Product variety and its induced manufacturing complexity remains to increase and therefore greatens challenges for design of joining elements. Historically, joining element design was a paper-based process with incomplete variety documentation and is digitalized only by replacing paper for 3D space. Currently, joining element design remains an ambiguous manual task with limited automation, resulting in long iterative, error prone development trajectories and costly reworks. Thus, processes in practice conflict with required capabilities. Artificial intelligence helps to solve such conflicts by taking over repetitive tasks, preventing human errors, optimizing designs and enabling designers to focus on their core competencies. This paper proposes a novel artificial intelligence method toolbox as a foundation to automate joining element design in manufacturing industries. The methodology aims to incorporate multiple lifecycle requirements including large product variety.