generally speaking i do believe that less is more when it comes too design. the less there is the less chance you have of screwing it up. its really hard to go wrong with simple design. often the more you fill your design, the more congested and confusing it becomes. it is almost always more functional to use less. a Simple design has a better chance of working well with all sorts of media as well. embroidery for instance is a media that many don't consider as they design, but all to often the company will make polo shirts with embroidery that may or may not work well. a simple symbol will do well in almost every case, regardless of what zany media the company decides to use. this also applies to media we don't know about yet. we don't know the capabilities of technologies not yet conceived.
i am convinced that when it comes to the creation of timeless design, less is always more. however, a design doesn't always need to be timeless. one of my favorite design firms, vault 49, has some of the most detailed and busy designs going (www.vault49.com). people love their stuff. it sells. all too often that's what matters. when i think of the busy designs that i like i often find that they often are subdued in other ways. vault 49 for instance tends to use simple color schemes that are sometimes even monochromatic. in this way, i think that they have successfully rethought the less is more concept.
less is often better respected in the advertising world. the commercials that we enjoy the most often have little to do with the product in question. its true the annoy the heck out of you and shove the product down your throat approach seems to work, it does so with a price. in a world that is increasingly barraged with advertising everywhere we turn i think we could all use a little less.
-grant l. tompkins