I was waiting for my lunch date today, when I noticed a fellow sweeping up small leaves and petals that had fallen from the flower baskets that adorn almost every lamppost at the University Village (an outdoor shopping center).
As a shopper, I might not consciously notice that the ground has leaves... But I am always struck by my overall impression of the place. It's this attention to details that makes it special. Attention carried out to the smallest leaf that may fall to the ground.
I think the same analogy can be applied to design. Good design can be imitated or copied, but unless the details are tended to, it won't stand up against the real thing. You may not know all the reasons WHY it's good, but you can recognize it when its missing.
This is not to say that good design needs to be expensive. It does not. It's just all in the details.