I think the images that we see today have radically changed our outlook on life. And in some cases our lives have changed the images that we see.
Our lives today are more about doing the most we can in the time we have. This means moving at breakneck speeds. Its get things done, and get it done now. So the images that companies and others have created have fit this need. The designs we see today are so simple that it only takes a fraction of a second to recognize what it is for. The images and what they stand for have been burned into our brains so many times we don't even need words or an explanation to recognize them anymore.
Take the "golden arches" of McDonald's for instance. If you drive down the highway and you see those arches the first thing you are going to know is that it is McDonald's and that they serve burgers. You dont even have to have the words anymore. Or take a look at Apple. When we see that apple we instantly think of Mac computers or even the iPod.
Our society depends so much on simplistic images that its a wonder that many people can read anymore. If we went back to images that were more about content in words then our world might crash. People wouldnt want to take the time to figure out what a company is trying to sell.
Although our world depends on the simplistic design there is a fine line that I feel like needs to be met. A design needs to be simplistic, but also needs to have some content to it.