The way I design is fashioned from what I am asked to do. I always keep in mind what I create is for the client, it should represent the client well. For me a design home run is when the client likes what they see and knows that I get them. I get them because I have taken the time to get to know them.
I am usually asked to create three comps. I like to do something very similar to samples they send. I also like to take the design to the next level, and then I like to push the limits. If I am in on the launch call I will ask permission. Most clients like this though some want the design to adhere strictly to their brand. I get that, so that is what I do.