The key to good writing and design is good editing. Good editing is exercising restraint. You have to know when to stop.
I’ll use greeting cards as an example. Greeting cards, no matter the occasion, are responsible for my hatred of glitter. To paraphrase a line from Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good As It Gets, “I’m using the word hate here … about glitter.” I think someone at some greeting card company saw a card their child made in school and decided they needed to use glitter to make their greeting cards stand out, to sparkle – literally.
Once the other cards started to add glitter, cards didn’t stand out as much. Obviously, the answer was to add more glitter. The floodgates were opened.
Glitter, like sand, is one of those substances that gets everywhere you don’t want it to be. Even when you think you’ve gotten rid of it all, another speck pops up. Cards that weren’t designed to have glitter on them still have the residual glitter on them from the one card covered in it.
At some point, I don’t even care what the card says anymore, all I care about is the mess it’s making. It’s gotten to the point where I won’t even consider a card that has glitter on it.
Less is more. Good editing ensures every word, every image, every element serves a purpose. Anything else just muddles the picture.