Cloning needs no preparation
If you clone from a hybrid iso file to a USB drive, everything relevant will be overwritten, so wiping and formatting will make no difference (except maybe making the final cloning faster, but the total time and effort will increase).
dd deserves the nicknames 'disk destroyer' and 'data destroyer'
dd produces a reliable result, if you do it correctly,
sudo dd if=/path/file.iso of=/dev/sdx bs=4096
where x is the drive letter. But
dd does what you tell it to do without questions. If you tell it to wipe the family pictures ... and it is a minor typing error away.
Tools with a final checkpoint
So I would recommend that you use a tool with a final checkpoint, that gives you a chance to double-check that you will install the live system to the correct drive.
Two such tools come with Ubuntu,
- The Startup Disk Creator (in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and newer versions; older versions come with an old and buggy version, that you should avoid),
- Disks alias
You can install mkusb from its PPA.
- The standard function is to clone from an iso file or [compressed] image file,
- but it can also wipe a drive,
- restore a drive from an 'install device' to a 'standard storage device' (with an MSDOS partition table and partition with a FAT32 file system),
- create Windows install drives and
- create persistent live drives with Ubuntu and Debian.
If cloning does not work
Most modern linux distros provide iso files treated with
isohybrid, which make them hybrid iso files. Such iso files can be used to
- burn CD/DVD disks that are bootable
- clone USB drives and memory cards that are bootable
But some iso files are not hybrid iso files, for example Windows iso files and Knoppix iso files. These iso files must be extracted and special care must be taken to make the target drive bootable. (You can treat a Knoppix iso file with
isohybrid, but it does not work with Windows iso files.)
There are several extracting tools, for example Rufus, which is the officially recommended tool to install Ubuntu from Windows.