Good design makes a product understandable. As it applies to graphic design, it is about paying attention to the details, the hierarchy, the typographic color, the color palate, the texture of paper you print on, all the details that goes into communicating the mood, style, feel of your design concept. This clarifies your concept to your audience.
Good design is honest. It's about communicating and not decorating, utilizing negative space in a composition, keeping to the honesty of what you are designing, not offering promises that can not be met.
Don Norman's TED talk about 3 ways good design makes you happy was such a pleasant watch. He talks about how how design makes you happy on a visceral, a behavioral, and reflective way, how our subconscious instinctively connects with design that looks and feels friendly, that does not cause us anxiety, that makes us feel good about ourselves or portrays some positive image. He's all about the effects of positive thinking. One thing that really stuck out with me is this psychology experiments he mentions during his talk. A group of people are told to do a task that will determine their IQ, causing them to feel anxious about performing the task. All fail. Next, another group of people are asked to do the same thing, but they are relaxed with candy before, they are all about to perform the task. Norman talks about how our brain releases dopamine that causes us to be relaxed and makes us capable of forming more "out of the box" ideas. That's why brainstorming works so well, because when you are relaxed with the idea that no idea is a bad idea, you are more capable of forming better ideas.
Maybe that's why my entire weekend of design has been kinda slow, sure progress is being made, but that that reflective part of my emotions and thinking has caused me to become anxious with self doubt. So I'm listening to the new happy Taylor Swift music and eating valentines sugar cookies. Hopefully finally I'll get these projects done. Norman's talk, even just his demeanor, his delivery of his talk reminded me about how important being positive is. And I do have a totally different user experience when I am using something "friendly-designed." I respond to vintage, warm colors, cute graphics, rich whimsical textures and patterns a lot more than I'd care to admit. It makes me feel good. It makes me want to design when I see design that looks happy.