"There is a delicate balance between high quality design and quick loading pages.
This balance is what can separate your page from the rest. Unfortunately everyone's tolerance for quick loading vs. good-looking pages is different."
The following homepage are design guidelines found on the web:
1. Yale C/AIM Web Style Guide
2. Swank Web Design Style Guide
3. Tips for Designing a Web Site from Scratch
4. US Government Web Usability