Within this small list I would like to give a couple of tips that I believe every new web designer should know.
Design with the left side of the brain
Do designers really reach great achievements only by using the right hemisphere of their brain? Design is far more than raw creativity. Designers solve problems. And to do so you need to have solid bricks to construct great solutions. Bricks made out of logic, to create boundaries around creativity, otherwise it will only be chaos. You can't solve puzzles only with creativity.
Understand what you're creating
Never let aesthetics overtake functionality. Take time to fully understand what are the project's needs and objectives.
Design for emotion
John Medina shares the science behind the relationship between emotion and memory:
"Emotionally charged events persist much longer in our memories and are recalled with greater accuracy than neutral memories. How does this work in our brains? It involves the prefrontal cortex, the uniquely human part of the brain that governs “executive functions” such as problem-solving, maintaining attention, and inhibiting emotional impulses. If the prefrontal cortex is the board chairman, the cingulate gyrus is its personal assistant. The assistant provides the chairman with certain filtering functions and assists in teleconferencing with other parts of the brain—especially the amygdala, which helps create and maintain emotions. The amygdala is chock-full of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and it uses dopamine the way an office assistant uses Post-It notes. When the brain detects an emotionally charged event, the amygdala releases dopamine into the system. Because dopamine greatly aids memory and information processing, you could say the Post-It note reads “Remember this!” Getting the brain to put a chemical Post-It note on a given piece of information means that information is going to be more robustly processed. It is what every teacher, parent, and ad executive wants.”.
For this reason it is vital for your design projects to integrate positive emotional stimuli to build up engagement with your users, which can make the final experience feel like a having a beer with your best and trusted friends. Build a relationship with your users trough emotion.
Never, ever forget to develop a solid Style Guide. It should contain of every single graphical elements included in the design, in this way, if you ever require to build new sections or developers need an easy way to export graphics from the file it will be faster than recollecting the elements from multiple layouts. This will also enable you to see whether your project and its elements are consistent enough. Are the buttons the same height as input fields? And are you using too many assets, or could you get away with half the number?
Do one thing done well
Any screen or interface should accomplish at most one task. Trying to do too much makes an interface less easy to learn. Don't let your users ask them selfs ‘how do I do this?’. Make your designs purposeful.
Check with the developers
If you're a designer, start pairing with a developer everyday. Build approaches, discuss theming issues and you'll see both your's and the developer knowledge increase drastically. Start iterating more and more, speeding up prototyping and wire-frame sketching keeping always under sever surveillance the feasibility of each desired functionality.
Never forget Dieter Rams design Principles
Back in the late 1970s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him — “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design?
As good design cannot be measured in a finite way he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design. Sometimes they are referred as the ‘Ten commandments’.
Hate your work
Learn to hate your work. In a good manner of course. If you're a truly passionate designer you'll soon become your worst client. Criticizing your work is a sign of true professional maturity and will help you get better and better pixel after pixel.