Here is a simple idea that could quickly create a series of beads with a clean, contemporary look and lots of variation, not just between the beads themselves but between different sets you create.
This quick technique is posted on the Spanish retail craft site Manos Maravillosas (Wonderful Hands). It just requires a few sheets of clay of different colors. You punch shapes out all but one of the sheets, lay the shapes out on the uncut sheet, roll over it with a brayer or rod to smooth the surface, and now you have a sheet to punch flat beads from (punch two of the same shapes and layer them back to back) or to use portions from the sheet to cover bead forms.
You could use any combination or number of colors as well as different shapes. Go Mondrian like using square cutters and primary colors, or retro with ovals and subdued tones. You could also use strips of clay instead of cut shapes to adhere on your base sheet using your straight or crinkle tissue blades. There’s no real limitations here. Just lots of potential play time!