Sun Stones is, fundamentally, a puzzle game about moving rocks around on a board. But unlike most sliding box / push push / drop-3 / tangram puzzles out there, we really wanted to make beauty as important as mechanics. When someone looks over a player's shoulder they shouldn't think "ugh, that looks complicated" but rather "wow, that's so pretty!"
So how did we go about approaching this goal? We decided relatively early on that the best way to achieve visual beauty was by creating a game which had very few elements. That allows us to really polish the visuals of those parts. Our final game has only three elements: black stones, white stones, and sunstones. We use patterns of these stones to paint beautiful Hopi-style glyphs across natural stone surfaces. Our beauty comes from the careful arrangement of our limited components.
Mechanically, each of the three stones "reacts" differently with the other types of stones. For example, groups of 3 or more sunstones will transmute into black stones. Sunstones placed around groups of black stones will transmute the black stones into white stones. White stones placed to surround a sunstone will detonate it - and so forth. Our mechanical complexity comes from the careful arrangement of our limited components.
As a result, both of our essential game elements - the elegant mechanics and the austere beauty - follow from the same sort of interactions. Hopefully this means that players motivated by aesthetics will naturally employ our mechanics, and players motivated by mechanics will naturally create beauty. That's good synergy flowing from good design.