Although coating design software is now quite powerful there are still certain filter designs that benefit from having good starting configurations. This is particularly true when more that two materials are used in the design or when filters function at several angles of incidence. We show in this paper that it is often possible to supply sufficiently good starting designs for the optimization by applying some general principles and having the computer supply the details. This pre-optimization step is accomplished through software specifically designed for particular classes of applications. An example is given for the design of a short wave pass filter that eliminates a harmonic and a dispersion-induced half wave hole in the pass region. Another example uses this design approach for an edge filter operating over a wide angular range.