand touch points will the renders be utilised with? Do you have a colour palette associated with the brand?

All marketing imagery and brand touch-points should be in line with your core brand… 3d imagery included.

Analyse your design


Design significance + key selling points

The next step is to have a good look over your design and think about which specific elements would be considered a ‘selling point’. Which parts of the design have that WOW factor? These are the elements that we should focus on with our 3d imagery

Which elements of the design have the WOW factor?

Image Composition + Camera Angle Choices

In order to create the most affective 3d renders (that SELL), its essential to understand the importance of image composition to the overall appeal of a particular image. I don’t expect you to become an expert on image composition (that’s our job), but what you should pay particular attention to is the camera angles that are most commonly used in architectural photography. For property marketing images this is especially important as the idea is to ‘sell the dream’ and to do this we need to tell a story with our renders. For a more detailed deep dive please read our article: selecting the right balance of camera angles to maximise performance.

Bottom Line?

We don’t need to show absolutely every part of a room or building… just the parts that tell a story. The parts that ‘sell the dream’ to your target market.

Now that we know who our target market is (and what kind of images appeal to them) and what the selling points of the project are, we can begin to marry those 2 things together to come up with some potential camera angles. We want to look for angles that show off the best parts of the design (the unique selling points) in an interesting and appealing composition that the viewer can see themselves in.

I can’t emphasize this enough….

We want potential buyers to picture themselves in that space and imagine how great it would be to live there!

Interior Styling

You should now think about what sort of styling will compliment the architectural design AND appeal to your target market AND work with your branding. You should consider hiring a professional stylist for this task as this is not as easy as it sounds. At Harp we have in-house interior stylists working on all of our projects so if you work with us you get this service for free. Good value huh?!

Gather your documents


Documentation and Communication

This is where you put it all together and communicate all the research you’ve done in the last 2 steps to your 3d rendering studio. The more detailed, accurate and comprehensive you can be here, the better.  Below is a list of the documents commonly required:

3D Models – Preferably well layered, organised, accurate and up-to-date. Preferred file formats: .fbx, .dwg, .dxf, .3ds, .obj, Sketchup .skp, Revit .rvt, .iges, .step, .max

Building Drawings – Floor plans, external elevations, internal elevations (bathroom/kitchen/joinery), relevant sections/details/lighting plans/electrical plans etc. Preferred file formats .dwg & .pdf

Site and Landscape Drawings – Plans, sections, planting plans. Preferred file formats – .dwg & .pdf

Camera Angles – Description or diagram of your preferred camera angles. See below example.

External Materials Specifications – An external materials/colour schedule. Preferred file formats .pdf, jpeg, .dwg

Internal Finishes and Fittings – An internal materials/colours/fittings/fixtures schedule. Preferred file formats .pdf, .jpeg, .dwg

Styling Guide/Mood Boards – A collection of reference images that give your 3d render studio an idea for the look/feel you have in mind. Preferred file formats .pdf, .jpeg, .doc

Project Branding Docs – A brand identity doc, logos, colour palettes, website design concept, brochure designs. Preferred file formats pdf, .jpeg, .doc

Target Market Info – A summary of your analysis of the target market for your project. Preferred file formats pdf, .doc


So, now that you know how to write a design brief, have analysed your project and gathered all the important docs its just a matter of packaging this info together and sending it off to your favourite rendering studio! You should find that putting a little extra work into the initial brief will pay off with greatly improved renders that fulfil your vision of your project and hopefully a lot more interest from potential buyers.

In Summary

Step 1 – Analyse your Project/Business

  • Your target market
  • Your brand

Step 2 – Analyse your Design

  • Design significance + key selling points
  • Image composition + camera angles
  • Styling

Step 3 – Gather your Documents

  • 3D Models
  • Building Drawings
  • Site/Landscape Drawings
  • Camera Angles
  • External Material Specifications
  • Internal Finishes and Fittings
  • Style Guide/Mood Boards
  • Project Branding Docs
  • Target Market Info

Thanks for reading! If you would like to try out your new brief writing skills on a project you need renders for, then please feel free to send your brief to us at We’ll give you a mark out of 100 (and a fee proposal too).

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