Research at length
Look into the specific field of what you’re branding, who the audience is
Deep-dive into whatever it is you’re branding for
Look at other designs within the same ‘world’
Both inside and outside the field
Imagine the audience. What are their habits? What do they seek out in terms of aesthetics, culture, activities etc.? Look at the things they look at- inhabit their world
Find visual references for design/art as a source for inspiration. Go to an actual library or nearby bookstore- the history of visual art is vast and contextual in the way that Pinterest or Tumblr isn’t
Sketch it out
Start with physical media or really rough digital sketches
Work through concepts, keywords, or any observations from your research.
Try different mediums- don’t commit to just pencils or thin ink lines or digital vectors. If you’re drawing things with a pencil, then try an approach that will give you big shapes quickly.
Primarily work in two-tone - your final design should work in black and white. But don’t be too shy with colours if it makes sense & connects to your research
Make hundreds of sketches - seriously
A good logo is a conveyance of something, rather than a graphic designer showing off, saying ‘look what I can do!’ Don’t to be too clever, or too crafted in your designs, unless the design calls for this approach through your research. Try not to limit yourself to a bag of tricks.