1. Never stop learning new things
Being in a domain where trends are easily becoming past, a web designer should constantly try to keep up with the latest approaches. From logo design up to user interfaces, you should search for various samples and see what is new and what is not. Also even if something is not useful to you, try and replicate it and after that you will definitely remain with some new ideas or skills.
2. Accept a second opinion
By nature, as web designers, we have been blessed with a significant amount of stubbornness. I know because I have plenty of it. And you will see that in the first years of web design, we have the ability to be immune to criticism and second opinions. That is wrong because most of the time we cannot see the forest for the trees.
3. Always take a step back
This idea is pretty simple: from time to time during a project try and relax and detach yourself from the design part. For example you can do that by reading a book, seeing a movie, a walk in the park or any other activity. This will make you see better the current flaws or wrong approaches in your design. Even a simple step back from the computer and a view towards the monitor from 3 feet away will send you informative feedback.
4. The Developer is not always wrong, you know…
Another great ability of a web designer is to be able to discuss in contradiction with somebody … preferably a web developer. And 99.99% of the time we are positive that the web developer is wrong. Believe me, we are so wrong.
5. Follow the news
In any field of activity you must follow the news constantly. This is a verified statement, because in many projects I’ve used some services or information that I’ve read about on a design news channel. So keep reading the news because it can make a difference in the web design industry.
6. Learn to filter
These days there are multiple sources of information, numerous dedicated websites, personal blogs etc. You have to learn how to filter the good stuff from the junk. Scan as much as you can but digest only the good stuff. This thing is critical because it will make you see the good content and it will save time by not reading trash.
7. Always use pen and paper
Even with so many niche applications that are available online, I still use the pen and paper on every project. I do it because the pen is the only item that can render properly what’s in my mind. So using a pen and paper will keep you closer to your ideas. It works for me.
8. Study other designers
Another great thing that you should consider is to study great web designers. Zeldman, Molly, Meyer, Shea, Moll, Croft, Snook should mean something to you not just names. Study their work, follow their activity. These actions will result in valuable web design knowledge.
9. Always buy the photos you use
I know that clients still believe that Google is the biggest provider for images but they are wrong. Not only that this is the thing to do, but by purchasing great pictures you add value to the web design ecosystem. In this way quality content is provided and promoted at the same time.