However well made something is, it is really only as good as the design.
I tend to work on paper first. Many of my letterforms are digitized so that I can try out various layouts in advance of producing a scale drawing.
Scale drawings allow me to envisage the finished project as it will be, and allow the client to see precisely what they are getting.
Usually a simple drawing will suffice. For larger scale projects photomontages showing a design in-situ will be produced, or even a 3-dimensional scale model.