This is a topic I recently tweeted about, and one I think we forget about sometimes:
As designers, our job is to make our work invisible. Good design just looks ‘right’ without being obvious to the user. Without fuss.
If a user notices a dark blue background and red text, it’s clearly for the wrong reason (in this case probably due to poor legibility). A high contrasting text colour would make the design choice seem ‘invisible’ – the user sees the content rather than the design. This is what designers should strive for, but getting it right is tricky and does take practice. However, there are design fundamentals to take into consideration, such as contrast, spacing, legibility, layout etc.
I recently saw a forum post of Boagworld on the idea of adding Art into web design more. But there is a clear differences between Design and Art. Art attracts the user to the form, whereas design is created to aid function. That does not mean that design has to be boring, just that it should not distract the user. Art is also a personal expression. Something design should not be (unless you are designing for yourself, not others).
If you have any opinions, comments, thoughts on feelings on this subject, then please do leave a comment.