1. Have a concept.
2. Communicate - Don't decorate.
3. Speak with ONE visual voice.
4. Use TWO typeface families, maximum. OK, maybe three.
5. Use the one, two, punch!
6. Pick colors on purpose.
7. If you can do it with less, then do it!
8. Negative space is magical, CREATE it, don't just fill it up.
9. Treat the type as image, as though it's just as important.
10. Type is only type when it's friendly.
11. Be universal. Remember it's not about you.
12. Squish and Separate.
13. Distribute light and dark like firecrackers and the rising sun.
14. Be decisive. Do it on purpose or don't do it at all.
15. Measure with your eyes - design is VISUAL.
16. Create images, don't scavenge.
17. Ignore fashion. Seriously.
18. Move it! Static equals dull.
19. Look to history, but don"t repeat it!
20. Symmetry is the ultimate evil.
3 RULES: I think are the most important.
#1 - Have a concept. Without a general idea of what you are trying to accomplish and convey to your audience then their is no goal set and no guide to where you want to end up, thus making the journey to that endpoint that much more difficult. So it is best to set a firm concept before even hitting the drawing board.
#11 - Be universal. Remember it's not about you. Your design will have far greater success if it can appeal to many varieties of people. The larger your audience is, the more powerful your work will be!
#14 - Be decisive. Do it on purpose or don't do it at all. Making accurate and appropriate design decisions is key to maintaining a certain level of understanding an overall organization to your work. If the elements of your design are not integral to your concept and desired function of your work, then they are not needed and their presence is doing nothing but hampering the comprehension of your design.
3 RULES: I need more practice with.
#2 - Communicate. Don't decorate. I find that often times I get so caught up with how something "looks" and how "pretty" I can make it. What needs to be my goal is to successfully communicate what I need to while still maintaining aesthetic value.
#16 - Create images, don't scavenge. I have a very bad habit of web-searching to find a lot of my material, and i need to pick up the habit of self illustrating, taking my own photography or (at least) manipulating my found images to give them my own personal spin. ORIGINALITY!
#14 - Be decisive. Do it on purpose or don't do it at all. I, by nature, a very indecisive person. This being said, it makes it hard for me to decide on wether or not i should apply certain elements into my designs and is a giant (AND EFFECTIVE) waste of time.
3 RULES: I want to ignore.
#5 - Use the one, two, punch! This basically means that a design should be immediately recognizable and immediately deciphered by the viewer which is always a good thing when wanting to convey information. Sure. But I don't think it is necessary to ALWAYS follow this method. Sometimes a bit of ambiguity is sexy and a deep, vague, not so easily recognized meaning is fun to ponder.
#17 - Ignore Fashion. Seriously. Although doing everything by what is "hip," "in," and/or "trendy" can grow cliche and predictable, I think that knowing what is popular and well-liked can only help you as a designer and (while you shouldn't MIMIC what is fashionable) I believe that using fashionable inspiration you can be guided in a path that with make your designs stand out and be noticed more than others who ignore the qualities that (at the moment) people find most appealing.
#18 - Move it! Static equals dull. I disagree. Although movement and versatility in design is always a good thing, "static" design has its benefits as well. High motion design runs the risk of becoming unruly and wild, while calmer, more subdued design is easier to read and gives less headaches. That being said, it also runs the risk of becoming boring and uneventful. Ultimately, the momentum if your work should reflect your concept, your ideas and the mood of your topic.