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I'm looking for what you guys might have in your "bag of tricks", meaning design elements you use frequently, such as interesting shapes, lines, textures, all that sort of stuff that you use to spice up a boring job.

So for example someone comes to you for a business card and all they give you is their name, address and phone number, they will sometimes say they want something flash. What design elements would you tend to go for? Or someone will give you a bunch of text and they want a DL brochure. What are your favourite design elements?

Also what's your method for selecting colour, if you have nothing at all to go off, for instance a company logo?

I'm talking about print design, not web design.

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    We all have decorating tips, but design is more than decorating. Your examples are too broad in that I'd want to ask a lot more questions of the client before even beginning to brainstorm design ideas. – DA01 Jan 15 '15 at 9:53
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If the client gives absolutely no clues as to what they want, except "something flash", then your only way would be to show them some examples. Start with the things you like yourself. Show them some quick sketches you did, or some work you found on the internet. This way they could push you in the right direction, and hopefully specific enough for you to start working.

Then just work in that same style they liked, utilizing the elements you find gives it it's distinctiveness and character (and any comments they mentioned about things they liked when they saw it).

As for selecting color, you would do well do read up on basic color theory. This could be a good start: http://colormatters.com/color-and-design/basic-color-theory

In general focus on a maximum of three colors. Two would be ideal. Adding many colors is usually complicated to manage, and can get out of hand quickly.

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