Design should be purposeful. What I mean by that is it that needs to be thought about from the audience perspective and in light of the projects goals. Cool is not necessarily better. What works for project 17, probably won’t work for project 27, even though the two may me similar in scope.
Take a look at this blog (the one you are reading) for instance. I have received council and critique that this blog is kind of plain and clearly not designed. It is in fact very precisely designed. It is plain for a reason. I have no aspiration of conversion. I have no goal of expanding my reach. If you read this blog regularly you likely seek substance over style. You likely appreciate the utility – the efficiency of delivery. If you’re mostly attracted to shiny objects then you likely won’t be back here anytime soon. I’m pretty ok with that. There are plenty of places that provide visual sizzle and this is not one of them.
Think about lifestyles and demographics. Would not everyone want to look cool, wear black and live in Manhattan? Of course we all know the answer. High design and cutting edge design is really fun and I for one love it. But it does not serve anyone to apply it when the audience will be unreceptive.
All three dimensions of design; form, function and fit, must be considered. That one seems lacking from your perspective, does not mean it wasn’t considered.