I am a believer in clarity and simplicity. I think a good design should have an intuitive understanding of the kind of person it is trying to appeal to, and should endeavor to provide no more or less than exactly what they're looking for.
Sites with a lot of ineffectual bells and whistles are eye catching and impressive, but how effective are they at making people feel at home and welcome? How effective are they at helping people find what they want? In most cases, the answer is not at all. The more loud and intrusive the fluff attached to a website becomes, the more quickly and desperately I reach for the button that closes the window.
A good design presents a calming mood, a sense of familiarity and space. I like my designs to show depth, to reach up off the screen and pull the eye in. I prefer fixed navigation bars that provide visual and tactile feedback to the user. I like rich, solid colors, strong contrasts, clean, readable fonts, and simple, elegant logos.
Of course, I'm always willing to compromise. A customer's desires always trump my own hangups. After all, the person who runs the site is the one who's going to be looking at it most, so if it doesn't make them happy, there isn't much point.
But I'll always make an effort to explain my opinions. I want people to understand what I believe makes for good design practice, and why. So if any of the above assertions are confusing or strike you as inadequate, please let me know.