When thinking about design and how to implement good design choices, five rules of thumb spring to mind. These are probably some of the most important rules for any good designer - so you'll need to keep them handy.
Rule 1 - Nature is the best designer of all !
Remember to always get back to nature, every chance you get! Observing nature - living in its elements and how all parts of the ecosystem interact, as part of a community, is often the most relaxing and thought provoking opportunity you will get. All elements of nature somehow complement and contrast, in a perfect harmony. Good design on a man-made scale can do the same; and is the most pleasurable to look at and use if you learn to blend these elements.
Rule 2 - Not all design requires equilibrium; asymmetry makes a great statement!
Yes, balance is important, but it's not all the same. Not everything needs to be symmetrical or retain the same values. Take a look at Asian Design, where asymmetry is highly sort after; it follows the laws of nature where singularity is pronounced and offset by a complementary opposites. However, it is also simple and well-defined. So be careful!
Rule 3 - Balance typography with thoughtful colour choice, shape and placement of the elements.
Choice of typography is often ill-used in both the design and advertising fields. Cluttered fonts and ill-selected colours that cause the reader to squint or stress over the message, are hardly efficient on projecting that message or in ease of readability. Readers turn away and clients bolt for the heavens - knowing full well something is astray, but not quite sure of the problems. Either way, the message is not delivered and the experience is not pleasurable for anyone.
Rule 4 - Less is more!
If Rule 3 has not been well thought out, scaling back to the bare minimum is often the best strategy. Define the message, in as few words as possible; you might not even need, to use any. Design elements arranged and chosen well can deliver a far more effective message, than cluttering it with useless words. Don't just fill the page, because you can - use words because they are needed, to enhance the message.
Rule 5 - Never let your work define you; you define your work!
Creativity can not be delivered, if you let the work tell you what, how and in what manner you should deliver results. Neither, should it preset the sort of artistic design work you can deliver, if given ample opportunity to create. It is your creativity and your ability to manifest unique, out of the box ideas that project the best and most appreciated designs. They also create a sense of you and your own particular style.