This is always a tricky thing for me for some reason. Sometimes a level design will spill out of my mind quickly and it's a success with minor modifications or with obvious improvements. Other times I stare at a blank piece of paper, blank dry erase board or empty 3D scene and just scratch my head. I was once told by a former EA employee who worked on The God Father games that he liked to hold on to a principal that was simply "repetition with variation". Those words have stuck with me for some time as I feel there is a lot of truth to them. You can take repeating elements with variations and create a lot of content that feels fresh for your player. So what about you? How do you go about designing a level for [insert genre]? How do you balance functionality and aesthetics?