1. Don’t be a middlebrow designer. Creating something to make everyone happy, including yourself, isn’t always the most effective solution.
2. Is the overexposure of everything skewing my perception of what’s good and what’s authentic? In order to remain unique and true to yourself, try not to be too influenced by outside forces or sparkling examples of design.
3. Is this design about conformity or about pushing the envelope? I see a lot of really bad design choices and unsophisticated typography. I don’t think a lot of new designers are looking at the appropriateness of things. Making it look cool is beginning to take precedent. Make something that inspires others to think objectively about their design.
4. Is this about form, function, both and what order? Just because you can apply a drop shadow, bevel or glow doesn’t mean you should. If your layout requires you to add a filter, maybe you need to reconsider your entire design.