In college, I never did quite manage to decide whether I was an artist
or a writer. When I was focused on writing, I loved poetry best, because
of the music of it, because of the intensity, because it cuts out every
non-essential word and distills what's left down to the deepest truth,
speaking directly to the soul.
That's what's in a good poem. Turns out, that's also what's in good design. You get rid of what isn't essential, then take what's left and boil it down to the thickest, richest version of itself.
It's like making a balsamic reduction. There's no room for doubt about what you're experiencing. It's balsamic freaking vinegar, baby! What you started with was already awesome, but now it's 10x intensity. And it isn't yelling in your face. It doesn't have to. It's smooth, it's powerful, it's the glaze. It knows what it is.
Same goes with your book, your brand, your website. You get clear on what's essential and distill that into the most powerful, thick, rich, delicious sauce imaginable. Design isn't a sauce we're going to pour over you. You are the sauce.