All successful design is rooted in something other than aesthetic. Visual choices are educated by traits embodied by that design’s origin. If a brand desires a design, if person desires a personal site - that brand or that person's traits, values and human characteristics should show through the design and should be a starting point of the design.
Just as a musician or a visual artist strives to find their own voice and imbue their work with this voice, a designer must attempt to understand and bring out their own or a brand’s voice. It’s hard work because part of understanding a voice entails self awareness and emotional awareness. Just as it is a challenge for any artist or human to understand themself, it is a challenge for any business or human to understand what their authentic voice looks like. Sometimes a redesign or brand identity and concept entails the emotional work of understanding what a brand values and what their own voice is. At times, a designer must spearhead this work, taking on a psychological and emotional role where that authentic voice is understood through dialogue and guided introspection.
It is only when a voice is understood conceptually that it can begin to be created visually.