You've just taken a new brief from a new client and now you're sitting at your desk waiting for inspiration to strike. Do you really expect the perfect logo design to pop up, fully formed, in your mind? If you do, you could be in for a long wait.
Instead, it's up to you to seek out logo design inspiration. If you let a wide variety of ideas collide inside your brain, gradually they should coalesce into the logo you're looking for. The trick is knowing where to look for inspiration in the first place.
Below are some suggestions of places you could start – but remember this can never be an exhaustive list because inspiration can come from anything, anywhere, anytime...
01. Look beyond the obvious
Cast your net far and wide. Don't just look at the top 10 best logos ever (although that's not a bad place to start). You need to also look beyond that, at design in general and at the wider world.
Whenever you see something that stands out or appeals to you, for whatever reason, file that thought. Let it inform your design process and contribute as your new logo starts to evolve.
02. Just doodle
Sometimes you can overthink these things and end up getting nowhere, so why not cut your conscious mind out of the loop and instead let the creativity flow, unguided, with a bit of random doodling?
You may well end up with a page of pointless scribbles, but somewhere in the disjointed mess of lines you might spot something that fires up that essential spark of inspiration.
03. Explore design websites
There are a number of dedicated logo design sites, including Logo Gala and Logo Moose, as well as Creative Bloq's dedicated logo news channel. But you should also widen your research to include other graphic design sites, and art and design sites in general, like Dribbble, Behance or DeviantArt.
Explore further down the results pages to visit sites you haven't seen before and also narrow your search to put the spotlight on logos in the same industry or belonging to companies of similar size, aspirations and values of the one you're working with.
04. Plunder your client's history
Check out all the various logos your client has employed since the company was founded. This can be particularly interesting if they go back for many decades.
You may be able to hark back to the past, if the client would like to position itself as a heritage brand, or you might be able to radically overhaul tits original logo into something fresh and modern. This has the advantage of built-in continuity even as you present a new image.
05. Explore your client's future
Discuss with your client its plans for the future – what does it envisage for the next 12 months or the next five years? Are there changes of direction imminent or new products coming that could have some bearing on the logo you design? You need to future-proof the logo because businesses do change over time.
Take, for example, Carphone Warehouse: no-one buys carphones any more – so should it lose a highly successful brand that has taken years to build by changing its name to something more appropriate?
06. Phone a friend
While it makes perfect sense to get as much information as you can from the client, sometimes there's nothing quite so helpful as a fresh pair of eyes.
If you have some ideas worked up, take them to a friend who has absolutely no connection to the project, and see what they think. Often someone's untainted opinion can be just what you need to fire the imagination.
07. Build some mood boards
Mood boards and brainstorms can help you to straighten out your thoughts and mix up different images and ideas of all shapes, sizes and themes.
Play with keywords and synonyms and gather a multitude of inspirations from different sources onto a single mood board to see how they combine.
08. Trawl through your own design archives
It's probably a fair guess that for every logo you design you probably come up with a couple of dozen sketches before you decide which one to develop further. Never throw away these early ideas, as they form a valuable resource. Just because one of your early sketches didn't work for a previous client, it doesn't mean it won't work at all.
Go back through previous work that you've created but not used and you may find the seed that, with a bit of nurturing, could grow to become the logo you're looking for.
09. Blast your brain with random images
Scroll through Google Images and Pinterest on both related and unrelated subjects to your client's logo needs. Then add the results to your mood board.
Pick a colour here, a shape there, a word, a typeface... then see how these different ideas could work together.
10. Stay receptive
At the end of the day, inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time. Be receptive to the ideas that flow through your mind. Sketch something as it comes to you and then revisit it later to see how it might work within the parameters of your brief.
At these early stages of the design process you need to allow your creativity full rein. Give yourself plenty of ideas to work with and then take the best elements from each and discard the rest.
11. Do something else
If you've tried everything and nothing's coming up, don't try to force it. Take a break and let your brain get on with other things. Go to see a film, play some video games, cook a nice meal or just have a lovely nap. It's amazing how just getting away from the problem at hand and thinking about something else can result in a sudden flash of exactly the right kind of inspiration.
There's no point just waiting for inspiration to hit. The more you search it out, the easier you'll find it. You'll develop an eye for what works and what doesn't, and how you can apply this to your own nascent designs.