One of the best ways to learn about game design is to actually do it. If you've been looking for an excuse or just needed some inspiration, here's some on a silver platter. The Iron Game Chef is a contest where many game designers are given a list of "ingredients" that they must use as game components. They are also given a theme they have to follow in some way. They basically have just over a week to get it done. Whoa, what can you design is just a week, you may ask? Well, these are just alpha stage designs. No one is expecting a polished product here.
Origonally, I believe the contest was started by Mike Holmes, but the torch has been passed to Andy Kitkowski who is doing a great job with it. Here is a link to the Game Chef Main Site and a link to the Discussion Boards.
If you are new to design, this is an excellent way to get your feet wet. Go in with the idea that this is a learning process and a great chance to get some feedback on your design style. I heartily encourage everyone to participate.