If you think it deserves it, don't forget to vote :) This was my real first commissioned "woodworking job", and I was very excited to be provided the opportunity.
I was asked to create an "Old English Pub Style Sign" for an art shop/boutique in Boerne, TX (www.copperdragonfly.net). They told me the basics of what they wanted [size, 2 different "signs" (one large, one small underneath), look, etc], but really allowed me to "create" it the way I thought would look the best. After looking at many different types of wood, I decided to make the actual sign out of Walnut, and then use Cedar for the rest (words, border, dragonfly image, etc). I also knew this would be outside, and take a lot of abuse from the sun and weather, so I had to protect it as much as I could from the elements.
Step 1: Beginning Process
Once I bought all the wood, I then started working on the actual "design". I went to the computer, and found a font that best matched what was on the companies website/business cards. I printed out "Copper Dragonfly", cut each word out, spray glued each "paper word" to a piece of cedar, and cut each one out with my scroll saw. I knew this was going to be a double-sided sign, so the cedar I used for each letter was fairly thick. Once I had the letters cut out, I then took each one to my band saw and cut them in half. That way, each side would be 100% identical.