Every designer has his or her own process, and it is rarely linear, but in general this is how the branding process is completed, which can be used as a guide to establish your own.
Design brief. Conduct a questionnaire or interview with the client to get the design brief.
Research. Conduct research focused on the industry itself, its history, and its competitors.
Reference. Conduct research into logo designs that have been successful and current styles and trends that are related to the design brief.
Sketching and conceptualising. Develop the logo concepts around the brief and research.
Reflection. Take breaks throughout the design process. This allows your ideas to mature and lets you get renewed enthusiasm. Receive feedback.
Presentation. Choose to present only a select few logos to the client or a whole collection. Get feedback and repeat until completed.
An effective logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic, simple in form and conveys an intended message. In its simplest form, a logo is there to identify but to do this effectively it must follow the basic principles of logo design:
A logo must be simple. A simple logo allows for easy recognition and allows the logo to be versatile and memorable. Effective logos feature something unexpected or unique without being overdrawn.
A logo must be memorable. Following closely behind the principle of simplicity is that of memorability. An effective logo should be memorable and this is achieved by having a simple yet appropriate logo.
A logo must be enduring. An effective logo should endure the test of time. The logo should be 'future proof', meaning that it should still be effective in 10, 20, 50+ years time.
A logo must be versatile. An effective logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications.
A logo must be appropriate. How you position the logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose.