Thought I would try something different.
Since I start with level 1 Construction, allowing size 230 ships, I design an Escort at that size. And build only Escorts.
When I get to level 2 Construction, allowing size 300 ships, I design a Frigate at that size...and build a bunch of them, with my newer tech toys.
And so on..at about Level 5 Construction, I build Cruisers. At size 650. These I use for fleets, which I run manually, while computer gets my size 230 escorts, size 300 Frigates, and size 400 Destroyers to use as it sees fit.
The largest benefit I see is my largest ships are always my most advanced. And at the lower levels, I always outclass the ships I am fighting. If the enemy fleet is 10 frigates, and I send 10, I know I will win...
I use my bases as actual bases...Especially my Gas Mining bases. I think of these as focal points for my fleets, so I like to have them well protected. I design one at level 1 to be size 690, with extra defense, offense, docking stations etc.... Later, I will redesign it when I get advanced Hangers. I never lose a Supply Point (gas base) in the game.
“My logisticians are a humorless lot … they know if my campaign fails, they are the first ones I will slay.” – Alexander the Great