Earlier I talked about how I never start designing until I have done a significant amount of research about a company/brand. The first thing I want to do is research the brand and find out what their core values are. Core values may include, customer service, helpful, friendly, fast service, and welcoming. Once you have a brand's core values, you can begin to pick out words that you think would well represent the company. This brainstorm of words is to help explore as many ways as possible to describe the brand. You may end up with words like fast, circle, yellow, and food. Once you have a large list, you can start to highlight the words that you think promote the brand most effectively.
How are you supposed to create an effective logo without a substantial amount of knowledge on the brand? You simply cannot, that is why research is the crucial first step of logo design. With your refined list of words, you can now begin to sketch out elements that you think represent those core values. These sketches should not be detailed, they should be quick thumbnail sketches of ideas, shapes and colors you think may be helpful further down the road. After you have completed all of the tasks above, it is time for feedback. Anyone can give helpful feedback, it is important to ask family, friends, clients and co-workers for their opinion. By now, you have a general feel for the ideas/themes that people are gravitating towards.
Once you have an idea that most people can agree upon, its finally time to start designing. Make sure that you complete all of these tasks before you begin designing, or else you will run into problems down the road. If you run with an idea before getting any feedback, there is a good chance that you will have to backtrack in order to please the crowd. Do yourself a favor and follow these guidelines to guarantee that your branding process runs as smoothly as possible.