I have seen many designer's work (logos, websites, brochures, animations, infographics, business cards, scenery, illustrations). Most are average but some stand out. Their work just takes you. You can't help but admire the quality of it and right decisions that were made. Even though you are in field of graphic design you still interact with it just as other person would.
In not so awesome works, certain graphic design principles and elements stand out. You can see they were well done, accurately used, and harmoniously interact with each other. However, you can still see these elements and not the design as whole. As one with a trained eye you can't help it.
On the other hand, designs that stand out are so great that you can't help but see the message and your brain ignores those elements. Basically, you become an audience as well.
So how does a graphic designer break the average design barrier? I know skills, imagination, and experience matter. But I don't know how to acquire them exactly or anything else that matters. How can I improve?