Good design is an organic and constantly changing process. In my mind this is exactly what the internet and consequently the world wide web itself has been doing. Since their creation they have evolved in an organic way, as have website designs. The simple ability of anyone to copy and paste HTML code from one good design and then inject it into another means the process is somewhat Darwinian. The strongest and fittest design features survive.
I don't mean stealing other peoples designs, but utilising the best underlining code which is freely available to use online.
Having been creating websites myself since 1999, when a design feature works for one client and excites website users the process of incorporating that feature into another design is simply a 'copy and paste' operation, and then subtle changes of colours, size and layout for a unique look feel. But the underlying code is often very similiar.
In this way when a client comes to me with ideas for their own website they are benefiting from years of experience in what does and does not work online. The new client benefits from all this, particularly with regard to speed of deployment.
Legendary industrial designer Dieter Rams believed an a 'less, but better' approach. His ten principles of good design can apply equally to good website design...
Good design is innovative
makes a product useful
makes a product understandable
is thorough, down to the last detail
and is as little design as possible
I attempt to apply these priciples as best I can within the constraints of client expectations, budget and pre-existing design materials and artwork.