Good Design Principles

Design is nothing without purpose. And a well designed website is one that is easy for people to use and understand. It's very common for people to plan a website with the design as their first step -- the colors, the look & feel, and graphical elements. Those are important, but best left until the end. First, we need to know what the purpose of the site is, we need to know what the content will be, and we need to know we want the visitor to do when he/she gets there. Only then can we start to design the site.

Book: Don't Make Me Think! - A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Book: The Non-Designer's Design Book