The project has started and you sit down and break out the trusty moleskin. It's filled with random sketches, notes, and the logo ideas from the last branding meeting. You are ripe with ideas for the new logo, UI, or layout and it feels only natural that as a designer you go to what you know best- even though we are getting ahead of ourselves because we have left out a very important step, the creative brief.
Yes, the creative brief comes first. No, it's not the sexiest part of the project and no, you don't get to use photoshop or fireworks. But, by doing the creative brief, you will be able to better communicate with the client upfront in a language they understand before throwing out designer speak such as white space, typography, or color theory.