If only everyone drew influence from the great work out there, rather than designing within their own limitations, wouldn't the bar be raised that much higher? And if only we were all better read... I was lecturing a junior only last week on the 'illegal' art of letterspacing lowercase characters, and reminded him of Eric Spiekermann's Stop Stealing Sheep, to which I received a very blank stare.
It's worrisome how much crap is produced across the globe, when there is so much great design out there to be influenced by. There are books full of design work to inspire, and that clever interweb thing that let's you see even more great work, so there is no excuse for that any more.
So, my blogs are going to look at how different countries do it. It's a massive generalization to say that a whole country designs a certain way, but when you look from afar, there are certainly some common threads that appear ... good or bad. Usually cultural, historical, or even linguistic differences, but sometimes because a particular style or quality is expected within that culture. In Japan for example, the color red is steeped in history and represents health, luck or well-being, so a huge amount of businesses have red logos, even though globally red can sometimes be seen as a rather aggressive color.